In a time where everyone is so critical of how they and other people look and dress, it’s important to embrace body positivity and self-acceptance.
This means to love and accept yourself and your body despite any ‘imperfections’ you think you have – the important word to emphasise here is ‘think’. A lot of the time you think your nose is too big or your thighs are too jiggly, when in reality your body is exactly how it should be.
How can I be more body positive?
Embracing body positivity includes loving and accepting every single one of your features – your weight, body shape, skin colour, curves and everything in between. You don’t have to be obsessed with every single part of yourself, but you can accept and appreciate that it’s part of who you are. Here are four steps that might help!
The next time you’re looking at yourself in a mirror, take a moment to pick out at least one thing you love about yourself and every now and again pick a new feature. It sounds a bit cringe, but it will make the world of a difference to channel any negative thoughts into positive energy. Eventually, you will start to look at your whole body as beautiful and it will become natural for you to see good stuff when you look at yourself.
Along with this, and throughout the day, think of a mantra or saying you can repeat to yourself when you are feeling a bit self-conscious or insecure. Examples of positive body image affirmations include:
- I am worth more than my appearance.
- I love the woman/man/person staring back at me in the mirror.
- My body is my home and I will build it up, not tear it down.
- I am enough.
Take care of your body
Our bodies do so much for us without us even realising, so we should treat it with respect by keeping an eye on our exercise and diet. Of course, we don’t mean to start dieting and hitting the gym three or four times a week. Fill your body with healthy, tasty food that you love, hydrate with lots of water, and take the time out to go on a walk or even do some yoga a few times a week. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to keep your body happy, just focus on feeling good.
Take a break from social media
The majority of the time the images you see on Instagram aren’t real. It is easy enough for someone on social media to ensure their lighting is flattering, their angles are good, and edit the pics if they’re still not happy. This is not real life and not how they look on a normal day. This means that you might be wishing you look like something that actually doesn’t exist in the first place. If you’re following someone who you realise is making you feel bad about your self-image, either unfollow them or take a short break from social media.
Instead, follow people who look a bit more like you to get some inspo on fashion ideas, and clothing that looks really good on your shape and size. The more people you see every day who look like you, the better.
Be mindful of other people
While it is important to be less critical of yourself, it is also crucial to do the same with those around you. Everyone’s body is different and unique in its own way and their body image does not define who they are as a person. If you find yourself or your friend making fun of or judging another person’s body, flag it and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Body positivity is as much about embracing and accepting everyone else’s bodies as it is about your own.
What are celebrities doing about body positivity?
Billie Eilish is one of many celebrities who constantly face backlash and criticism about her body. She is best known for her signature baggy clothes, using her fashion choices to protect herself from body shamers.
In early October, the 18-year-old singer wore a tank top and shorts out in Los Angeles and body shamers spared no minute getting onto social media to troll her.
One man tweeted: “In 10 months Billie Eilish has developed a mid-30’s wine mom body.”
Following the flood of body shaming, Billie Eilish shared a video by Chizi Duru about the importance of normalising bodies. Duru said: “Y’all gotta start normalising bodies, okay? Not everybody has a wagon behind them, okay? Guts are normal – they’re normal. Boobs sag, especially after breastfeeding. Instagram, isn’t real.”
In September, Lizzo told Vogue that she wants to redefine how we view body positivity. She believes that the movement is not properly benefitting those who need to hear that their body is beautiful the most.
“What I don’t like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefitting from it,” she said, “Girls with back fat, girls with bellies that hang, girls with thighs that aren’t separated, that overlap. Girls with stretch marks.”
Lizzo does not want to exclude anyone from the body positive movement but believes that we should continue with the movement and start to “make people uncomfortable again, so that we can continue to change.”
At the end of a show at the Red Room in Sydney, Australia Lizzo said: “I’m all about the body positivity and self-love because I believe that we can save the world if we first save ourselves.”
In order to achieve body positivity, you should step away from negative thoughts you have and try your very best to love yourself. Motivate yourself with how you want to feel, not by how you want to look and surround yourself with positivity, and social accounts that make you feel good. In a few years you’ll look back and realise just how beautiful you really were as a teen and you’ll feel bad for not realising it at the time. Trust us!
Words: Emily Clarke