If someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you to rattle off 10 things that you adore about your body, would you be able to do it? The sad reality is that, for a lot of us, it would be so much easier to talk about all of the things we either hate or wish we could change rather than brag about all of the things we are totally in love with. That's actually why I decided to write this. My hope is that, if you do struggle with body positivity in some way (as most of us do), you won't settle for that any longer. Instead, you will take the steps needed to feel really good about the body that you're in. Not if you were bigger or smaller. Not if you were lighter or darker. Not if you hard more or less breasts, a fuller or less full derriere, or anything else that you could pick apart if given the chance.
Hacks are awesome. And these are 10 that can put you on the path to loving your body—just the way it is, right now, at this very moment.
1. Focus on Your Favorite Body Parts
If every time you look in the mirror, all you see are the things you don't like about your body, if I were you, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. There is plenty of research out here that points to the fact that our mind is hardwired to be negative. The good thing about that is it can prevent us from being complacent in life. The bad thing is, it can lead to self-loathing. One way to not allow negative thoughts to overtake you is to put forth the concerted effort to think about what you actually love about your body.
I don't care what you look like, I promise you that you've got something—probably more than one thing—that others envy. So, do you and your self-image a favor and jot down five things that you know is bomb about your body. Then post it on the mirror that you look into the most. It's the kind of self-love hack that will help you keep things in perspective. It can help to balance the good with the "bad".
2. Dress According to Your Body Type
According to a particular study that I recently read, a whopping 80 percent of women are dissatisfied with their appearance and a staggering 10 million women struggle with some sort of eating disorder. Aside from constantly looking at Instagram models and comparing ourselves with others (I'll expound on that in a bit), I'd venture to say that another leading cause is a lot of us do not know what our body type is and how to dress according to that.
When I started growing out my hair, I struggled at first because I didn't know if it was high, normal or low porosity. Now that I do (it's high), I am able to provide my tresses with what they need and my hair is finally beginning to really thrive. Do you see where I am going with this?
Sometimes, we get discouraged in an outfit because it doesn't fit right. In response, we immediately start going ham on our body when the real issue is, we're putting on things that don't necessarily complement our body type. If you're not really sure what yours is, there's no time like the present to figure it out.
Articles like "The Foolproof Way to Find Out Your Real Body Type" can finally put you on the path to purchasing clothing (and accessories) that will make your body look as great as you've always wanted it to.
3. Don’t “Fear” (Body) Foundation
Back in the day, I knew a woman who was around 5'9" and 400 pounds. To this day, she is one of the most gorgeous Godiva chocolate-jet black hair-perfect eyebrows-beautiful smile-regal women that I have ever seen. While it was always pretty obvious that she was a full-figured woman, it wasn't until we got really close that I knew her exact weight. Honestly, I would've never guessed. "Girl, you can hide a lot with the right foundation," she would tell me. "It can create a silhouette that you never even knew you had."
These days, people tend to refer to body foundation as body shapers and owning a few is nothing to be ashamed of. If you go to your favorite search engine and put the words "celebrity" and "Spanx", you might be surprised how many celebs are a fan of body foundation. Cop some. It can be a real game-changer when it comes to giving you confidence in your clothing. (By the way, if you need a little help in this department, check out "A Quick Guide To Choosing The Best Shapewear for Your Body Type".)
4. Rock Your Favorite Color(s)
Personally, I'm a big believer of color psychology. Not just because certain hues send certain messages to others, but because certain colors can also make us feel different ways about ourselves. As a Black woman, something that I adore is we can make pretty much any color pop. You might be a size 2 or a size 20, but I promise you that if you put your favorite color on, it will instantly make you feel good about yourself and radiate that feeling to those around you. So, whether it's a certain color in your outfit, your purse or your lipstick, put it on. Rock it out. Shake things up.
5. Smell Good
If you check out the article, "I Asked 10 Men What Turned Them On. This Is What They Said.", you'll notice that the first thing to top the list has nothing to do with how a woman looks; it was all about how a woman smells. Chalk it up to pheromones, aphrodisiacs and how we like to be closer to people when they smell amazing. Listen, I don't care if it's perfume, essential oils or a scented lotion, don't you walk out of your house without some "smell good" on your body. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten complimented on my signature essential oil blend and how much I enjoy smelling my own damn self. It's a real self-confidence booster.
6. “Feel” Good
A lot of times, when we think about our bodies, it's the size and shape that comes to mind. But our skin is a part of our body too and when it is soft and smooth, it can make us feel absolutely…delicious is the word that immediately comes to mind. Articles on the site like "Everyone's Raving About The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine", "All-Natural Ways To Keep Your Skin Super Soft This Fall & Winter", "These Foods Will Give Your Skin & Hair The Moisture They Crave", "9 All-Natural Ways To Quench Dehydrated Skin" and "The Best Black-Owned Moisturizers To Keep Your Skin Hydrated This Winter" can provide you with tips on how to make your skin feel so good that you can't help but to love your body more. Nurture your skin. It's always time well spent.
7. Put on a Pair of Heels
Heels on a daily basis? Long-term, it's not exactly the best thing for your spine, back, knees or feet. But rocking them, in moderation, is cool. It is also a great hack for building body positivity. The reasons why include the fact that heels can make you appear taller, add some strut to your walk, provide you with a natural butt lift and cause your legs to look a mile long. So, if this is a day when you don't feel all that great about yourself, bust out a pair of pumps, girl! Watch how confident you feel, from the moment that you put them on.
8. Pamper Yourself on a Weekly Basis
Something that I make sure to do, without fail, about every 10 days or so, is I get my nails done. During one of my last appointments, I saw a woman who had some truly beautiful skin. It was like a deep coal Black. I was so mesmerized that I complimented her on it. She shrugged and said, "This ashy mess?" to which I replied, "A little sweet almond oil can fix that immediately."
Ugh, how I hate that there are so many of us who don't make time to nurture our body, let alone pamper ourselves. If you don't love your body all that much, ask yourself if you invest in it by luxuriously indulging it. If the answer is "no" or "rarely", then I'm not surprised. We don't tend to adore what we choose to neglect. #ouch and #amen
9. Always Remember How Phenomenal Your Body Is
Have you ever just sat and pondered what makes women so…miraculous? Our bodies are able to blow men's minds with pleasure; grow, birth and then feed children and, as Black women, age with a grace that makes members of basically every other ethnicity try and imitate us on a daily basis (don't make me name names). How could you not love that about yourself? From head-to-toe, you are a masterpiece. Or, as King David once said, "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:14—NKJV) You are a woman. That automatically makes your body dope. Own it.
10. STOP. COMPARING.
There's a quote by Zen Shin that says, "A flower does not think of comparing itself to the flower next to it; it just blooms." Daisies are not lilies, lilies are not roses, roses are not tulips. Yet they all have a signature beauty about them. Same thing goes for us as women.
Not only is comparing ourselves counterproductive and a total waste of precious and valuable time, it also is an insult to our Creator, our parents and even ourselves. It's basically saying that God spent more time on someone other than ourselves. Now read that back and listen to how ridiculous that sounds.
I've got some really beautiful women in my inner circle. But you know what? Rather than wondering why I don't look like them, I choose to be like, "Birds of a feather flock together." (LOL) It's not about who looks better. It's about us all encouraging one another to be our individual best. If you master the hack of no longer comparing yourself to other women, the irony is that mastering most of these other tips will not even be necessary. You'll automatically be focused on you and doing the things required to put your best self forward. You'll love your body, simply because there is none other like it. And that level of self-love and body positivity is unmatched. It really is.
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