Body positivity is a movement that aims to promote self-love and acceptance of all body types.
In a society that places a high value on thinness and perfection, it can be challenging to love the skin you’re in. However, by learning to embrace and celebrate your body, you can create a healthier and happier you.
But firstly what causes negative body image issues?
Well, It’s not just one thing that causes these feelings, but a mix of many things.
With a plethora of research we’ve found the five most important causes of a poor body image;
- Appearance Ideal Internalization: This means believing that being thin, muscular or lean will make you successful and beautiful.
- Self-Objectification: When women live in a society where they’re objectified sexually, they start to judge themselves based on their appearance.
- Body Comparisons: When we compare ourselves to others, we focus on the good things about their bodies while criticizing our own, making us unhappy.
- Fat Talk: We often use negative language to talk about our bodies, which reinforces unrealistic beauty standards and makes us feel worse about ourselves.
- Perfectionistic Tendencies: Perfectionists never feel satisfied with their bodies because they strive to match societal standards, and no matter how they look, they always find fault with it.
How to become ‘Body Positive’
1. Understanding the Origins of Your Negative Body Image
We’re bombarded with images of airbrushed and edited bodies that are impossible to achieve naturally.
The first step to becoming body positive is to understand where the negative triggers are coming from and reject these harmful messages that society sends us about body image
.It’s essential to recognize that these images are not reality and that there is no such thing as a perfect body. Instead, focus on what your body can do and the things you love about yourself. When you appreciate your body for what it can do, rather than what it looks like, you’ll be on your way to loving the skin you’re in.
Instead, surround yourself with positive influences.
Seek out friends and family who are supportive and accepting of your body. Avoid people (and accounts) who make negative comments about your body or who promote harmful beauty standards.
2. Being Mindful
When negative thoughts come up, instead of trying to stop these negative feelings, it’s important to be mindful and accepting of them.
Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment without judgement. Through body image therapy, you can learn how to be more accepting. This can help you step back from negative thoughts and feelings about your body.
Another crucial aspect of body positivity is to recognize that all bodies are different and that there is no one “ideal” body type. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and every body is unique. When we learn to appreciate and accept our differences, we can create a more inclusive and accepting society. By embracing diversity and rejecting the idea that there is one “right” way to look, we can create a world where everyone feels valued and accepted.
3. Being Kind
One practical way to become body positive is to practice self-care.
Self-care means taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It means nourishing your body with healthy foods, getting enough sleep and exercise, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
By taking care of yourself, you send a message to yourself that you’re worth the effort. When you feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to treat your body with kindness and respect.
And practice gratitude for your body. Instead of focusing on what you wish you could change, focus on the things you’re grateful for. Maybe you’re grateful for your strong legs that carry you through a run or your arms that can lift heavy weights. By focusing on what your body can do, you’ll create a more positive and empowering relationship with your physical self.
Can you love the skin you’re in?
By rejecting harmful societal messages about body image, practicing self-care, seeking positive influences, and practicing gratitude, you can learn to love the skin you’re in.
When you love and accept yourself, you’ll create a happier and healthier version of yourself. Remember, you are unique and worthy of love and acceptance just as you are.
Dr Jake Linardon
Dr Jake Linardon (PhD) is the founder of Break Binge Eating and works as a Research Fellow at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. Jake’s work involves trying to better understand and treat eating disorders, particularly through the use of innovative technologies. Jake has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, across the world’s leading psychiatry and clinical psychology scientiﬁc journals, and serves on the editorial board for the International Journal of Eating Disorders and Body Image. Jake is passionate about increasing access to evidence-based care among people with eating and body image issues.