This third post in the wellness series for National Wellness Month focuses on body image. In particular, how to foster a more positive body image by exploring when and how our body images are formed. Included are 160 positive body affirmations to help you work towards improved body confidence, acceptance, and love.
What is body image?
Body image is the mental image you have of your body or how you see yourself when you look in the mirror. It encompasses how you physically experience your body and what you believe about your physical appearance, including how you feel about your size, shape, and weight.
According to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration, there are 4 aspects of body image as described below:
- Perceptual body image: the way you see your body. This is not always a true representation of how you actually look.
- Affective body image: the way you feel about your body.
- Cognitive body image: the way you think about your body.
- Behavioral body image: the behaviors you engage in as a result of your body image.
Having a healthy body image contributes to your overall sense of wellbeing and thus is an integral part of wellness.
But body image is a complicated and often very emotional topic, especially for women. It’s also a very wide-ranging topic that encompasses a lot of different issues for many of us.
We can’t unpack it all in this post, but something we can do is to start thinking about when, where, and how our body images were formed.
It’s an unfortunate truth that a lot of women feel shame surrounding their bodies, trying to control and morph them into what they have been conditioned to accept as an “ideal” shape and size.
I include myself in that statement, as I have always struggled with body image.
Working towards a healthy body image continues to be a constantly evolving work-in-progress for me and I don’t profess to have all the answers.
However, I think that talking about and exploring what has formed our body images, especially if they’re negative, is the first step to changing how we feel about our bodies.
Hopefully this can lead to cultivating greater acceptance, confidence, and love for our bodies and all they do for us.
Where does body image come from?
From a young age, I’ve always felt that my body was bigger and fatter than I wanted it to be. Bigger and fatter than it should be. But where did that image of what size or shape my body “should be” come from?
What is thought of as a desirable body is determined by the society in which you live. This varies from culture to culture and for the greater part of the last century here in the U.S., the idealized feminine body has been a THIN one.
We’ve been taught that thin is the ideal by what we’re shown on the runways, in commercials and movies, in magazines, and across media platforms. We’ve learned that being thin equates to being sexy, feminine, desirable, successful, healthy, and all the other positive adjectives that come to mind when you think of “thin”.
None of us are born hating our bodies or wanting them to look a certain way until we are taught what that way should be and we are not given much of a chance to form our own opinions about our bodies before our views are shaped and molded by those around us and the experiences we have at a very young age.
I’m sure if you think back to your childhood, you can see how the ideal of being thin was taught to you by society at large, but also, you can likely recall times when people in your life, including close family and friends, reinforced this message as well.
Do you have memories of someone making a comment, remark, or comparison involving your appearance when you were a young girl?
Perhaps there was a person in your life who was disapproving of your body?
Maybe you had a mom, sister, or friend who was critical of their own body and thus taught you to be critical of yours?
I bet many of you can remember a time when you were made to feel that your self-worth was based on how you looked and became self-conscious about your looks from a very young age.
My first real memory of being self-conscious about my body was in the 5th grade. I wrote about how my own negative body image formed throughout my adolescence in this post.
For some of you, it was probably even earlier than this.
Working towards a healthy body image
Bringing these memories out into the open and questioning them is the first step to letting go of unhealthy thoughts surrounding our own body images.
Of course, this is not easy. It’s often a life long journey and struggle for many of us.
Your relationship with your body is a very personal one and it’s important to continuously work on it. If not, it can be dangerous and lead to unhealthy behaviors, including eating disorders.
In addition to being a key element of a healthy lifestyle, a healthy body image is also part of overall self-acceptance and loving yourself unconditionally.
Body love versus body neutrality
That being said, it’s almost impossible to flip a switch and go from hating your body to loving it. That’s why I think a more realistic goal is one of body neutrality.
Body neutrality is neither loving nor hating your body. It’s based on acceptance and having respect for one’s body. It is recognizing that your value doesn’t depend on what you look like nor is your happiness tied to your physical appearance.
It helps me to think of body neutrality as the stepping stone to loving my body. If the top summit of the mountain is body love, then body neutrality is the first peak. It might take me a lifetime to get to the summit, but if I keep climbing and make it to the first peak, I will be in a better place.
Still, even this mentality can take a lot of time, patience, work, and commitment to yourself. I’ve yet to reach the first peak, but I’m working on it.
What are positive body affirmations?
Nevertheless, I try to maintain the mindset that my weight and my body do not equate to my worth.
One way I work towards this mindset and a more positive body image is to use positive body affirmations.
Affirmations are brief statements, repeated frequently, which are designed to encourage happy feelings, as well as positive thoughts and attitudes. They can be used to encourage and motivate yourself or others.
Thus, positive body affirmations are statements that are designed to foster a more positive attitude towards your body. If you use them consistently, they can help shift how you feel about your body and help you work towards manifesting a healthy body image.
How to use positive body affirmations
I’ve compiled some positive body affirmations below, however there is no “one-size-fits-all”. Hopefully, you can find some among this list that speak to you and make you feel your best.
Once you choose a few affirmations that feel right, you can use them in different ways, depending on your personality and comfort level. Here are some ideas:
- Write them down in a journal as part of your morning routine or ritual
- Say them out loud to yourself as you get dressed or take a shower
- Repeat them during a morning meditation or intention-setting
- Pair them with a vision board that you prominently display in your home
- Write them on post-it notes or notecards
- Put them as a reminder in your phone and set a timer to go off each morning
- Use affirmation cards and leave them on your nightstand so you will see them when you wake up in the morning
- Record yourself reciting your affirmations and listen to them each morning
160 Positive Body Affirmations (for Body Confidence, Acceptance, and Love)
Below are 160 positive body affirmations to help with body confidence, acceptance, and love. Choose a few that work best for where you are in your journey.
- Accepting myself as I am is being free.
- Beauty comes in many forms, shapes, and sizes.
- Being thin is not what makes me healthy.
- Changes to my body’s appearance do not change my worth.
- Confidence flows effortlessly towards me.
- Food is my fuel.
- Gaining weight does not equal failure.
- How I feel about myself matters most.
- I accept all of me with love.
- I accept my body despite its imperfections.
- I accept my body the way it is today.
- I accept myself.
- I accept what I cannot change.
- I accept who I am at this exact moment.
- I acknowledge all my body does for me.
- I am always beautiful, at any size or weight.
- I am gentle with myself.
- I am beautiful in all shapes and sizes.
- I am beautifully unique.
- I am comfortable in my own skin.
- I am complete on my own.
- I am confident in who I am.
- I am deeply grateful for my body, my health, and my unique talents.
- I am defined by who I am, not what I look like.
- I am enough.
- I am exactly as I should be.
- I am full of life.
- I am grateful for my arms and all they carry for me.
- I am grateful for my body and all it does for me.
- I am grateful for my health.
- I am grateful for my heart beating.
- I am grateful for my legs and all the places they take me.
- I am grateful for my lungs and the air they breathe.
- I am grateful for this mind, this body, this soul.
- I am kind to my body even when I feel uncomfortable with how it looks.
- I am lovable in any body size or shape.
- I am not my body.
- I am okay at any size.
- I am okay with who I am right now.
- I am perfect at all sizes.
- I am perfect the way I am.
- I am perfectly me.
- I am safe in my body.
- I am strong and healthy.
- I am uniquely me and I am beautiful.
- I am worthy no matter what I look like.
- I am worthy of love, joy, and happiness.
- I am worthy of love, regardless of my body size, shape, or appearance.
- I am worthy of respect just as I am.
- I am worthy of the compliments I receive.
- I can be happy and joyful at any size.
- I can be healthy at any size.
- I can change only the things that are within my control.
- I celebrate my body for all it is and all it does.
- I choose to stop obsessing about my body.
- I deserve happiness.
- I deserve to be treated with love and respect.
- I deserve to feel good in my body.
- I deserve respect at any weight.
- I deserve all the blessings in my life.
- I eat for both nourishment and enjoyment.
- I eat to have energy for life.
- I eat to take care of my body.
- I give myself permission to feel confident.
- I give myself permission to love myself in all shapes and sizes.
- I have everything I need inside of me.
- I have much to be grateful for.
- I have the power to control my negative thoughts.
- I have the wisdom to know what I can change and what I cannot.
- I know I am beautiful as a person.
- I know my worth.
- I let go of negative self-talk.
- I listen to my body.
- I look exactly the way I’m supposed to.
- I look beautiful to me.
- I love me unconditionally.
- I love my body and everything it can do.
- I love so many of my qualities outside of my looks.
- I love to take care of my body.
- I matter no matter how much I weigh.
- I model the respect for myself that I command from others.
- I nourish my body, mind, and soul.
- I nourish myself both physically and mentally.
- I offer so much value to this world that has nothing to do with my looks.
- I release all shame about my body.
- I release my feelings of guilt and negativity.
- I respect my body and I’ll take care of it.
- I respect my body no matter its size.
- I rest when my body and mind tell me to.
- I strive for improvement, not perfection.
- I treat my body with care and love.
- I treat myself with respect and honor.
- I trust my body.
- I view myself through kind eyes.
- I will not compare myself to others.
- I will not control my body and my body will not control me.
- I will nourish my body because I deserve that.
- I will treat my body as the gift it is.
- Imperfections are part of the beauty of life.
- It is okay to not feel confident all the time.
- Life is too short to obsess over my body’s appearance.
- Loving my body does not mean liking everything about it.
- Mental wellness is important to me.
- My appearance is to be celebrated.
- My body and I work together as one.
- My body can change and I will love it no matter what.
- My body can do amazing things.
- My body deserves love.
- My body deserves my care and nurturing.
- My body does a lot for me.
- My body does not affect my value.
- My body does not change my worth.
- My body does not define me.
- My body does so much for me.
- My body has many gifts.
- My body is a body.
- My body is a gift.
- My body is beautiful exactly the way it is.
- My body is beautifully mine.
- My body is hardworking.
- My body is mine to care for.
- My body is not my identity.
- My body is only one tiny part of who I am.
- My body is resilient and strong.
- My body is sacred.
- My body is simply one part of the whole that is me.
- My body is unique.
- My body knows what it needs.
- My body protects me.
- My body takes care of me and I must take care of it.
- My body tells me what it needs and I listen.
- My body works very hard for me.
- My energy draws people toward me.
- My imperfections don’t make me less than.
- My imperfections are beautiful.
- My inner beauty matters most.
- My power is on the inside.
- My self-love shows others how to love me.
- My self-worth does not change based on the number on a scale.
- My size, shape, and appearance does not affect my ability to enjoy life.
- My unique personality and qualities are what people love about me.
- My worth is not determined by my weight.
- No one can make me feel poorly about myself if I don’t allow it.
- Other’s opinions of me are a reflection of them – not me.
- People don’t love me for my body.
- Photos on social media are not reality.
- Self-worth is not measured on the scale.
- She is beautiful and so am I.
- Society will not control my thoughts about my body.
- Taking care of myself feels good.
- The most beautiful parts of me cannot be seen by the eye.
- The scale is not my measure of success or happiness.
- There are so many more important things in life than my weight.
- There is more to life than losing weight.
- There is more to life than worrying about how I look.
- There is no such thing as a “perfect” body.
- There is nothing I need to do or be to earn love or respect.
- Thin does not equal happiness, success, or worthiness.
- Weight is simply a number.
- Worrying about what others think is simply a distraction to the beauty of life.
How will you use these 160 positive body affirmations?
I hope you were able to select some affirmations to help you cultivate more body confidence, acceptance, and love. Now it’s time to put them to use! Let me know which ones resonated with you the most ❣️
If you like using affirmations, check out these posts for more: 50 Powerful Morning Affirmations for a Positive Mindset and 5 Legit Reasons You’re Feeling Stuck in Life (+ 25 Affirmations for Motivation).
Carly is a wife, mom, and former fashion industry executive turned blogger, who is on a journey to live life as the best version of herself. Through her website, littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice and heartfelt insights to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life.