Loving your body is hard… Loving your body when it’s changing is even harder. As a teen, your body is in the process of huge changes – hormonal, emotional and physical. You’re eagerly awaiting your “glow up” like a caterpillar in a cocoon, waiting to emerge as a butterfly… but what they don’t tell you is this – much like your teenage years, that time in the cocoon isn’t just a chilled vacay filled with meditation… It hurts. Driven by hormones, the caterpillar must digest itself and then grow new parts to form its butterfly body! Sounding familiar? As a teenager, your hormones and changing body can easily become your worst enemy long before they become your best friend. As someone with a chronic illness, my body is constantly leaving me wanting and waiting. I’ve fallen into the comparison trap many times, wondering what my life would be like if I had someone else’s “healthy” body. However, with this struggle has come a journey towards self-love, self-acceptance and body confidence. Being able to love and appreciate your body, whilst it goes through changes, is a really powerful tool. It’s definitely one I wish I had in my skill set when I was younger, as it also helps your emotional resilience and general wellbeing.
But how do you love a body that’s going through changes?
Yep, I said it. Stop looking at pictures of Kaia Gerber and wondering why you’re not a supermodel. Stop believing that Pro-active is what cured Kendall Jenner’s acne. Stop comparing yourself to your sister, your best friend, the “popular” girls at school. We all progress at different rates. We all have different body types. And, perhaps most importantly, some people (most celebrities) will have a whole team of stylists, dermatologists, and makeup artists to help their transition from awkward pre-teen to a supermodel.
FIND REALISTIC IDOLS
I love Ariana Grande, but I will never look like her. For me, finding inspiration from celebrities who embrace a body type or facial structure similar to mine has really helped my confidence. The rise of the Instagram model has led to a more diverse range of inspiration for us all. I used to feel self-conscious because I didn’t have “skinny” thighs – instead, I now look at pictures of girls with thighs like mine and feel empowered to love myself.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES
Stand in front of the mirror and say (yes, out loud) three things that you like about yourself. It doesn’t matter whether they’re about your body or your personality! Focusing on what’s great about yourself is such a strong first step in your journey towards self-love.
REMEMBER, THIS ISN’T PERMANENT
Perhaps the most important of all when you’re a teenager, remember that things WILL settle down soon. Learn to love your body during these changes and your self-love will be through the roof as you grow older and those changes turn into permanent parts of your body.
I hope these ideas help you a little. Body confidence and self-love are so important, especially when you’re going through huge changes in your life! Stay strong and remember, you got this! Come follow me on Instagram @alihemsley and let me know how you’ve got on!