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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.

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 April 19, 2021

11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

11 Positive Thoughts for Your Everyday Motivation

The power of positive thoughts cannot be denied, even though sometimes it can seem a little like a cliché when you hear people talking about it. Well, I’m here to tell you that cliché or not, the mental and physical benefits of thinking positively are a proven way to give you more confidence, improve your self-esteem, give you motivation, and generally put you in a better mood. Thinking of at least one positive thought every day can have significant benefits for you.

Some scientific studies even suggest that thinking positively can reduce the likelihood of health conditions, like depression, hypertension, and a variety of other stress-related disorders.

This sounds amazing, but what does it really mean to think positively?

Positive thinking isn’t about finding your inner smile. Many people rarely have what they would consider joyous inner thoughts but that doesn’t mean they can’t be content with themselves and their life.

Positive thinking (thinking of positive thoughts every day) is more about finding the positive imagery in your life and viewing things through more optimistic eyes, especially if you’ve got yourself into a rut of seeing things negatively.

The biggest problem with positive thoughts is that they wear off quickly and things like rejection, negative experiences, setbacks, and heartbreak can soon put you into a downward spiral that gets you back into that negative funk you hate.

And, let’s be honest, being in a negative funk is a sure-fire way to strip your motivation and leave you unable to perform at the levels you know you can. If you’re looking for an instant way to boost your motivation, join the free Fast-Track Class – Activate Your Motivation. It’s a free intensive session that can help you identify your inner drive and build a sustinable motivation engine. You can sign up for the free session here.

So, how do you keep yourself positive in a world that seems hell-bent on bringing you down? Well, with the right routine of positive thoughts you can ensure that you wake up every day feeling motivated and looking forward to everything life has to throw at you.

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Here are some tips so you can start thinking of positive thoughts every day.

1. Be Thankful You Woke up This Morning

Not to start on a morbid note, but you woke up this morning. Some people didn’t. Don’t think of it is as a depressing morality tale, just use it to remember that you’ve won the greatest gift life has to offer – you’re alive.

It’s so easy to dwell on the negative aspects of our lives, but we always seem to miss the most obvious positive thing we have – life itself. Take a deep breath, look outside your window, and marvel at the world around you.

2. You Don’t Have to Listen to Haters

There’s no doubt that some people are really mean-spirited individuals who will love to ruin your day. Well, I’m here to tell you they can’t. Not if you don’t let them.

Ignore the haters. Dismiss their bile for what it is – vicious comments of unfulfilled people. Remind yourself that you are above them and nothing they say will bring you down.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

I know, I know. It’s easy to say, “Don’t compare yourself with anybody else.” But at the end of the day, we all have envious thoughts when we see somebody we perceive to be more successful than we are.

But think about it, are they really better than you and even if they are, does it even matter? By spending time being jealous you are wasting time on negative thoughts that could be spent pursuing something that makes you happy.

4. You Must Take a Chance

It’s easy to shy away from something that is high risk and high reward out of fear of being labeled a loser.

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Have you ever noticed that doing so actually makes you feel worse than if you’d just taken the risk in the first place? We know that rejection feels bad and failure can weigh heavily, but regret is a far stronger emotion over time.

Don’t hesitate if you have the chance. Go for it and tell yourself that if you fail, it’s no big deal. At least you tried.

Perhaps the perfect example of this approach is David Goggins. We all have a lot to learn from the inspirational David Goggins story and his priceless sayings.[1]

Goggins, considered by many to be ‘the toughest man alive’, is a retired Navy SEAL and the only person ever to complete SEAL training, the U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. He’s also one of the world’s top endurance athletes and held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups, completing 4,030 in 17 hours.

He sounds like a ‘naturally gifted badass person’ right? But in his book, he reveals that he was actually ‘The weakest man in the world’, in his own words.

Overcoming obesity, poverty, racism, learning disabilities, abusive violent father, he came through the other side, inspiring people to embrace suffering and struggle, to find their greatness and inner peace. He took the slim chances he had and changed his life completely.

5. Accept That Things End

Even the best things in life end eventually, so don’t worry about them. Don’t fret about how the good times are about to stop, just enjoy them while they last. And when they do finally end, be happy in the knowledge that something else just as good will come along.

6. Don’t Judge Others

This ties in with point number 2 above – you won’t like it if others judge you so don’t judge them. We know it can be difficult to refrain from labeling other people, but doing so is a sure-fire way to start descending into a negative thought spiral.

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We all live in a world where passing judgment is tolerated, but not only is accepting people a great way to make others feel better, it’s also a fantastic way to foster positive thoughts within ourselves.

7. Don’t do Things for Others That Make You Unhappy

We all want to make other people happy, right? But what if the things that other people want us to do makes us unhappy?

If you’re doing something just for the satisfaction of others, don’t. Stop it right now. Your happiness and your time should never be sacrificed for the satisfaction of someone else. You won’t be able to think of positive thoughts every day if you are unhappy in the first place.

8. Don’t Like Your Job? Then Quit.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but nothing is more certain to drain your happiness levels quicker than a job that you hate. If you spend your evenings and days off dreading returning to the office, then start to do something about it.

We’re not talking about jeopardizing your livelihood by quitting (although the dramatic heading for this point certainly suggests so). What we mean is start to make plans and formulize an exit strategy. Nothing promotes positive thoughts more than a plan that removes something negative from your life.

Start simple by saving up funds to make the change and circulating your CV. The first step may seem difficult, but the sense of relief it gives will improve your thought patterns immeasurably.

It might be scary to start over at someplace new and going through a screening process that might be tedious, but once you understand that selling yourself can be easier than you think, you are halfway through.[2]

9. Take Control of Your Mornings

How you begin the day will set the tone for how the rest of it will go. Getting up in a panicked state is a very efficient way to kick start a negative emotional spiral. Get up bright and early, and give yourself time to prepare for the day.

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Though some of the mind-boggling thoughts you are having when waking up can be positive for you and even mean more than you imagine, it’s better to set up a fixed positive mental routine.

Think about the positive aspects of your life and tell yourself things like, “Today is going to be a good day” or “I’ll be amazing today.” Yeah, I know this sounds cheesy, but positive words instill positive thoughts.

10. Focus on the Good Things in Your Life No Matter How Small

You’re going to hit obstacles during the day. Things don’t generally run perfectly all the time. The trick is that when you encounter a challenge, don’t dwell on it and choose to focus on the positives you can find no matter how small they may seem.

If you get stuck in a traffic jam, don’t fret about how it is slowing you down. Take positivity in the fact that you have extra time to listen to the radio station you have been enjoying. If you head to your local store and it’s out of the ingredients you need for your dinner party, buy something else and create a different food masterpiece.

Focussing on good things is a great way to gain positive momentum in your life. The huge power of momentum is that even a series of very small things can accumulate to massive results – with the aid of momentum.

11. Look at the Funny Side

Even dark situations can have a humorous side if you look at them the right way. When in a dark or trying situation, remind yourself that what is happening to you will probably make a great story in the future and may even be passed on as a joke. Look for the funny side and laugh.

Final Thoughts

We all know that positive thoughts can be incredibly motivational but in modern life, it can be difficult to stay uplifted when the world around you seems determined to bring you down. By following some of the tips in our guide above, you could harness the power of positive thinking and find yourself starting every day motivated. So, start thinking of positive thoughts every day!

More Tips to Start Thinking of Positive Thoughts Every Day

Featured photo credit: Jacob Townsend via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Vision, Belief, Change: Best David Goggins Quotes
[2] Vision, Belief, Change: Is Selling Yourself Easier Than You Thought?

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