Love body positivity, but not sure how to adopt it yourself? Join in on the movement in 3 easy steps!
I loved this blog we did a few weeks ago on our Vivid website. I wanted to share it with my Vivacious ladies. These are great thoughts on body positivity and small steps you can take yourself to have a more positive outlook on the skin you are in!
If you've been engaging in any type of social media over these last couple of years, there's a pretty good chance you've come across some form of body positivity content.
Whether that's because you follow one of our favourite content creators, The Bird's Papaya, or you've just seen peers and friends engaging on popular hashtags related to the subject, body positivity has become the newest social movement for women everywhere and, you know its definitely our thing at Vivacious.
But, along with body positivity, for some of us, comes... hesitancy to accept and embrace it for ourselves. For some reason, despite really wanting to join in with the thousands of women learning to love themselves as they are, and show up confidently regardless of what mainstream media says is beautiful, too many of us are still doing this thing where we think body positivity is great for thee, but not accessible to me.
Are you with me on this?
If you are, you're not alone. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of women watching other women embrace the movement while silently shaming themselves and denying themselves the same freedom...
We want to help change that! So... how can YOU take the first steps to becoming part of the body positivity movement? Well, it'll first help if you understand exactly what it is.
Let's start with the definition.
Well, this is kinda awkward, because there isn't a universally accepted "official" definition like the kind you might see in a dictionary for this subject. But basically it's this:
The awareness and acceptance of the fact that our bodies are good bodies, regardless of their size, race, colour, weight, ability, disability, sexuality, gender expression, or how they look in the world.
Understanding that, it follows that body positivity is truly just unlearning the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues that consistently tell us that if we aren't "supermodel perfect" we aren't worthy of feeling good in our skin, or living our fullest lives confidently - then replacing them with more empowered beliefs.
Now, I know this sounds awesome, but for some of us a lifetime of being fat-shamed, skinny-shamed, othered for our racial appearance or gender presentation, or even just told how we "should" be has left us having an identity problem around figuring out who we actually WANT TO BE outside of all that pressure. So that can make fully adopting body positivity a bit of a challenge.
But that's where our first baby step toward embracing body positivity comes in - meet body neutrality. She's body positivity's bestie and she's often more easy to wrap our minds and beliefs around.
What's body neutrality then? It's the wholehearted belief that your body is the least interesting thing about you as a human being.
I mean, we all have bodies and it's just a genetic lottery that determines what ours looks like and how it functions, right? So, really, when you think about it, your body itself isn't usually all that interesting - it's your personality, your knowledge, your character, the way you care for people, and all of the other amazing things about you that makes you a cherished friend, beloved mother, adored wife, beautiful soul, and wonderful human being.
So embracing body neutrality and focusing on things that AREN'T related to your physical body can be a great first step toward body positivity. It's a baby step, but using this baby step you can really start to reframe how you think about yourself (and build a better internal relationship with yourself while you're at it).
Key things to notice during this phase are all the ways your relationship with your body impacts how you feel as you navigate the world. But the key here isn't just noticing, it's actively challenging your own thinking as it relates to how you present yourself, the way you dress, or how you feel about things like your weight, body shape, and personal value as a result of those things.
Once you've done this for 4-6 weeks consistently, it'll be on to Step 2.
What’s step 2? Small acts of acceptance!
In the small acts of acceptance phase you'll want to choose a few parts of your body that you truly love. Whether that's your hair, your eyes, the cute dimple on your left cheek, or your smile - you'll want to think about the features you love about your physical self and use these a building blocks toward further self-acceptance.
How? Well, it's simple really - just notice them and practice gratitude for them on purpose daily. In this stage it's about the little things. Like maybe you've got beautiful hands and they look amazing with a french manicure. Or maybe you've always loved your hair because you feel like it helps to frame your face and make your neck look longer.
It's the noticing and the gratitude for the small things that starts to create the habit that lets you later embrace the big things! But, it takes a little practice which is why this step is "Small acts of acceptance" and not an immediate dive into full on body positivity.
Once you've done this consistently for 6-8 weeks though, then you'll be on to Step 3.
What’s step 3? Finding positivity in things you formerly felt were negative.
So this one is a little more challenging since we've all got more than a few things we've learned to dislike about our bodies. For me its my "fupa", that fat stomach below my belly button. I literally have had it my whole life and it just shrinks or gets bigger when the rest of my body does.
The thing is - for me during this step I realized that I don't even dislike it all that much.
I learned to embrace that no matter how much I exercise or change my diet that part of my body is going to be the same. It took me 50 years to do that so I hope to empower you to not take as long as me!
So that's what step three is all about - looking at the body parts you've formerly been embarrassed by and finding gratitude for how they've served you. Maybe that tummy carried 2 beautiful kids. Maybe it's a result of comfort eating (which isn't as problematic as media makes it out to be and is a valid coping mechanism if it helped you find the strength to continue to moving forward in your life!).
During this stage is where you truly start to embrace body positivity and all of the liberation that comes with it - so even when it feels awkward - even when you back-slide into less healthy thought patterns - keep practicing gratitude for the ways your body has and continues to serve you and before you know it you'll have joined the body positivity movement wholeheartedly.