Almost every time I interact with people (women in particular), the topic often veers towards body shape and body weight and the insecurities around it. A person’s entire self-worth is often attached to ‘how one appears’ while pushing aside the awareness of ‘how one feels’. Blame the media? Ah, well! We have highly impressionable minds so I wouldn’t deny that entirely! Embracing body positivity is more than just raising awareness through social media campaigns that create a buzz only to be forgotten later. If we delve deeper, a conscious awareness can bring a shift in our perspective towards self.
What is Body Positivity?
As per definition by Wikipedia:
Body positivity is a social movement focused on the acceptance of all bodies, regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical abilities, while challenging present-day beauty standards as an undesirable social construct.
Not judging a book by its cover is known to all. But, we do live in times when appearances can be a point (in some circumstances) for judgment. So, what are we here for? As I write this, I hope many of you, as readers, embrace body positivity to develop a healthy and loving relationship with your body.
Where does the negativity stem from?
A lot of the unhealthy thoughts or unhelpful thoughts you may have around your body are often related to something you hear when you’re growing up. It could be as simple as –
“You’re too fat/thin!”
“You’re not going to look good in that outfit!”
“You’re never going to look better than…”
“Do you even eat?/You eat a lot!”
Many of these statements are primarily from people we know or those who belong to the circle of close friends and family. Some of them could have well-meaning intentions. Though, not all. Appropriate communication and boundaries are a topic that needs to be explored here but I’ll leave that for another blog.
So, what happens when you believe all the negative statements around you? Well, you make it come true simply by creating a hateful relationship with yourself. I’ve noticed so many people are not even aware of the relationship they have with themselves. A simple practice of bringing a pause to one’s thoughts or a meditation session to connect with one’s inner awareness is rarely followed as a daily regime. When mental health is impacted, it reflects in the outer world. Simply put, loving yourself is more than just splurging on yourself. Developing a healthy and loving relationship with your body is a lot of work. Are you willing to put in that effort? If so, be welcoming to new thoughts, new habits, and wonderful results. Because your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll have.
5 Ways to Develop a Healthy and Loving Relationship with Your Body
- Stop Judging and Criticizing
The first step is to look inward. What is it that you can do to develop a healthy and loving relationship with your body? Always avoid being judgmental or overtly critical towards yourself. In my childhood, I encountered highly critical people around me but I have remained unfazed about their ‘perception of me’. It’s not easy to stop the internal chatter but once you master your thoughts, you will radiate greater love and beautiful vibes to yourself and the world around you. Being highly judgmental and critical towards yourself is often connected to the people you grew up with or the people you surround yourself with. Once you draw a boundary between what people think about you and what you need to think about you – the unhealthy relationship ends. So, start praising yourself right now. Look into the mirror and say those wonderful things to yourself.
2. Habit Formation
It’s all about your daily habits! Well, we are accustomed to completing many duties as a part of our daily routine. Even then, prioritizing how you speak to yourself or what habits you develop with yourself was somehow never a subject that was ever tackled in an appropriate way. Habits that support you to be your happiest version are essential for your emotional well-being.
Habits are dependent entirely upon your goals and how well you know yourself to achieve them. It could look like –
Learning a new activity
Spending time to plan your weekly meals
Engaging in a suitable workout
Meditation, activities for spiritual growth
Reading books that uplift your soul
Our subconscious mind can tell us many stories. But, our habits determine the outcome. You can choose to ignore the mindless talk and feed your mind with loving thoughts about yourself. Of course, it’s essential to forgive yourself first for your past and release unhelpful beliefs. (I’d probably write a separate post on that. 🙂 )
Loving yourself and developing a healthy relationship with yourself requires work. Make that a habit and you are bound to make the right decisions towards this form of self-love.
3. Bring in Calm
Quietness is underrated. Don’t get me too wrong as I do love the occasional loud parties and get-togethers. However, staying silent and tuning out from the noise is essential to bring in more calm. This calm keeps you deeply connected with yourself. You remain unfazed by the media images and articles that ask you to be a particular size or those that glorify certain body types. No two people are the same. You are unique and so is your body. A stable mind reflects a healthy body that does not need validation. A calm state can be achieved with regular meditation practice, listening to thought-provoking podcasts, and doing the inner work.
4. Disconnect with what doesn’t work
A lot of things can drain our energy. This means we harbor negative feelings towards ourselves and the world. Self-awareness and building up on Emotional Intelligence support you to retain focus on what matters, and what doesn’t need your attention. Now, this is a tough one as I struggled with it initially. I had to set firm boundaries with people to ensure I didn’t get drained. When we continue to allow our energy to flow in areas that do not support us, we invariably create an unhealthy imbalance in the body. Disconnect from the toxic people in your life, and unfollow social media accounts that don’t generate good vibes. A healthy and loving relationship with the body includes the foundation of a healthy mind. So, figure out what works and doesn’t work for you and make that change today.
5. Create your Own Style
While your internal world may largely dictate how you feel about yourself, paying close attention to how you present yourself to the world can definitely boost your morale. Decide a budget, and dress up to look good with silhouettes that flatter your body type. It can go a long way to developing a healthy and loving relationship with your body. It’s about choosing what works for you rather than feeling miserable in the latest trend that does not enhance your personality. As I have mentioned earlier, we live in times where presentation is often the key to making lasting first impressions. Be selective, invest in quality, and watch how you feel. But, don’t let it dictate everything you feel about yourself.
Healing your relationship with yourself takes time. It also works to talk to a therapist if you have been struggling with image issues. Remember, your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll have so invest wisely!
Still unsure about developing a healthy relationship with yourself? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you seek additional support.