From the title, this looks like just another body activist post, I get that. This topic weighs heavy on my heart because I have neglected how amazing the human body is and how even more amazing mine is. We are all unique obviously: different shapes, different colors, the list goes on. But it’s time we start accepting compliments with, “Thank you, that means a lot” instead of, “No, I look awful. You should have seen how long it took me to pull it together today.” Why do we have to counter a compliment with a negative comment? I know when I do it I am just trying to let the other person know that I am NOT the way they perceive me; I don’t wake up with straight hair and a perfect skin. But that’s not what a compliment is meant to do, this kind hearted person is complimenting the beauty you hold, because they are appreciating the work of art you as a human being are. It’s time for you to see what they see. And this is how:
Step 1: The Mirror
Make your room and bathroom a body positive space by preempting what you think you’ll see in the mirror, my walk to any mirror starts with me telling myself, “I am beautiful, I am confident, I am me!” every time. This makes finally looking in the mirror a positive thing, and NOT something I dread. I had to start doing this because every time I’d look in the mirror as a teenage girl I would cry. I even cried before prom because after all the makeup and the pretty dress, I still couldn’t stand the girl in the mirror. Words of affirmation to myself was something that helped build my confidence and the way I saw myself.
Step 2: Your Words
I’m huge on making my space positive, ask any friends that have ever been in my room. The moment I hear, “Ugh I look awful” or something along those lines, I immediately say, “This is a body positive space, I don’t want to hear that in here,” etc. No matter how I’m feeling, I will never speak negative words to my body out loud. People don’t see that words are powerful and can actually inhibit the growth of living beings. Notice I said out loud; sometimes it’s hard to control the thoughts in my head. The key is to catch yourself and to change those thoughts into something affirming! It’s amazing what your mind can make you see.
Step 3: You Time
Me time is HUGE! Show yourself some love, do a clay mask, soak yourself in a bath with a yummy bath bomb because girl, you deserve it! I make a playlist for myself of songs that I am connecting to in my life right now; I play it while I drive, while I take my bath, and even while I write. Having songs that let me ugly cry is important; yes, I’m saying crying is good! Scream if you have to! Letting frustration build up is a big reason why people become unhappy and bitter. You don’t have time for that, girl, let it out!
Step 4: The Diet
Having a nutritious diet is one of the key factors to loving your body; this is YOUR body, love it and take care of it! Having a good relationship with food is so important. If you restrict yourself to things that are "bad," it will always be the thing you cannot have making you want it even more (at least for me). Instead, view certain foods as not beneficial...if you want to nurture your body, think of how grateful it will be when you feed it something beneficial! A lot of people think that working out and eating good is supposed to be because you hate your body and want to change it. This is so sad to me, because I’ve been there — I’ve reached my goal weight time and time again but always with the wrong intentions. And that’s why my health and weight would fluctuate. This time around my body deserves the royal treatment!
Step 5: Your Actions
No more grabbing your tummy and shaking it while wishing it would just fall off. Trust me, there have been many times I would stand in front of my mirror, suck in, and flatten my stomach to see what I would look like “skinny.” There was a lot of thigh grabbing and pushing back to see what a thigh gap would look like, and all it did was make me miserable. SO, instead of negatively grabbing a pushing your body…flirt with yourself in the mirror! C’mon we all do it; put on some Beyoncé and strut your stuff…if you’re up for it, do it naked! Go on, girl!
Of course, these are things that work for me and not EVERYONE, but as a girl who has struggled literally my entire life, I can tell you that no one on this Earth will love you the way you can love yourself. Being body positive is just a way to do that. I’ve written before that being negative towards yourself can lead to so much mental and physical hurt. It’s time to make this upcoming generation along with ALL other generations proud to love their bodies. Stop using skinny, fat, plus-size — and start using healthy, strong, smart, beautiful. If I can give parents any advice it would be that. Being a girl in this world is hard enough; use words that are uplifting and that do not fall into the normal social constructs of what it means to have a “perfect” body.