Now that you understand the body positivity movement, I want to focus on how to improve your own body image. It can often be very easy to compliment others’ appearances and to critique our own – we might get into a habit of negative self-talk as we look at ourselves in the mirror or in photos. I believe it is so important to find a way of accepting our body’s “imperfections” or, if applicable, change them in a natural, healthy way. I hope this post makes you feel less alone and makes you think about how you can view your own body image more positively.
Firstly, I want to emphasize that the focus should be on having a healthy body rather than a skinny body (although the two may overlap). You could eat healthy food and exercise regularly and still end up with a big stomach or big thighs, which is normal. Or you could eat junk food and never exercise and end up with a skinny figure, which is not good for your body.
We should also not be ashamed of parts of our body that are completely normal, but society has viewed as imperfections – let’s normalise normal bodies. Acne and pimples are normal. Birth marks and stretch marks are normal. Getting a big stomach after eating is normal, and even having one most of the time is normal (your organs have to go somewhere!). Try to remember this the next time you want to cover them up (I know it’s easier said then done).
I’m sure that practically all of us have felt self-conscious or ashamed of our body at some point, so you are not alone. It could be certain parts of your body that you don’t like or just your whole outlook on your body. People may have commented on your body negatively and it is really hard to block out others’ views, especially if they verbalise what you were thinking already. Even if no one had said anything, you might have a fear that people are thinking negative thoughts about your body that mimic your own. You might get worried that people have noticed a body part that you hate and will judge you for it, even with parts of you that you can’t change. You probably also compare yourself to others and inevitably feel inadequate, especially seeing “perfect” bodies on social media. The point is, it is a common experience that affects us in different ways and we all need to help each other to get out of these bad mindsets.
Try to think about why you feel bad about certain parts of your body; is it because it is not acceptable by the standards of society, people you know or yourself? Ideally it should just be your own standards, but it is hard to distinguish between what your own and others’ views are. If you realise it’s not your own standards then you must try to actively ignore what others think and focus on your own. Remember that society’s perception of beauty is constantly changing, so you can never win anyway. It can also feel quite empowering when you like a part of your body that society would disapprove of because it’s like ignoring the haters (but it’s also quite scary).
I do want to make it clear though that you are allowed to want to change a part of your body to self-improve by your own standards (as long as you acknowledge that your body is valid either way). Just make sure that you do it in a natural, healthy way such as consistent, targeted exercise or healthy eating. If you can’t change a part of your body, then you must try to accept it with positive self-talk to view it in a different light.
Another thing you could try is to walk around in the privacy of your place or room in less clothes or completely naked whilst you complete normal tasks! It may sound weird at first, but it can allow you to get comfortable in your own body without the potential judgement of others. You could also wear those clothes that you love but never wear because they make you feel self-conscious about your body; you can get comfortable wearing them by yourself first.
I also want to talk about the cover photo for a bit. Not as a disclaimer about my body, because we need to get out of that habit, but to draw attention to what it shows and what I didn’t capture. I wanted to get a bit out of my comfort zone to not be a hypocrite while I talk about body positivity. This picture features my biggest insecurities: my bigger stomach (which gets bigger after I eat) against my smaller boobs, and my disproportionate thighs (how they get bigger at the top). It doesn’t show some other parts of me that society would disapprove of: back acne, birth mark on my butt, a cyst on my lower stomach and a few stretch marks on my inner thighs.
What I want to emphasize is, we all have our own “imperfections” and insecurities because no one is perfect. Some we will hate and must try to accept or change in a healthy manner. Others we will be fine with and not care what others think. We need to constantly bring up and normalise these “imperfections” to help each other to feel confident in our own bodies.
Once again, I want to acknowledge my privilege from being closer to the body ideal that is ingrained in our society than other people. I do not want to take away the voices of the people who are further from this ideal, but still have beautiful, healthy bodies which they are happy with. I want to join them in their message and help to promote body positivity towards myself and others.
Overall, try not to let society or others dictate how your body should look like, it should be up to you! You are not alone in viewing your body negatively and always consider what someone else is going through in relation to their body image. A healthy body should be the aim, rather than a skinny body, and we need to make normal bodies normal to support body positivity!
If you want to save these ideas and the link to this blog post for easy reference, save this pin on Pinterest 🙂