Body positivity is one of those buzzwords that everybody seems to be referencing lately. Magazines that were teaching you how to drop 10 pounds in 10 days are now promoting loving your body as it is. Bloggers, speakers, Instagrammers , influencers are doling out tips and tricks for embracing yourself, imperfections and all.
Everybody suddenly wants to be seen as “real”, “raw”, “” flawed”, “human” instead of “perfect”.
But like any movement, it’s also hit an extreme point. People have started to be bullied for wanting to overhaul a previously unhealthy lifestyle.
Attempts at weight loss have been labelled as “not body positive” in social media.
People who are into fitness are accused of promoting an unrealistic body image.
Naturally skinny women are now being routinely pointed to as less attractive or “real” than curvier ones.
Why is this happening?
It’s because people are still focusing on the wrong thing: our worth in relation to our looks. Being plus-size or skinny, fully or partially able-bodied should have no bearing on how we are valued as human beings. And while that is at the core of the body positivity movement, I feel like the message has become distorted.
Which makes sense. Like any ideology, the principles are usually sound. But the way that society applies them is less than perfect. It’s hard to stay completely impartial, especially when it comes to something as personal as our own bodies, right?
So how can you practice body positivity in the way it was intended?
Look at your body with kindness and patience
By seeing it for all it can for you, not all the things it can’t.
Just the fact that you were able to wake up this morning, get out of bed, wash your face, get dressed and go to school, or work, or even for a walk in the park is only a dream for many. So instead of complaining that your arms are too skinny, or your legs too short, or your lips too wrinkled, think that they are there for you!
Because those arms hug your children.
Those legs take you on a stroll with your husband.
Those lips comfort and smile at a friend.
These wholesome experiences are possible on a daily basis thanks to your body, even if others are off limits. And you should not take them for granted.
Because here’s the thing:
The more we focus on the negatives, the less time and energy we have for the positives.
The more we grumble about what we wish our bodies could do for us, the less we appreciate what amazing machines they are.
Like any high-performing machine, your body needs to be well oiled to keep functioning correctly. And one of the best body positive actions you can take is give it the care and support it needs.
Educate yourself on proper nutrition and proper exercising, good quality sleep and emotional & mental health care. Offering yourself these things will improve the way you feel more than you can imagine!
Will they also make you look good?
Sure, most likely. But this is not what needs to be your main focus in order to gain a body positive outlook! If you focus on serving your body, listening to its cues and following them, you will lay the foundation for a positive approach towards it.
And in the end, as a personal style blogger, I would be remiss not to mention the importance of your style for your relationship with your body.
Many women have a poor body image which is exacerbated by wearing clothes that don’t highlight their best attributes. They struggle to fit any and all cuts and styles, to frustrating results.
It isn’t you!
It really isn’t you, or your body! It’s the clothes . Everybody has a certain set of cuts, prints, colours- a certain style that makes them look like a million bucks. And others that make them look like student debt. This is not something bad- and it certainly doesn’t mean you don’t love your body if you stop forcing it to look just as good in any and all item of clothing.
Instead, invest some time and effort into knowing your body, learning what works best for it. Are you smiling when you put a certain garment on? Great, analyze what you like about it! Is it the way the colour makes your eyes pop? The way the sleeve cut enhances your shoulders? The feminine, flirty hemline?
Based on these observations, you will be able to buy more clothes that you love, and will end up wearing again and again. And if an item is not making you feel great about yourself, if it’s not bringing a spark in your eyes- remove it! Donate it, sell it, gift it, repurpose it.
The choice is yours, just clear it from your closet, and make room for beautiful items that will make you feel like a rockstar!
Becoming more body positive is not impossible- although it’s not an easy process for everyone. And where you are dealing with body dysmorphia, with eating disorders or other such hurdles, you can’t overcome by yourself, I would always recommend you seek specialized help. Because it’s a pity not to enjoy the body you have, while you have it.
I strongly encourage you to apply the practices highlighted here. You will notice that even a small action, repeated on a daily basis, will make you feel better. Which in turn, can encourage you to be more grateful for and gracious about your body.
And just as important: remember to always be kind to others, and don’t judge them by their looks. You never know how much of an effort someone else has made to get where they are in their personal body positivity journey.
About the Guest Contributor
Silvia is a Romanian living in the ever exciting city of Amsterdam. Her blog came out of passion for inspiring women to express their inner world to the outside one through their personal style.
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