Body positivity is slowly (but surely) becoming normalised in today’s society. To love your body is empowering, reviving, and to be quite frankly honest: difficult.
But before I dive into this, I would like to state that I am not an influencer. I am not a professional at giving advice on such a huge topic, yet I am attempting to bring a change in the mindset of others, especially teenagers and young adults.
As an 18-year-old, I have grown up in a decade where the media has become a norm in day to day lives. From magazines to Instagram, all sources of the media can have such beneficial impacts on the public by informing us with news, resources and producing unavailing gossip that we tend to read. However, as everyone knows, the media can be horrific. Systematic issues are engraved into the media at one point or another. Even though these sometimes are colossal issues that need to be tackled immensely, other problems, such as body-shaming, also needs to be stopped. Nevertheless, the media is not the only source of body shaming as it can come from family and peers. The media, however, contributes massively as to why the public may have these certain body standards.
We live in a world where technology is crazy and wonderful at times. Within the context of body shaming, it is harmful and detrimental. With apps and other services, people in the media can significantly change how they look with the click of a button. From making themselves look slimmer to smoothing their skin, these resources create quite the question: why do people do it? Is it old-school societal norms that people have conformed to for such a long time that has made it become normal? Is it normal to focus on our looks more than our personality?
Whatever the answer may be, I am here to simply talk about why you, the reader, should learn to love your body.
Your body is not just about your weight. It is about scars, cellulite, body hair, acne, stretch marks, dimples and so much more. We are all human. We are all unique, yet we have some of these things in common. We are made to feel like these parts of our bodies are not normal. We are made to feel like our weight is the only thing that proves our worth. We are made to conform to old-school societal norms. This should NEVER be the case.
You are beautiful!
Now, you are probably thinking “you can’t even see me” but just by you reading that sentence in your head has proven to me that you can learn to believe that you are beautiful too. Let me explain!
Positive self-talk is such an impactful way to learn to love your body. Telling yourself internally, or externally, that your body is beautiful will slowly change your view towards your body. Start with something small, list three things that you may be insecure about on your body. It can be anything that you may not be fond of. Some common examples may be cellulite, freckles, or hip dips. Go to a mirror or a reflection of some sort. Look at yourself and tell yourself that those things, that you have listed, are beautiful and that you love them. I know this sounds silly, but every day I use positive self-talk and it makes a significant impact on my mood. It works for thousands of people. Try and tell yourself daily that you love these things, and you will slowly start to love them.
Another gentle way that you can encourage yourself to love your body is by writing small notes of encouragement onto post-it notes. These statements are meant to be relatively small, around three words, so they can stick in your mind throughout the day. “I am amazing.” “I am capable.” “I will get through this.” These affirmations may not relate to your body, but they do contribute towards self-love as a whole. Stick these notes onto your desk, on your mirror, in a pencil case, on your water bottle, or even in your bag. As long as you are reminded of the affirmations throughout the day, where you place the notes do not matter.
A further way in which you can create light reminders that your body is normal is by filling your online social media feed with normal bodies. There are so many people out there who are making such a fulfilling impact on crushing the beauty standards of this day and age. I am guilty of following celebrities, influencers, and even peers on social media platforms who all edit their bodies and faces. We all know that they probably do not look like that. So why continue looking at their edited and somewhat fake pictures? * By filling your feed with people who are open and comfortable with sharing their normal bodies, it will subconsciously remind you every time you go onto social media that you are normal.
Despite many people having the conception that only women get hatred in the media about their bodies due to a stereotyped belief in the past that women’s bodies are to be perfect and flattering purely for others, men face body shaming too. If you look towards Page Six for example (a popular magazine in the US), men are consistently body shamed for being overweight and under-weight. Men do not have to change their bodies for anyone either. As long as they are happy within themselves, that is all that matters.
Body positivity and self-love are topics that I am extremely passionate about (if you could not already tell). Through reading magazines, adverts, news headlines, and quite importantly, social media, I have come to realise that so many perceptions of women’s bodies are wrong. I wanted to make a slight change within the society and area that I live in by creating an Instagram page dedicated to talking about self-love, self-care, and mental health. I wanted to try and gain more exposure on issues and topics that we do not exactly get taught in education and, maybe, not even at home. I openly post pictures of myself with stomach rolls, slightly bad skin, and with body hair. I do not want to focus on myself too much as I want you all to be able to relate so feel free to follow my Instagram to see some more of what I talk about: @mhariannb (EVERYONE is welcome)!
To conclude this, I hope you find it within yourself to learn to love your body. It will not work overnight. It may not work for months. It is not a straightforward process, and we all encounter bad days. One day you will just wake up and love who you are, and I truly hope that you work through the tough days to get there.
No matter who you are, you should love your body and yourself.
Your body deserves to be loved. You are worthy of loving your body.
Once we, as a society, come to terms with the fact that our bodies are amazing for just simply getting us through each day and for keeping us alive, we can then make a standard that all bodies are unique and NORMAL!
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this! Now go give some love to your body!
*I wanted to add this little disclaimer to say that I totally understand that people may feel insecure about themselves and want to change how they look to make themselves feel better. As sad as this is, not everyone will feel comfortable to simply be themselves and that is okay. We are working towards a society where we will not photoshop pictures in the media. We are working on loving ourselves and that is what matters most!