Hello, my sweet friends!
As many of you know, I am somebody who really values the body positivity movement. I believe that everybody deserves the right to exist in the body that they do, and that people have both the right to change their body or keep it exactly the same. Working on internalizing this message is somewhat of a radical act for somebody who has spent countless years dealing with body image issues.
I love following body positive Instagram accounts; they provide the antithesis to rigid beauty standards that are all over the platform within the same feed. In my Transparency and Vulnerability On The Bad Days post, I linked a few of my favorite BoPo accounts, but today I wanted to talk about the premise of one specific post that hit home for me.
This is what being body positive means to me.
This post by @ownitbabe is simple, but really stuck out to me.
I had a conversation with one of my cousins this summer about the fact that it’s actually quite a big pressure to put on oneself to say, “I have to love every aspect of how I look, no matter what society or others have told me in the past, in order to claim that I love myself.” While that would be an ideal end-goal for a person aiming to entertain a more body positive mindset, it’s a hefty asking.
There are parts of my body that I’m not a fan of. That’s okay.
We should all aim toward fully loving our bodies, but we also should note that it’s a hard process that doesn’t fully pan out quickly. It is difficult to completely erase negative feelings toward your body that have been engrained in your mind for a long time, whether these thoughts have been fed by society, other people, or even oneself. It is the intention to undo these negative thoughts, but it’s challenging to both undo and replace these thoughts with their positive opposites.
For a long time, I thought that I wasn’t doing well enough at loving myself because I had to repeat to myself, “I love everything about my body,” and I didn’t really mean it.
Rini’s post helped me sort out my thoughts quite a bit. I can accept my body and care for it without finding it 100% aesthetically perfect. I think I’m at that point of acceptance, but I know that I am not at the point of fully loving how I look. I most probably never will be. I have a long way to go in trying to look at myself in the mirror and love everything that I see. I know that I am not alone in that sentiment, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t love myself.
I accept that this is the body that I get to live in.
I may not like my arms or my stomach, but I accept that this is how I look and how my body is. There are things that I can choose to change about myself if I’d like, but I don’t have to in order to experience my life in a better way. Looking the way that I do ultimately does not change the experience that I will have doing the things that I want to do, or loving the people that I want to love.
I care about my body, so I want to take care of it.
I have decided this; a cared-for body is a pretty body. It is a priority for me to make sure that I take care of this body, because as Rini says in her post, it’s my vessel to do things in this world. I may not love my arms, but they allow me to hug the people that I love. That matters, and it is a small thing that can be easily overlooked, but should not be taken for granted. I need to thank my body for all that it does for me by taking care of it. I don’t need to punish it for not being as thin as I’d wish, or for not looking like that of the Victoria’s Secret Angels who I spent my adolescence idolizing.
I recognize that I am more than my body.
I am a person with emotions, intentions, values, morals, and interpersonal connections. The things that I hold inside of my body are more valuable than the shell that they live in. This shell, my body, enables me to do certain things that help further my intrinsic agenda. But I am so much more than whether or not somebody finds me attractive, or the size of my jeans. I firmly believe that if you are kind and good at heart, it radiates through your eyes and your smile. Seeing that shine in people is what makes me view them as beautiful, and aesthetics come later and matter so little.
So, here is what I want you to take away from today’s post:
- You can accept your body, care for it, and love it without being crazy about every aspect of its aesthetics.
- Your body does a lot for you, it deserves a “thank you,” rather than a punishment or an order to change.
- You can have a body positive mindset while not loving every aspect of your physical appearance.
- You are more than your body. The shine you have within is what defines you. Your body is merely a shell.
I hope that this post could help lighten a load on your shoulders, and put body positivity in a more doable light for you. This is what body positivity means to me in this moment, at age 20 in the phase of my life that I am in. Please remember this: you are so, so beautiful inside and out!
With so much love,
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