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Loving Your Body Now: Overcoming Conditional Confidence

I’ll love my body when I lose weight. When my skin clears up. When my thighs are slimmer. When my stomach is flat.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a conditional love for our bodies. Whether it was in middle school when we dreamed of having more curves, or 10 years later when we cursed every curve on our body. We want what we can’t have, and we refuse to love our bodies until they’re in whatever perfect state our twisted minds want them to be in.

It’s a messy situation. Is it wrong to want to look different? What does it mean to really love our bodies anyway? Is it possible to love a body that isn’t the way we want it to be? These are the questions I want us the dive into together.

First things first, what about wanting to look different? Truly, it’s a natural desire to want what we don’t have. The grass can always be greener, and we will always want something different. Whether we wish we were curvier or skinnier, taller or shorter, we each have a certain size and shape that we’ve been given and we can’t change that. However, I believe the desire for beauty is something everyone is born with, and there is no shame in desiring to be or making ourselves more attractive physically. The key to keeping these changes within healthy boundaries is to stay true to what makes us unique (i.e. wearing clothes that flatter our figure, rather than going on an extreme diet to lose weight). Remember: there’s nothing special about being a copy of someone else.

Secondly, what does loving our bodies even look like? The best way I’ve heard it said is, “Treat your body like you would treat a friend.” This could include some or all of the following:

  • Feed your body nourishing food and be true to your real hunger.
  • Buy and wear clothes that fit your body as it is today, not as it was five years ago or will be in a few months.
  • Use positive language when talking about your body–regardless of if it’s in your head or out loud.

Lastly, how can we love our body if we actually hate it? It’s a paradox, indeed, but if we ever want to have healthy body image, we have to learn to accept the way our bodies look as they are RIGHT NOW. If we can’t love our body today, we won’t love our body when it’s “perfect,” because that idea of perfect will always change.

Look in the mirror today and delight in what you see, even if it’s not the reflection that you wish you had. Look at your eyes, your smile, your skin, your hair, your legs. Thank your body for what it does for you and spend this week delighting in the joy of your beauty. You are a woman, and you are beautiful.

How have you struggled to love and respect your body?

Originally written for Darling Magazine

P.S. For Pinterest, or just a personal reminder…

Loving Your Body Now: Overcoming Conditional Confidence // www.thoughtsbynatalie.com

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Alicia Baratta
    October 10, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Love this, Natalie. I find I get so trapped in a mindset of body dysmorphia and have to remind myself, “If I loved my body yesterday [last week, month, whatever], this is the same body. I can love it today.”

    It is crazy how we mentally punish or reward ourselves even when nothing changes, or (sometimes worse) even when we achieve the changes (be it striving for a healthier diet or more exercise or healthy weight loss) we so desperately sought.

    Of course there are good and bad days, but I try to be very mindful on the “bad” days that there really isn’t a difference (except in my attitude).

    Glad the series is back – I’ll start working on my post :)

    • Reply
      Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 10, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Yes, you’re right, we are so quick to see the bad and often refuse to see how much progress we’re making toward wellness and true, lasting beauty. Excited to read what you come up with!! XO

  • Reply
    Katie McC
    October 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    These are great! I’m inspired to do my own. Can’t wait to link up.

  • Reply
    Paige Hilken
    October 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    This is a great post Natalie! It is so important that we realize how amazing our bodies are and that they were designed for far greater things than our looks. I just wrote a post where I opened up about my body image struggles over the years. I would love to hear what you think on the material: http://thewellnesspaige.com/my-body-image-struggle/

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