A Guide To Body Positivity
Body positivity movements have drastically changed the way we look at beauty these days. With curvy queens like Rihanna and Ashley Graham putting body shamers in their place, it reminds us that embracing our curves, bumps and scars is something we should all be doing.
But as someone who has struggled with accepting (don’t even get me started on loving) my body, I know that seeing a curvy girl on the front page of a magazine doesn’t make all your insecurities disappear. In fact, becoming body positive is a process that takes time, effort and patience.
To help you get started on your journey to loving yourself, I’ve put together a simple (and honest) guide to achieving body positivity!
Taking Time To Disconnect
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a step back from everything, and yes, that means Facebook and Instagram too. Even with body positive campaigns and movements all over the internet, we can still feel pressure to look and embrace our bodies in a certain way.
Before you begin addressing your insecurities and accepting your imperfections, it’s important to give yourself a mental and emotional detox from stressors that could bring about negative emotions. So instead of turning to social media or television shows during your spare time, try reading a book or listening to a podcast instead. Think of it as getting a good night’s rest before running a race the next day. The more primed you are, the smoother your overall journey will be.
Finding The Root Cause
Many assume that body image issues are about vanity or just wanting to fit a certain mould. This isn’t wrong, but suffering from eating disorders and poor body image has actually been more closely linked to feeling a lack of control over one’s circumstances.
Finding the root of the issue is what’s important–because you can’t fix what you don’t know. One way to put your defences aside and find out what’s really bothering you is to imagine your struggles as someone else’s. This will allow you to talk to yourself as a friend and treat yourself with honesty, kindness and compassion.
You may choose to do this through journaling, or just by speaking aloud to yourself before you go to bed. Whichever way you choose to communicate with yourself, just remember to be honest with yourself and your intentions.
Gaining control isn’t about exerting dominance or forcing yourself to do something because it’s supposed to be “right”. It’s about listening to what your body and mind really need, and taking positive steps towards treating yourself with respect.
Communication Is Key
Now that you’ve learnt to communicate with yourself, it’s time to learn to talk to someone else. Speaking to others about your body image can be uncomfortable — after all, it’s quite an intimate subject. But being able to share these thoughts with someone else is an extremely powerful thing! It pushes us to address and let go of any feelings of shame and insecurity that are often linked to body image issues.
Speaking to others can also be very illuminating, even if they haven’t exactly walked a mile in your shoes. They might ask you questions you never thought to ask yourself or give you some advice you wouldn’t have come to on your own!
Of course, I would also recommend being selective with who you speak to about a topic as personal as this one. While it’s good to open yourself up to support, inviting the wrong people in at this time may be just as detrimental, so keep this to people you really trust.
Feeding Your Mind
Feeding your body is an important step to overcoming body image issues. But to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself, it’s equally important to feed your mind with positive things.
Start by setting a daily reminder to prompt yourself to think of one thing you’re grateful for that day. When you take time to think about things you’re fortunate to have, you’re less likely to be overcome by negative thoughts. I like to do this in the morning to start my day right, but plan for whatever will suit you best!
This step may be especially difficult for those dealing with eating disorders, but it’s one that you have to get comfortable with to heal physically and mentally. Treating yourself to certain foods can be scary if you’ve struggled with body image issues for a long time, so instead of jumping into that, set up a nightly self-care routine instead!
It could involve simple things like aromatherapy or starting a new skincare routine — what’s important is the act of caring for yourself and your body. Familiarising yourself with this serves as a reminder that you can and should be treated well.
It’s so important to remember the power of positivity and how it influences our perceptions of things. Incorporating behaviour that positively reaffirms us has the ability to drastically change the way we see and treat ourselves.
Learning to love yourself is something we all need to get familiar with, no matter what we look like. So take the time to be kind to yourself and those around you!
P.S. If you have any questions or comments about dealing with body image, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!