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Published on December 3, 2020

3 Reasons Why Body Positivity Is Important

3 Reasons Why Body Positivity Is Important

How body positive are you? Yes, we should all love our bodies unconditionally—just as they are. However, what happens when we don’t? What do we do and how does that affect us?

Unfortunately, we live in a society that encourages us to strive for perfection. This has only created unrealistic expectations about how we should look and feel.

Let’s face it, people are treated differently based on the type of body that they have. Anybody who doesn’t ascribe to ideal body weight, as defined by society, experiences shame, self-sabotage, and low self-worth.

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. These statistics prove that the battle of body positivity has a long way to go.[1]

What Is Body Positivity?

Body positivity is the idea that people should feel happy with and proud of their bodies, whatever shape or size it is. In 1996, the term “body positive” was first coined when a psychotherapist and a patient who was undergoing treatment for eating disorders created a website known as thebodypositive.org.[2]

In the last few years, we have seen huge shifts happen in conversations with regards to body positivity. Big brands and companies are jumping on board and taking a stand against unachievable body standards. However, we still have a long way to go.

Body positivity is a mental and physical state of being that shifts the focus away from peoples’ physical looks and places emphasis on their personal strengths.

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What Is the Body Positivity Movement?

The body positivity movement was first created in the 1960s to empower women to embrace their physical bodies and rid themselves of the shame associated with obesity stereotypes. As a social movement, it strives to help people make sense of how social media and its messages affect the way we view our bodies.

By better understanding the effect that such influences have, the hope is that people can develop a healthier and more loving relationship with their bodies.

In the words of Caroline Caldwell,

“In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”

However, the body positivity movement has been criticized by some for its lack of inclusivity, suggesting that there is still a tendency to show predominantly “white” and traditionally “pretty women” or “good-looking men” who do not deviate that far from the accepted norm.[3] Therefore, this movement still has a long way to go before achieving its goals.

3 Reasons Why Body Positivity Is Important

Let’s face it—we’ve all looked in the mirror at some point in our lives and judged a specific area of our body as not being good enough. However, when you start ruminating on your perceived flaws, you risk falling into the trap of body image distortion. A desire to be taller, shorter, or thinner can harm your mental well-being.

Wishing that you were someone whom you are not is the fastest way to create a life of pain and suffering. This is why there is nothing more important than loving the body that you were given.

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Let’s explore 3 reasons why body positivity is so important.

1. Fosters Radical Self-Love

We live in a body-obsessed culture that thrives on idealized notions of what a perfect body should look like. Not surprisingly, a lot of people are made to feel that their body is something they should be ashamed of. Instead of learning to love and accept themselves as they are, they go on a life-long mission to “fix” themselves.

Body acceptance is an act of radical self-love. It goes beyond what you see on the outside. You should never feel that you have to change something about yourself to fit in.

To fully accept yourself and your body means to honor and embrace all sides of who you are. It’s a daily practice, but once you start growing into yourself and accepting the skin that you’re in, others’ standards of what is beautiful will not phase you.

Your body and your choices are no one’s business. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. Stay in your lane, and continue being your amazing self. It’s enough.

2. Improves Mental Health

How you feel about your body affects your self-esteem, which, in turn, impacts your mental health. The challenge with negative thinking is that once you start ruminating about one area of your life, it becomes a lot easier to ruminate about other areas of your life as well.

A study found that people with weight preoccupations or body dysmorphic disorder display higher levels of symptoms for depression and anxiety and are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.[4]

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The next time that you find yourself having unkind thoughts about your body, check-in with your mental and emotional state. Ask yourself, “Am I feeling overwhelmed or anxious right now?” If so, what area of my life is causing me to feel this way and why?”

Mindfulness-based practices are a great way to connect to your body’s intelligence and tune into what you need to feel more grounded. Talk to your body in a loving way. Give it grace, love, and compassion.

In the words of Nayyirah Waheed,

“And I said to my body softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.”

Make it a daily practice to develop body positivity and maintain a healthy body image. In a world that is constantly trying to change you, make it your life’s mission to stay true to who you are. As Rachel Pate said, “your weight does not define your worth.”

3. Challenges Social Media Beauty Standards

When you scroll through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, it has become the norm to see a slew of perfectly crafted male and female bodies. These unrealistic images have become the standard by which we measure the ideal body.

Be mindful of the images you see online. What you see on social media is not always real. In fact, a lot of photographs are tuned and modified to make people look younger and skinnier. As a result, a lot of men and women end up paying for body modification surgeries to change their bodies in the hope that they will be accepted.

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Luckily, advocates of the body positivity movement have made strides to retaliate against the culture of body shaming. They are using social media as a platform to create change.

One increasing trend on social media is the posting of body positive content that aims to challenge narrow beauty ideals. Instead, they are promoting acceptance and appreciation of all bodies.[5]

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to actively challenge male and female body image stereotypes via social media. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have the potential to positively influence people in such a way that all people feel a sense of belonging. We have a long way to go still, but anything is possible.

Let’s pave the way so that the younger generation of boys and girls are encouraged to strive for more energy and vibrance instead of obsessing about diets, weight loss, and body perfection.

Final Thoughts

Nobody should ever have to apologize for their body type. Nobody should ever feel that they have to change something about themselves just to be accepted or fit in. You are perfect just the way you are. Own that truth, and don’t allow anyone to make you question your worth.

Body positivity has shed light on the truth that we are more than just our bodies. You are a whole person. You have thoughts, feelings, and actions that are a part of who you are. When you show your body love and acceptance, you give yourself space to focus on all of the other amazing parts of who you are.

The most important relationship that you will ever have in this lifetime is the one that you have with yourself. Celebrate your beautiful body. It is the only place that you have to live, so honor and take care of it.

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Featured photo credit: AllGo – An App For Plus Size People via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

“Attitude is Tattoo”

Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

Believe You Can Do It

Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Embrace Failure

Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

Start Making the Change

But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

Why is that?

Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

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So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

Write down What You Want to Change

Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

Tell a Friend and Talk About It

Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

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Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

Final Thoughts

You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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