Body Positivity Series: Accepting yourself
(Image courtesy of Pinterest)
14th April 2021
By Grace Bishop
The emergence of the body positivity movement on social media has erupted into a radical revolution of self-love, following years of participating in fad diets and comparing us to attainable images we saw in glossy magazines. Did you know that 70% of women between the ages of 18-30 dislike their bodies, and 45% of men say they’re dissatisfied too. Celebrating our bodies can be easier said than done.
You are enough, perfect in your own unique, personal way. Just because you don’t attain the Kardashian curves, doesn’t diminish self-worth. The ‘perfect’ body type doesn’t exist. Bottomless pits of veggies won’t provide you with the internal confidence needed to transform your perception of your own beauty long term.
Our bodies allow us to live, breathe and experience everything the world has to offer. So, why do we continuously shame them for their different shapes and sizes? Coco Chanel once said that ‘in order to be irreplaceable one must always be different’, - how can you argue with that?
Like every relationship, self-love is hard. But if you are prepared to put the work in - the results will be rewarding. Although this list can't eradicate those negative thoughts straight away, it can provide you with healthier ways of accepting these ‘imperfections’… nobody is ‘perfect’ but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace your insecurities.
I’m not saying that the gym needs to dominate your life, but a simple thirty minute walk in the sunshine can work wonders for your physical and mental health.
Getting out of the house and into the fresh air can boost your mood as well as release chemical endorphins to improve mental wellbeing. Something desperately needed in lockdown! Exercise is also a great way of concentrating on something different and helping you to get out of your own head. Equally, it can remind you how strong and powerful your body is.
Aside from improving your mood, exercise can increase body confidence. Physically moving in a public setting can enable you to become more comfortable in your own skin as well as enabling a healthier lifestyle.
I’m not advocating for weight loss in order to be body positive, but a simple alteration to your daily activities can bring your body confidence on leaps and bounds.
Stop Comparing Yourself!
Instagram may be enticing after a long day, but can lead you down a damaging rabbit hole of comparisons of yourself to filtered, edited ideals of beauty. We all follow various Love Island Instagram models with the so called ‘perfect’ physique. 47% of surveyed influencers felt their job had an impact on their mental health and 32% believe the platform gave them a negative impact on body image so it is okay to put your phone to one side and be present.
Some brands are taking great strides in representing realistic body types and a range of body types to advertise their products. That is really encouraging but some have a while to go.
Tess Holliday’s 2018 Cosmopolitan cover encouraged criticism for plus size models, arguing that the company was ‘promoting obesity’. Narrow standards of beauty within the fashion industry left Holliday experiencing ‘the worst mental health state of her life’. Despite this internal torment, Tess Holliday’s #effyourbeautystandards campaign maintained a powerful influence in body confidence with the hashtag being used over 3.2 million times.
It's also super important to remember that you won’t be the only person you know feeling insecure. Even if your friend is slenderer than you are, there will be something about themselves that bothers them too. You don’t need to necessarily seek solace in this fact but try not to be too hard on yourself in thinking you can’t be accepted as you are.
When my mood is down, the only thing that can cheer me up is an unnecessary spend up online. The excitement of a package stops me from worrying too deeply about my wincing bank balance!
A new style can massively increase confidence. A flattering Spring dress can transform your insecurities and instil a sense of refreshed positivity. The glow from a new outfit can work wonders for brightening my mood. Initially when shopping, you might want to avoid garments that draw attention to your ‘imperfections’ and heighten your feeling of exposure in public and that’s okay. When you’re feeling ready to take the plunge and wear that new skirt that new top that may have felt risqué before, go for it! If this takes time and words of encouragement from your friends, know you can do it and you’ve got people around you who love and accept you as you are.
Clothes are a great way to temporarily heighten your confidence, but self-esteem is an internal journey. Shopping may be a quick fix but long-term change needs more attention. You’ll be in this body forever so learn to become your own biggest fan and number one cheerleader.
This journey of self-love will not happen over-night, however if you are willing to put in the work… the results can drastically support mental wellbeing. The cliche ‘its a marathon, not a sprint’ definitely applies here.