Help a friend with negative body imageHow’s your BFF’s self-esteem? Is her body image positive or negative?

We women are notorious for our lack of self-esteem and negative body image. We’re so tough on ourselves!

“Step Away from the Mean Girls & say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks.” Oprah Winfrey

Some of us wish we were taller, others shorter. The list goes on and on. Girlfriend and guest blogger CRISTINA FAHRBACH-CONNORS shares her wisdom about helping us all have a more positive body image.

We all love our girlfriends, so what do you do when you have a friend who doesn’t realize how great she is? I’m talking about positive body image. We’re all uniquely beautiful, but sometimes we just can’t see it. Girlfriends don’t let girlfriends hate their bodies! Here are nine ways you can help a friend if she’s been getting down on her appearance:

  1. Be Willing To Listen. Sometimes we just need to be heard and understood. Show your girlfriend that you’re there for her and care about what she has to say. Don’t take over the conversation though; you want this to be about her.
  2. Find Out What The “Real” Problem Is. Often, body image issues are linked to low self-esteem due to other personal problems that need to be worked on. Ask your girlfriend questions to find out what’s really bothering her.
  3. Boost Her Self-Esteem. We compliment each other a lot on how we look, but when was the last time you told your girlfriend what makes her so special? Tell her what’s so great about her—other than her appearance. Helping your girlfriend feel good about herself as a whole can completely change her outlook on things.
  4. Avoid Fat Talk. Fat talk is repeating the same conversation over and over about our body insecurities. You might tell each other how you think you look terrible in a pair of jeans, or need to lose ten pounds before the summer. We ask each other “do I look terrible?” and reassure each other that we look good. But by obsessing over our insecurities about our bodies, studies have shown that we’re actually making them worse. Besides, there are so many more fun and interesting things for you and your girlfriend to talk about!healthy afternoon, positive self image
  5. Have Body-Nurturing Girlfriend Dates. You only get one body—take care of and pamper it together. Have girlfriend dates where you get your nails done or a massage (or even a nice spa day at home that’s more affordable!). Or you could get outside for a walk, breathe in the fresh air, talk, and get some exercise.
  6. Be A Positive Body Image Role Model. Lead by example! Show that you love and feel good about yourself and your attitude might be contagious. You’ll find that both you and your girlfriends will feel better.
  7. Realize Body Image Issues Come In All Shapes and Sizes. You might wonder how your girlfriend can be insecure, thinking to yourself, “But she’s so pretty/thin/etc.” But we all see ourselves in different ways, and what’s comfortable for one person may not be for another. Remember that your girlfriend’s concerns are important and meaningful to her and that’s what matters. Be supportive, not judging.
  8. Find And Share Inspiration. We’re bombarded by so many negative and harmful images and messages about our bodies in the media. Seek out body positive blogs, books, movies, etc. to counteract what your girlfriends are seeing. Share these inspirational sources with them. On my positive body image blog, I share lots of resources that can help.
  9. Educate Yourself and Your Girlfriend. Learn as much as you can about eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and disordered eating. Sometimes the problem is too big for you to solve on your own. If you think your friend might have a problem, encourage her to get professional help. Enlist the support of other friends and family members if you can.

Our girlfriends are to be cherished—help them to appreciate themselves the way we do. As women, we are so much more than our image in a mirror, clothing size, or number on a scale. Help your girlfriends recognize how gorgeous they are, inside and out.positive body image,feel better about yourself

CRISTINA FAHRBACH-CONNORS is a New York based freelance writer and attorney. She started her positive women’s body image blog, Size and Substance, because she feels it’s time for women to stop hating our bodies and tearing ourselves down. You can also follow her blog on facebook or on Twitter @cristinafconn.

What are your tips for helping your friends feel great about themselves?

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