Body positivity is simply feeling good about your own body. Think of it as physical self confidence in your birthday suit. It’s about loving the skin you’re in, warts and all. Having the confidence and self love necessary to accept yourself for who you are.
A Power For Good
Many of our personal insecurities come from our own judgement of ourselves when we fall foul to comparing ourselves to “social norms” and, especially, curated images in the media. We have all seen the airbrushing and stretching that is applied to magazine covers. At all ages, from the school playground to the professional workplace, a poorly chosen comment or just plain bullying can plant a nasty seed that grows into a lifelong insecurity. The modern body positivity movement is a powerful seed for change in its own right. We can often feel like we are the only one who feels the way we do; like everyone else has their shit together and we are alone. In talking about our vulnerability, self judgement and insecurities we let each other see that no one is perfect and no one truly has their shit together. In being nice to ourselves and to each other we can make our world a more accepting place.
Body Positivity Is For Everyone
I’ve been heartbroken to see and read accounts of individuals being slammed when talking about body positivity because someone else thinks they don’t have the right. It doesn’t matter if you are one size or another, a boy or a girl, have a skin condition or a scar, everybody has a right to love themselves. No one person or self appointed group has the monopoly on #BodyPositivity. Growing up, I was a healthy, active child who thrived in sports and had a broad group of friends in and out of school. But, there were things that I hated about myself. Things that made me want to cover up parts of my body so much that they dictated the clothes I wore and even the way I cut my hair. Some things I could not cover up and I thought about “corrective” surgery for years. I work in the health and fitness industry where there is huge pressure to look a certain way. I have felt too small in gyms and too big at half marathons. Sometimes it feels like you can’t win. What I’m getting at is, we all have things we like and dislike about our bodies and we all have the right to love ourselves for who we are.
Take Comfort And Give A Little Too
Next time you are clothes shopping or at the gym, take a look around and just know that each and every person in the room has something that they dislike about their body. Even your celebrity fashion influence dresses to show off their best bits and camouflage the other bits. The famous body builder or your Men’s/Women’s Health cover model is sucking in and tensing like crazy. Do you really think that their muscles are that tense 24/7?
We are all born imperfect in our own perfect way. Not a single human being has ever been born with perfect symmetry, facial or otherwise. Can you imagine what the world would look like if we all looked the same? For a start, no one would fancy anyone, so the human race would die out. It is our differences that make us attractive and fascinating to one another. We may not be ready to tell the world about our wobbly bits, our scars or our birthmarks, but, learning to judge ourselves and others less harshly will go a long way to helping us all feel more confident.
Your Body Positivity And Mine
Body positivity is for the the skinny kid with the knobby knees as much as it is for the obese adult with the spare tyre. It’s for the one that’s taller than everyone else and the one who’s the shortest. For the grey hair, red hair, frizzy hair and straight. It’s for the post op. scars and the stretch marks. The weight loss skin, the braces in the teeth, the absent limb, webbed toe and the extra thumb. My insecurities are amongst this list and I’m working on loving the things about me that I once hated.
True body positivity for everyone requires personal and cultural change. I see the current movement as a power for good, let’s just make sure that we remember we all deserve to feel happy in our own skin. Do something small each day to move towards accepting yourself and help others to do the same.