WOULD YOU EVER talk to a friend the way you talk to yourself on your worst days? It’s easy to identify with our inner critic, but we’re often intolerant toward ourselves in a way we’d never be with others. This kind of conditional self-love is most common among women – even the confident ones. Women’s wellness pro and PCOS expert, Nicole Granato, sees the impact of body image issues and low self-worth every day with her clients. We challenge you to take her advice for cultivating a better body image and deeper sense of self-love…

As women, we constantly feel the need to change or better ourselves to fit an ideal — to be powerful, independent, strong and beautiful. The ideals of beauty and independence have changed over time as women’s roles have evolved as well. It’s normal to experience body image issues or to struggle seeing ourselves as others see us. Trying to perfect the imperfections and fit into a mold can take over our ability to just be happy with who we are and our presence in the world.

This is something I still struggle with. I notice how it shows up in my life and through my coaching; I see how it shows up in other women’s lives. How do we sit with ourselves and accept who we are in all aspects? How do we feel truly good and confident? How do we ignore what society may tell us and, instead, feel truly desirable, independent and “good enough”? Whether or not the world changes its view on these things, we can come to an inner peace and practice deeper self-acceptance. Here are some of the practices that I share with women I work with:

3 Rituals for Self-Love + Better Body Image

LIST IT OUT | Write down the things you like and or admire about yourself. This can be physical or other characteristics about yourself that you truly enjoy. Be detailed. Next, write down the things that you do not like about yourself. Write down anything that comes to mind. Now carefully review your lists of things you like and do not like. Acknowledging these likes and dislikes is the first and most crucial step to acceptance and moving forward. Ask yourself if the things you do not like are greater than the things you like. Are the things you don’t like physical rather than mental or emotional? Really spend time with your thoughts.
Sit with it, and break down where those feelings are coming from.

MIRROR MEDITATION | Now that you have confronted your lists, it is important to face yourself either in the mirror or in meditation and look or breathe into your body. While looking at yourself, think about the things that you truly love, the things you admire, and begin seeing those things when you look or feel into yourself. Acknowledge that the things you love are so much more powerful than the things you don’t like.

SET INTENTIONS | Once you’ve faced yourself, set intentions for daily rituals of self-care and self-love. How can you show up for your body more? Some of my favorite rituals are evening baths, my nightly skincare routine and – one of the best – a long walk with my dog or some form of body movement!

It is not easy to avoid the trap of perpetual, overly-critical work on self. It can be a vicious cycle when constantly trying to fit a mold or an ideal. Instead, start using that energy and truly devoting it to your health and body. Happiness and confidence start from within. Taking care of yourself, mind and body, is the first step to feeling great and confident in yourself.