“Don’t let your mind bully your body.”~June Tamaso Wood
Raise your hand if you’ve ever pinched your stomach for fat, compared yourself to someone else or felt inadequate after looking at social media and magazines. It’s okay, you’re not alone, my hand is raised too. When you live in a body that’s constantly labeled as “flawed” and “undesirable,” maintaining a positive sense of self can be tricky.
Sure, logic would dictate that we shouldn’t care about the mainstream media. We should know that most images we see are unrealistic and edited. We should know that our worth has nothing to do with our dress size. Unfortunately, when you’re repeatedly told that there’s something wrong with you, logic rarely prevails.
For me, that’s where the body positive movement comes in. It’s living proof that despite all the negativity around you, you can create change internally. Whether your body is a size six or a size twenty-six, the key to loving it lies in changing how you perceive body, instead of changing its appearance. How do you start this shift in perception when you’ve been hating and criticizing yours for so long?
1. Forgive your body.
When you spend years of your life trying to change your body’s appearance and criticizing the way it looks, you probably didn’t treat it kindly. Let’s face it, the perfect body doesn’t exist. Unrealistic standards created by media and society aren’t representing any kind of beauty. They are designed to sell. When you feel bad about yourself, you are more likely to buy their products. If you want to love your body, you should start by forgiving it for not being perfect.
2. Focus on the amazing functions of your body.
Despite everything your body has been through, it functions. So instead of obsessing over how it looks, you can focus on the benefits it gives you. Think about the things your body does for you every single day and the goals you accomplish with it.
3. Develop positive self-talk.
Challenge your negative thoughts and use positive daily affirmations like, “I will be kind for my body today” or “I will like my body today just the way it is.” Over time, with enough intention your positive affirmations will become your reality. Start a list of positive aspects of your body to refute the negative things you’re telling yourself. Instead of saying “I hate my body shape”, try saying “I’m grateful I have a healthy body. I’m grateful I can go for a run or carry my child.” You may not be perfect, but who says you have to be?
4. Embrace your body.
After years of battling with my own body image, I can now look in the mirror and be happy with my reflection, I can walk the runway in fashion shows, I can even take boudoir photos because I have found peace. Not in changing my body, but in changing the way I perceive myself. Being beautiful and having a positive body image is a feeling that comes from within and deserves to be unlocked. Loving your body is hard, but the process is gratifying and so worth it.