#LoveYourself Movement Spreads Body Positivity
Wardrobe consultant Elizabeth Elias helps you talk back to your self-criticism
As Firestarters, we’re some of the kindest people around.
We’re in tune with the needs of others. We’re always looking for ways to help. Nothing makes us happier than lifting up somebody else.
So why are we so mean to ourselves sometimes? We say things to ourselves that we would never tell our friends.
You know exactly what I’m talking about and I even shared my own story of not loving myself last week.
Why do we put ourselves down because our bodies don’t match those of magazine models or Instagram influencers? Or we just lust after the bodies of everyone else?
Why do we wear clothes we hate because we don’t “deserve” new ones till we’re at our goal weight or goal size? And don’t ask me how many dresses I own for the day I make it into my dream size?
Why do we groan and grimace every time we see that one body part that gives us fits in the mirror? Currently for me it is my belly and a reminder of the grief weight I gained after my Father died.
Just about all of us fall into these mindsets sometimes. Wardrobe consultant Elizabeth Elias would know. As the owner of Elizabeth Elias Consulting, she helps her clients build wardrobes that make them confident and happy. This is an up-close-and-personal process — clients open their closet doors to her. Working so closely with Elias, many reveal to her how much they dislike their own bodies.
“All shapes and sizes, I’m hearing consistently people picking apart their bodies,” she says. ” ‘I don’t like my thighs.’ ‘I don’t like my breasts.’ ‘I don’t like my waistline.'”
She also heard friends and family members talking about themselves in the same critical way. “I feel like I keep seeing it everywhere,” she says. Both women and men have these feelings, she adds.
All the pain she heard others express started weighing on Elias. So, as a naturally positive person, she decided she had to do something: become a #MovementMaker
Countering Unhealthy Messages
Elias’ movement is called #LoveYourself, and it’s a natural outgrowth of the work she does helping others feel more confident in their appearance. She wants to help us develop more loving, appreciative relationships with our bodies and escape the trap of negative self-talk. “I want to uplift people and help them feel secure and mentally strong,” she says. “As people are tearing themselves apart, I just keep saying ‘Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to this body that has taken you so many places.'”
#LoveYourself is designed to serve as a counterpart to all the messed-up messages we get about what our bodies are supposed to be. Elias believes people have trouble loving their bodies because unrealistic standards pervade our culture. They follow us everywhere — movies and TV, magazines, social media. “It’s just a combination of so many different things, ” she says.
Elias is using her platform to send different messages by putting #LoveYourself front and center. On her website, you can find inspiring content like a video interview with the health experts of Path Nutrition. Her social media presence promotes positivity and celebrating your uniqueness.
While the #LoveYourself movement is relatively new, its ideals have always been present in Elias’ work with her clients. “I’m a wardrobe consultant, but another hat I wear is a therapist,” she says. When clients talk about their insecurities, she reminds them that they are beautiful as they are and that we all have different shapes, forms, and sizes. As she helps them choose clothing that highlights what they do like about their bodies, “I would never say something that is negative that would knock them down more with any of their insecurities.”
Live the #LoveYourself Way
Want to help Elias spread the love? That starts with loving you. Every day, think about one thing that you love about yourself. This little affirmation can set the stage for bigger shifts in your self-image.
It’s easier to be kind to yourself if you’re surrounded by people who lift you up, Elias says. Choose the company you keep carefully. You only have so much time and energy. Don’t waste it on toxic, drama-generating people.
Of course, these days the people in our lives also include the people we follow on social media. If that little voice inside your head seems extra critical of your appearance lately, take a look at your social media habits, Elias says. What we see on the ‘Gram and our other networks can lead us to unhealthy comparisons and self-criticism. If you’re following someone who makes you feel unhappy with yourself (even if they’re supposed to be “inspiring”), cut them loose. Talk with your real-life friends about what you’re seeing on social media. They can provide a valuable reality check.
You can also try Elias’ trick of using a timer to set some boundaries around social media. It’s all too easy to find yourself endlessly scrolling and then wondering where the time went. You may even want to take a longer break from social media to clear your head.
Help Others Love Themselves
As you become kinder to yourself, you can also help others be kind to themselves, too. Get in the habit of giving someone a compliment every day, Elias says. You never know the impact that sharing a few kind words can have on another person (and on your mindset as well). If you have some little humans in your life, be a role model of self-kindness. Elias has a young daughter, and she’s very careful with the words she uses around her. For example, instead of talking about being skinny, she’ll stress being healthy and strong.
And whether you realize it or not, you’re also a role model to the other grown-ups in your life. When they see you talking about and treating your body in healthy ways, you’re empowering them to do the same. That’s true for your social media followers, too. You may think you need a Gwyneth Paltrow-size audience to be an influencer, but the truth is you have a real influence on everyone who follows you. With that in mind, set an intention that each of your posts will be both true to who you are and uplift others, Elias says.
Speaking of social, you can keep up with Elias and the #LoveYourself Movement on Instagram and Facebook. We’ll definitely be watching as she continues to spread this vital message and helps people shift their mindsets. I’ve joined the #LoveYourself Movement. Be sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook pages as I show you how I shake negative thoughts about my own body image.
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