“Body Positivity” has been a buzzword over the past few years, but many people still aren’t quite sure what it means. Boiled down, it’s a form of physical self-love. For baby boomers and Generation X, accepting your natural self can feel completely foreign. Decades ago, we weren’t as forward-thinking as we are now when it comes to body image and embracing diversity. Women have been told to stay small and shrink themselves to make room for men, but body positivity is a way of throwing patriarchal expectations to the side and taking up as much space as possible.
Defining and Protecting You and Your Space
We don’t only mean taking up space physically, though that’s definitely part of the equation. Take up as much space to be comfortable in who you are – push away that feeling that you need to minimize yourself, or be humble about the skin you’re in. Love yourself unapologetically and loudly – every wrinkle, ripple, stretch mark, and roll that makes you a walking piece of art.
Musical artist Lizzo recently posted a video on Instagram where she gives her belly a pep talk – a routine she does daily. Lizzo cradles her stomach as she tells it mantras like “I love you so much,” and “you deserve all the space in the world to breathe, to expand, and contract.” Be like Lizzo. Allow yourself all the space in the world, and be thankful for the vessel that has given you the privilege of life and movement up until this moment. Speak beautiful mantras into your biggest insecurities, be it your tummy, thighs, or arms. Even if you’re busy juggling work and family, a simple five-minute post-shower routine can make the biggest difference.
Show Some Love to Yourself
Showering yourself with love is the most basic move you can make towards happiness, though it feels radical to some people. Others might tout it as nonsense or feel silly practicing body positivity. Still, it’s a therapeutic act that has brought many joy. After all, you are the person you’re stuck with for the rest of your life – why not fall in love with her and let yourself thrive? It can change your perspective and increase your quality of life drastically – rather than working out to erase parts of yourself or fit an image, you can exercise for the sole purpose of feeling good and celebrating your body’s ability to function. You can stop designating foods as “good” or “bad” and restricting or depriving yourself.
How and Why to Love Every Inch
Body image negativity doesn’t just lead to low self-esteem – it can perpetuate depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. In a world where women are made to feel like they’re always failing, affirming yourself through body positivity is a way to declare freedom and reclaim your autonomy. It’s the single most rebellious, empowering, and soul-fulfilling thing that we can do in this life.
Still, learning to actively love your body can be a tough journey, especially when women are already made to feel like they don’t exist past a certain age. Older women automatically get placed in the “frumpy” box and are put under pressure to rewind the aging clock.
Having trouble seeing past society’s narrow beauty ideals? Delete the unrealistic standards from your social media feeds and unsubscribe from magazines that promote them. Instead, click on more realistic representations. other cultures around the world and observe what they perceive as beauty until you realize that this concept truly is in the eye of the beholder. Practice gratitude by speaking powerful mantras to your body parts, and line the mirrors in your house with positive messages of love and acceptance, written on sticky notes.
Ban the usage of the phrase “bikini body” in your house. If you embrace your age, realize that it comes hand in hand with embracing your body. After all – it’s gotten you this far in life, and maybe has even brought life into this world itself.
But don’t be too hard on yourself. We all face these impossible ideals. We all struggle and have moments of weakness, no matter how strong or flawless we look on the outside. Still: the next time you wake up and look in the mirror, do yourself a favor and try to be a little kinder to yourself. At the end of the day, that’s body positivity.