Body Positivity

Monday, 17 August 2015

"In my body is a good place to be because functionally speaking, I know at the end of the day, it's the only home I've had and the only home I ever will have so no matter how much I argue with it, at the end of the day I have to treat it like my home". - Meredith Graves

This video popped up on my Tumblr one day. The way I scroll past things I tend to not watch videos but for some reason I clicked on this one. It was part of a series that I don't really know much about called The Whats Underneath Project. Meredith Graves is part of a band called Perfect Pussy, a band I had never heard of. In the video she discusses her relationship with her body all while taking off various items of clothing. According to the video the project is to "honor how style is not the clothes you wear". Rather it is what is underneath.

This video struck a chord in me. I watched it probably over a year ago and yet it's stayed with me, especially the quote above. Because it so irrevocably true. Our body is the one constant we have through life. It might change shape and size and possibly lose parts but it is still always there. It is our only permanent home.

Body positivity is hard. We live in a world whose only goal seems to be to tear people down. There have been recent moves to call out body-shaming in the media, such as the "beach body ready" scandal. These however seem to be somewhat isolated incidents and still everyday women are told by the media that they should be ashamed of their imperfections, their cellulite, their stretch marks, saggy skin, wrinkles, you name it.

I know that my body by today's standards is an acceptable one. I'm thin, I'm of an average height. I'm young. I do lack a certain amount of curves, but I know that I have an ideal body shape. Still I hated my body, especially my legs. Throughout most of my teenage years, I never wore dresses or skirts. It was only when I got to university that I started wearing them. A lot of this I think came from the fact that going to university forced me out of my comfort zone. When I found out that things were actually going well, it gave me more confidence and therefore I started branching out in new ways. This confidence helped me to stop caring about what people thought of the way that I looked and I started dressing how I wanted. I still have days where I don't like certain things about myself but for the most part, I'm happy that my body is my home. 

I thought I'd share some tips that will hopefully help you to be more positive about your body.

1. Put good things into your body

This tip is not about weight. I want to emphasize this. In no way is this about dieting or gaining weight. This is about being good to your body and getting the best out of it. When we feel negative about ourselves, we tend to put less effort into things including making food. What this means is you'll likely eat more unhealthy snack foods, takeaways, chocolate ect. Obviously these things feel good, once in a while. However, you can get into a rhythm where this is all you're eating, and it will inevitably make you feel rubbish about yourself. Try and break this cycle be putting more fruit and veg into your body. Drink more water. Eat when you're hungry rather than eating just because. This will make you feel less sluggish, and have more energy. Being good to your body will hopefully help you to feel more positive about it.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others 

This tends to be a good tip generally for life because comparing yourself to others does nothing but make you feel bad. It's the same feeling that a lot of people get with Facebook when you supposedly see how well someone's life is going in comparison to your own. Specifically however, to make you feel better about your body, it is a good idea to stop comparing your body to other peoples. Easier said than done I know. But no celebrity has the ideal body shape as much as media might tell us. It just doesn't exist. It's fine to admire someone's body and even aspire to it (although you should examine why you want to, which is discussed in the next tip). Comparing yourself to others however, only leads to putting yourself down. 

3. Examine negative thoughts and feelings

A lot of the time we have ingrained opinions that have developed through the way society portrays certain topics. One topic that can often be internalized is the idea of fat=bad, skinny=good. Because of what the media throws in our face, we tend to believe there is only one way to be beautiful. Which, if you'll excuse the swears, is bullshit. If you find yourself being negative about yourself, stop and figure out why it is you're thinking like that. So if you believe that your thighs are too big, stop and wonder where this is coming from. More thank likely you'll find that such thoughts are there simply because of societal views. If it is genuinely something you're unhappy with, go ahead and change it because that is a part of body confidence. Usually however you'll find that these thoughts only exist because of what you've been made to believe by other people.

4. Pamper yourself

When you're negative about you're body, you neglect it. It's something that is not worth caring about. This tip is a kind of a fake-it-till-you-make-it tactic. So even if you don't yet feel positive about your body, pretend like you do. Set aside an evening a week where you do nothing but take care of your body. Have a long bath, moisturize all over, get some face masks. Do all that cheesy girls-night-in kind of thing. Even if it feel silly at first, it'll soon make you start caring for your body and being more confident about it.

Thanks for reading!

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