These tips for improving body image are directly from real women, and they’ll help you tap into your natural beauty, no matter how much shame you feel.
All these quips and tips are from the book This is Who I Am: Our Beauty in All Shapes and Sizes by Roseanne Olson, and they have the power to change how you feel about your body! This book is a collection of portraits (black and white photographs) of women, age 19 to 95. It’s one of the most inspiring, uplifting books I’ve ever read about body confidence, self-image and accepting who you are.
These women are courageous, curious, thoughtful, speaking unflinchingly about their bodies, then allowing themselves to be photographed to inspire other women to make peace with their physical selves, “to glorify the real beauty of all women.” Kate Winslet said, “An absolutely wonderful book. Every woman needs to see it! It has made me feel inspired, exhilarated, normal and beautiful!”
And Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Women” is included at the end. “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies,” writes Angelou. Her wisdom, beauty, and allure is in the arch of her back and the click of her heels – which is where your beauty is, too.
That’s the lesson of This is Who I Am: Our Beauty in All Shapes and Sizes by Roseanne Olson. Accepting yourself as you are – stretch marks, pimples, varicose veins, and all – makes you more beautiful than all the air-brushing and make-up artists in the world could ever do. To enhance your self-confidence and feel great about your size and shape, check out these quips and tips — these women discuss everything from breast cancer to incest.
Improving Body Image When You Feel Ashamed
I have to admit, at first I felt a little weird to be looking at the female bodies in This is Who I Am: Our Beauty in All Shapes and Sizes. Saggy bodies, firm bodies, big bodies, little bodies, tattoo’d bodies, and wrinkly bodies – these women represent All Women. Only one thing is constant: they all had the confidence to reveal their private and public selves.
To feel great about your size and shape, sit with these quotations from healthy, imperfect women who are honest, self-accepting, vulnerable – and oh so beautiful.
When you feel inferior to cover girls and Hollywood actresses…
“I believe the advertising industry has done more to damage women’s self-concepts, happiness, and body image than almost anything else, including pornography and parental and peer influence.” – Silja, 35.
“I see the intense pressure in our culture to be beautiful and sexy and thin, and I see so many women and girls who reject their bodies because they don’t fit this mold. Try to remember that all of that is illusion. It doesn’t define you.” – Shonagh, 42.
“Don’t get all caught up in the media hype or what society tells you is beautiful. Beauty comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes; you have to feel it inside first. Be proud of your heritage and who you are.” – Donna, 39.
When you feel sad…
“My Guatemalan girlfriend who is like an auntie told me that whenever I feel blue, I must look at myself in the mirror, throw back my shoulders, lift my heart and breasts high, and shimmer! This usually makes me laugh out loud, even if I’m on the verge of tears.” – Raechel, 38.
When you’ve survived breast cancer and chemotherapy…
“When I go out without my wig, all people see is my bald head, and it scares them…Luckily, I’ve found that the more I open my heart to other people, the easier maintaining my weight and adapting to being bald becomes. We all have something. Mine’s just more obvious.” – Michelle, 58.
“I have learned to treat myself more kindly.” – Gretchen, 42.
If you know someone with breast cancer, read 17 Gifts for Women After a Mastectomy.
When you’ve been abused…
“I loathe myself. I’m a survivor of incest. When you’re a child and are taken advantage of in that way, you end up hating yourself, blaming yourself for what happened, even though you couldn’t do otherwise…I struggle with who I am inside.” – Candace, 52.
“I used to wear eye patches to cover the black eyes. I never honored myself enough to protect my own body. Now as a survivor I’ve put this behind me and am learning how to make sure it will never happen again.” – Faye, 38.
When you want to feel good about how you look…
“Though my body’s not perfect, I’m now at peace with it.” – Joann, 31.
“Now that I’m older, it is amazing the confidence that I have, the friends that I have, the love that I feel for people and myself. I don’t let things bother me, and I don’t care what people think about me anymore. If I lose weight, it’s only for me and no one else. I just love being me.” – June, 40.
Do you have any quips or tips for improving body image or self-confidence? Mine is to avoid looking at those perfect bodies in women’s magazines — they’re awful for my self-esteem.