The body positivity movement has garnered attention rather quickly thanks to individuals, companies, and celebrities making intentional efforts to increase body diversity in all forms of media. We are seeing more ads with women of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities, we are watching new shows with women protagonists that are completely different from what we have seen and experienced before. We are seeing women that look like all of us can be successful, beautiful, and confident. We are being encouraged to see ourselves with a new perspective.
Perspective shifting is perhaps one of the most challenging yet rewarding ways we grow as human beings. When we are willing to shift our perspective, we give ourselves permission to learn something new. We recognize that our current perspective can be built upon or maybe it needs to be reconstructed from the beginning.
Wherever you are in this journey of body positivity, remember that it is ok if certain perspective shifts feel hard or even impossible. Though we are experiencing more women empowerment on-screen and in advertising, it can still be difficult to translate what body empowerment and positivity look like in our own lives. What does it mean to be “body positive” while staring at yourself in the mirror? What does body positivity look like when food and diet choices are a part of your daily routine? What does it mean to actually live in a state of body positivity?
Body positivity may look different for different people, but ultimately body positivity comes down to one simple action: treating ourselves as we would treat someone we love.
Here are five practices to help us take one step at a time in shifting our perspectives.
1. Tell your body you love it every single day.
Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Even if you do not believe what you are saying, still say it. Our actions and words have an immense impact on what we believe about ourselves. And what we believe about ourselves quickly translates into how we see other people. So even if you are not there yet, tell yourself you are beautiful every day. This is how we shift perspective.
2. Think about what foods show love to your body.
One of the most helpful perspective shifts I have experienced is having empathy and compassion for my body. At some point every day take a moment to think about what your body needs in relation to nourishment. Are you thirsty? Is your stomach feeling acidic? Are you feeling groggy? Just checking in and asking ourselves what would show the most love and care to our body is a powerful way to shift perspective and make body positivity a habit.
3. Be kind to yourself.
Studies show that on average we think over 50,000 thoughts per day and many of our thoughts are targeted toward ourselves. When you are speaking to yourself, practice being kind. If you mess up, instead of saying “I’m stupid” try something gentler such as “It’s ok, I’ll do better next time” or “I know I made a mistake and I’m sorry, and it’s ok.” No one is perfect, so we can’t expect ourselves to be perfect either.
4. Take a rest when you need to.
In our busy culture we are constantly in action and sometimes it can be hard to find a moment for ourselves to just be present. Part of loving our bodies is being conscious of when it needs a break. Check in with yourself often and ask your body what it needs. It might seem strange to ask the question out loud, but asking the question helps remind ourselves that our bodies are living and responsive organisms that need care and attention.
5. Find accountability.
Shifting perspective is a journey and can be a more joyful and forgiving journey when you do it with other people. If you are serious about bringing body positivity into your everyday life ask a couple friends if they want to be on this journey with you. It doesn’t have to be a lot of people, it can even be just one other person, but growing together, learning together, and being vulnerable with each other makes the process all the more real and significant.
Remember that you are beautiful. Remember that you have the ability to be successful. Remember to treat your body with kindness and compassion and treat yourself as you would treat someone you love.