What Being Body Positive Means to Me

    Do you ever examine your body in the mirror and push and pull different body parts to try to fix your “imperfections?” I do it too. Maybe you suck in your stomach or hatefully grab at your waist because it doesn’t meet your standards of beauty that were perhaps set in place by societal ideologies. Or maybe you become invested in trying to fix things that other people probably will never notice, and spend a lot of money on products that society makes you feel like you need. Also, maybe society pressures you to alter things you never considered a problem until a specific product was brought to your attention.

    I think everyone can say that they have felt some sort of discontentment with their body at least one, if not at multiple, points in their life. This is why I find body positivity to be an extremely important topic to discuss with people of all genders, ages, shapes, and sizes, because one thing we all have in common is that we have a body.

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    So, what does body positivity mean? In my opinion, it means loving and respecting your body at every point in your life, while simultaneously empathizing and respecting other people’s bodies and the journey they are on. At the same time, body positivity relates to actually treating your body in a positive way. Your body is constantly working every second of the day to keep you alive and well, so the least you can do is reciprocate the compassion towards your body. As a spiritual being, I feel that we are all a vessel composed of universal energy (aka stardust) created by the divine, and our bodies exist in accordance with our souls to allow us to experience life in human form. But we must be loving and tender towards our bodies, so our life on earth is as enjoyable and vivacious as possible. And we must remember that just because we are alive does not mean we are living. Love your body the way it loves you.

    Most people know that a healthy dietary lifestyle and adequate sleep are necessary for proper bodily function and longevity. It is also important to engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining psychological hygiene as well as spiritual/religious practices if this applies to you. These things are a tremendous part of body positivity, because it is the balance of necessary aspects required to keep us alive and and live rather than just existing.

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    Another aspect of body positivity is to individualize ourselves and stop comparing everyone to the media. Social media outlets specifically have the capacity to cause individuals to feel horrible about themselves post exposure of browsing the web. Some feel it's necessary to work tirelessly to try to replicate these people. Unfortunately, extremists may engage in cosmetic plastic surgery to alter something they have been led to believe is unattractive. For example, their nose, breasts, lips, etc. People sometimes aim to mirror celebrities, athletes, people with large followings, etc. to look more like them in an attempt to feel more attractive. An example of this would be someone desperately trying to be identical to an Instagram model with a “perfectly” toned and tanned body, with curves in all the right areas, big busted...you get the idea. This is detrimental to those who identify as female. As women have been historically sexualized in different forms including the media, this is unfortunately still a common theme that is normalized in modern day commercials/ads, etc. This may subconsciously affect women to want to have more sex appeal, or meet a certain beauty standard of having large breasts, a plump buttox, and full lips. But it is essential to remember that we our beautiful individuals no matter the size or plumpness of our features, and we must celebrate the uniqueness and beauty of one another.

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    Body positivity is about accepting our bodies just the way they are, because all bodies are beautiful in their own way. Stretch marks represent our bodies' growth, and in some cases form due to the carrying of a new life into the physical world. There are products on the market trying to get rid of stretch marks, describing them as something unattractive. Also, body hair on the armpits, legs, or genitals of females is something some consider taboo, and in turn put pressure on women to shave, wax, or even engage in laser hair removal to keep these areas “clean.” In reality, every single individual has the right to treat their body however they wish. That ranges from body hair, to body shape, to piercings or tattoos, fashion, and more. It is a shame that society is extremely judgmental of one another, typically if one should not meet societal norms in some way.

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    It’s important to practice being more aware of what body positivity is, and try to implement it on a day to day basis. It may be easier than you think. Start by keeping your main focus on love, and you will easily be a body positive expert in no time.

Some ways to practice body positivity:

Step #1:

    Stop critiquing your body in the mirror. This is your journey and you are doing the best you can. No one has any right to judge you for looking a certain way. Just make sure you are healthy, and treating your body right. Try to lessen your concern with IG models or celebs, but at the same time don't lose motivation to improve your body every single day. Try to not put pressure on yourself. Be positive about your body! It's yours and it is so beautiful. There is only one of you in the entire world and there is so much you have to offer. So own your body, and keep getting stronger and healthier every day. If you want to have hairy armpits as a female, so be it! Personally, I shave my legs and pits less often during the winter time because guess what - I can!! Let's squash those traditional gender norms together.

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Step #2:

    Take care of your body every. single. day. You have the power to live a healthy, lively life. Make choices that honor your body on a regular basis. Your body is your temple - honor it indefinitely. Plus, it's super easy to feel good about your body when you're doing the best you can to take care of it. Take time for self care, because you can only perform your best at work and life if you are well rested, taken care of, and feeling good.

Step #3:

    Be more mindful of others’ journeys and stop judging. We may defaultly view ourselves as non-judgmental but in reality, we unconsciously and consciously make judgments about others the second we meet them - possibly based upon their body. It's almost like a reflex. But don't be fooled, it is SO possible to retrain your brain to think differently. So the next time you catch yourself judging, find compassion and remember that we are all unique and on our own journeys and that we have no right to judge another individual based on their body.

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    Overall, I think I've touched on a lot of things that you potentially did not previously associate with being body positive. But, as always I hope that I've given you some food for thought and inspired you to be the best version of yourself. Go you!

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Xo, Susie