So, you often find yourself dreaming about being swept away by your prince charming, or loved by an amazing woman. But when it comes to turning these dreams into a reality, you shy away out of fear. You may feel scared of dating because of your appearance, feeding yourself negative words like “I hate my body!” or “my body isn’t good enough!”
Or, maybe you’re just shy or body conscious. Either way, you’ve probably turned down a few dates because you worry about your date judging your body.
If so, there’s a chance you may have body dysmorphia, which is when individuals perceive themselves as physically unattractive
As a result, such people typically avoid going on dates because they strongly disapprove of their own appearance.
If that sounds like you, don’t worry. It happens to the best of us sometimes, but there’s ways to overcome this. Keep reading to learn how!
Why Don’t I Like My Body?
Let’s begin by exploring reasons why you might not like your body (plus some helpful tips on how to love yourself!):
You have been belittled or bullied for your appearance
Were you raised by a weight-conscious parent? Perhaps your peer group didn’t think you were “skinny enough” or called you out for your features. Young people are highly impressionable, and a single mean remark can stay with them forever. If this applies to you, know that most people say rude things because they’re secretly dissatisfied with their own appearances. In other words, bullies tend to take out the frustration of their insecurities by picking at other people. The best way to counter this is by reminding yourself that you are not a punching bag for other people’s personal frustrations. You are bigger than their harsh words—so don’t let them belittle you!
You’re used to seeing unrealistic body standards
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Seeing billboards plastered with photoshopped models and watching movies where the lead always has the same “ideal” body type can take its toll. Continuous exposure to such images can leave a person feeling dissatisfied with their body. However, it’s crucial to understand that these celebrities have an entire entourage of trainers and stylists to help them look that way. As everyday people, we don’t need to subscribe to that lifestyle, especially when our bodies are doing an excellent job at helping us get through the day!
Scared of Dating After a Breakup or Divorce
It’s normal to feel scared of dating if you’ve recently left a relationship you thought would last forever. Allow yourself time to heal from this traumatic experience before looking for love again.
Consider visiting a therapist or confessing to a friend if you’re afraid of dating again because of how your body looks.
Breakups and divorce can take a toll on your emotional, mental, and physical health, so it’s okay if you don’t look like your usual self!
Many people enjoy binging on comfort foods to help them overcome the pain of leaving a romantic partner. So, if you’ve gained a few pounds, don’t shame yourself for it. Instead, work towards allowing your body the time it needs to recover from any stress caused by relationship trauma.
You can jump back into the dating pool when you feel emotionally ready. To boost your confidence, try hitting the gym or doing simple workouts at home. However, don’t be mean to yourself when you look in the mirror. Remind yourself that your body is your safe haven. It’s stuck by you through thick and thin and carried you through your past relationship. The least you can do is be kind to it and appreciate how it currently looks.
I Hate My Body After Pregnancy
Pregnancy isn’t an easy journey, but you already know that. Sadly, for most women, the challenge doesn’t end after giving birth. The post-pregnancy period is typically riddled with physical pain and postpartum depression.
If you’ve recently given birth, or haven’t “recovered” the body you had before your child was born, know that you’re not alone. Women go through an incredible amount of emotional and physical labor, so it’s natural for the stress to affect your body.
If you’re feeling down about your appearance, try looking into the mirror and reminding yourself that this is the very body that created a whole human being! So, treat it with special care and affection, too. Remember, nobody else can love you till you love yourself.
If you have a partner, try talking to them about your insecurities. Ask them to encourage you by telling you they still love your body. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member to support you through this challenging time, if needed.
How Do I Like My Body?
We’ve already talked about why you should love your body. Now, here are some excellent tips telling you how to like your body:
- A pivot point for the self-acceptance practice: do not compare yourself with others. Accept yourself for who you are with all your flaws. The only way not to be afraid of body changes is to love your body in any of its states. If you accept your body, you are willing to take care of it not because you have to, but because you want to.
- Be kind to yourself, especially in difficult times. In fact, you have no one closer than yourself. You are the person who is with you every minute. Imagine how you would feel for a warm, supportive friend. So be your own friend.
- Wear clothes that suit your body type: This may sound like a no-brainer, but you need to find and wear clothes that fit you well. The fashion industry loves advertising smaller clothing sizes as the ideal product size. Understand that this is a mere marketing gimmick. Smaller clothing sizes allow for greater profit returns because they use less fabric. It’s no wonder so many retailers love promoting them!
But remember: your clothes are meant to fit you, and not the other way ‘round. So, if you’ve been trying to fit into clothes that aren’t your size, quit this habit now! Find outfits that don’t force you to hold your stomach in. You’ll feel much better than before.
Also, if you’re prone to wearing baggy clothes, you can always experiment with cinched fits. Just do what makes you happiest, because happy people are the most beautiful!
On that note, it’s okay to not be 100% happy with how you look right now—nobody’s asking you to sugarcoat the parts of your body you’d like to change. However, you should know that change is a process, and you should be patient with your current appearance. Put in the gym hours and diet control if you feel like it, but do it for yourself, not because of societal standards.
I’m Scared of Dating Apps—Help!
Online dating is all about sharing pictures of yourself and hoping your smile pulls someone in. In most cases, it really is that simple. So, it makes sense to be scared of online dating because you hate your body, right?
While dating apps can certainly feel daunting, there’s a way to get over this fear. Before logging onto a dating app, your first priority should be to learn how to love yourself. It’s time to change the words “I hate my body” to “I am beautiful, I love my body!”
You’ve probably heard this before, but nobody else can love you until you fall in love with your own being!
Next, make yourself comfortable with the idea of rejection. Know that being turned down is part of the game. It usually has remarkably little to do with how you look, and more so with chemistry. Your date will either feel the spark, or not. Both options are good options, because each of them leads you down the path that’s best for you in either scenario.
Hence, rejection can be a positive thing! Remember, if your date doesn’t ask for a second meeting, it’s because they’re not the one for you. It’s better to mutually end things and meet someone new who might be a better match.
On a side note, try not to reject yourself before going on the first date. Feeding yourself negative mantras like “I hate my body” can lower self-esteem and make dating more challenging.
How to Tell if My Date Likes My Body?
If you go on a date (here are some tips by the way), the rule of thumb is not to expect anything from the other person, especially if it’s the first date. However, everyone wants their body to be liked. So, how do you tell if your date likes your body?
While you can directly ask that question, it may be off-putting. Look for signs instead, such as your date’s body language. Are they constantly smiling? Are they blushing a little? Are they casually initiating physical contact (i.e., touching your shoulder, hand, etc.)? These little things can show interest in your body and suggest your date wants to be in a relationship with you!
Another way is to look out for the language they use. Are they complimenting what you look like? Are they being flirtatious? Are they indicating they’d like to go on more dates? If people are comfortable with you, it’s a sign that they like you. And if they like you, they probably like your body, too, as personality and physicality go hand in hand when it comes to attraction.
Here’s an insider tip, though: don’t date someone who only wants you for your body. Remember, your awesome personality is just as important, if not more! Only a date who appreciates your looks and your personality can offer a healthy, happy relationship down the road.
Moreover, be sure to use positive language when talking about yourself with your date. Avoid saying negative things like “I hate my body” as it will show insecurity on your part. Remember, confidence is key!
Do It For Yourself, Nobody Else
Loving yourself and dating are both very daunting things, but you should never indulge in them headfirst for the sake of someone else. Always do it for yourself, and always do it for personal growth and satisfaction only. Attaching other things to it can lead to unhealthy patterns, which can hurt your self-image and social life later.
It’s best to learn to love yourself because that’s something you need, not because someone else will feel better if you love yourself. Go on dates because you want to, not because you want to impress someone else or make another person jealous. The reasons behind whatever you do should always have pure intentions. You will soon find that good intentions attract good things.
Hating your body won’t do you any good, nor will discontent about your appearance. Bring the change from within, and you will soon find yourself feeling lighter and happier because you won’t be carrying the burden of disliking yourself everywhere you go.
Confidence can do wonders for a person’s social and romantic life, and that’s what loving yourself for who you are will get you. Your fears will automatically feel resolved, and you will feel a natural urge to get out there and get to know people.
Remember, life is too short to spend being afraid of new opportunities.