Five ways to feel beautiful now

This picture originally sacred me to see my body from behind in a skin tight dress. But now I'm happy to see it. Curvy! And proud!

This behind-the-scenes picture originally sacred me to see my body from behind in a skin tight dress. But now I’m happy to see it. Curvy! And proud!

I’ve recently entered the dating pool after divorce and am struggling to look at my body objectively without putting myself down. Below are five things I’m doing to help feel confident about my body NOW.

I’m trying Match.com with equal parts skepticism and optimism. I thought this would be a breeze but writing an online dating profile is monumentally more difficult than writing for hundreds of thousands.

One question that threw me for a loop was body type. I’m not slender, I’m not average, I’m not athletic and toned. But some people perceive curvy as overweight or confuse it with plus sized. I went to my guy friend and he said “curvy”. So I included lots of full length pictures. The curvy body type is experiencing a revolution.

Here’s an article about how the curvy body type of vintage days is making a comeback. Yay for me! I don’t like articles that shame any body type, but it’s nice to see the hourglass shape making a comeback. Now here the five things I’m doing to feel beautiful now. (Especially when a smoking hot guy contacts me and I wonder if he’s out of my league.)

1. Get rid of jealousy

Jealousy breeds on comparison. You can’t learn to love your own looks if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. There’s a beauty in what God gave us. If you’re not spiritual then think of the miracle of your mother and father combining to make you. Incredible. Beautiful. And worthy of love. If you look at everyone else and long for their looks you’re missing something beautiful in your own. Everyone wants what they can’t have. A happy person wants exactly what they’ve got.

2. Count your blessings

Your body is alive. It’s a masterpiece of science. You can find features to be proud of. Search every day for one new feature to appreciate. If you are so hurt about your body that you can’t find anything, think back to partners and former partners. What did they love? Usually they loved the things you were most critical of. If you hate a part of your body, find a way to be loving towards it. I have the typical c-section tummy. It’s soft and there’s a scar. Every time I see it and ugly thoughts start to invade, I put my hand on it and thank my body for giving birth to my son.

I am grateful for my curves. After many years of being ashamed.

Counting my blessings: I am grateful for my curves. After many years of being ashamed.

3. Take care of yourself

Watching what you eat and exercising drastically improve your mood. If you drink a lot of caffeine or eat sugar you’re getting a temporary boost that will fade into a crash. My body is super sensitive and I try to avoid them except on special occasions. Beyond the short term effect of knowing you’re treating your body well, the long term effects are weight loss and toning. Make loving decisions towards your body and you’ll feel better just because you know you’re taking care of yourself. This is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

4. Notice and appreciate the beauty in others

One of the ways people stave off depressions of hopelessness is by getting away from their thoughts and getting out to help others. Realizing how little some have inevitably helps you see your blessings. If you’re feeling low about your body, change your focus. Look at your loved ones and compliment them on things you find beautiful. I’m sure they’ll love hearing it and you’ll be looking outside yourself for something positive rather than looking inside for something negative.

This is my friend Linh. She may say she's short but she has amazing legs and an hourglass figure.

This is my friend Linh. She may say she’s short but she has amazing legs and an hourglass figure.

5. Get busy doing things you love

The last of the five ways to feel beautiful now is to lean on your friends. Being around friends and loved ones is scientifically proven to pump “happy” hormones through your body. Laughing, sharing and talking all help us feel less alone. Feeling alone is probably the worst feeling I’ve been battling. My marriage was lonely the last few years. The best cure for this is staying busy. Make plans with friends. Offer to help friends with things they need done. Make appointments with yourself to read books or watch movies.

Five ways to feel beautiful now - get busy with friends! Laughing with friends is an instant boost

Five ways to feel beautiful now – get busy with friends! Laughing with friends is an instant boost

Those were my five ways to feel beautiful now. Is there anything you would add to this list that helps you feel better about your body?

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. info@imanwoods.com Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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  • You look amazing in that dress! This is such great advice: “Get busy doing things you love”. When you are busy doing something that you love time doesn’t matter and you become deaf to the ills of the world. Love your photographs. you are such an inspiration.

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  • Melinda Riina

    I love you, Iman! You’re such an inspiration to women of every type. Get ’em girl!

    • ImanWoods

      Love you too lady! Let’s DO THIS!