Over the years, within our society, the media has tried time & time again to tell us how we should look & to define what the 'ideal body type' is. This definition has changed and shifted dramatically from decade to decade with the 'perfect' body being defined as everything from size-0-skinny to thick & curvy to strong & athletic and a plethora of other physiques. And while the 'ideal body' has changed dramatically over the years, the one constant is that no matter what the media tells us the current 'ideal body' looks like, it generally doesn't represent the majority of people. Most of us find ourselves struggling to fit into this ideal which is not only completely exhausting but perpetually being forced to think about and consider our bodies & how they measure up can have painful implications for our mental and emotional health.
Anja Tanhane, a body image expert, says that our culture's obsession with physical appearance has an incredibly negative impact on women and girls (and increasingly men and boys). It robs us of peace of mind and can lead to things like depression, anxiety, obsessive disorders, low-self esteem & more. Tanhane also says that the more time we devote to thinking about how much our bodies measure up to what is considered beautiful, hot, sexy & desirable by others, the less time we have for a variety of other things.
In fact, studies from The Dove Self-Esteem Project show that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, a statistic that makes it easy t understand why 7 out of 10 women are perpetually fighting the battle of 'not good enough'. The reality is that everyone is different, and there's no such thing as one body type being 'better' than another. There are people who naturally have heavier builds or curvier figures, people who are naturally smaller, and people who have athletic & toned bodies. There's no right or wrong way to look 'perfect'; there is only whatever makes you feel comfortable in your skin.
For this reason, the latest movement that has taken over social media is all about loving yourself for exactly who you are, and being proud of who you are even if it doesn't fit into what our culture thinks is 'perfect'. This movement has been coined 'body positivity' and it's slowly but surely making its way to the forefront of people's minds & reaching a larger audience.
The aim and mission of body positivity is to help people with any body type feel comfortable in their skin. The most important thing to remember about anyone's body is that it's THEIRS, and just because you may have a certain ideal that your beauty standards are based on doesn't mean everyone else does- in fact, the majority of people don't subscribe to this idea at all.
Here are our top 4 tips for more body positivity:
1. Wear clothes that feel comfortable to you, not just the ones that look good on your body type. If it doesn't feel or fit right, then it probably isn't for you. Your wardrobe should be a reflection of who you are & what makes you happy- not an endless quest to find things that flatter your figure and make you look 'perfect'.
2. Every body is meant to be appreciated, no matter what it looks like or who it belongs to. Remind yourself that your body is a reflection of the life you've lived and the experiences that have made you into who you are today. Your body is not just something for other people to look at and judge, it's yours & yours alone. Celebrate that fact.
3. Learn to appreciate your body for what it does for you, not just how it looks on the outside or what size it is. There are so many functional parts of our bodies that are often overlooked because they're just 'natural', but don't forget to be thankful for those as well.
4. Try to focus on the positive things that you do have rather than dwelling on what you feel you lack. Remember to give yourself a break, and don't beat yourself up over tiny perceived flaws- it's not worth it! Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way, so try to embrace yours instead of hiding it or trying to change it.
Studies show that body positivity has a positive effect on people's mental health. Those who are more confident about their physical appearance tend to have lower rates of anxiety & depression. Body positivity helps people feel good in their own skin, which then boosts confidence & boosts moods- it's a win/win for everyone involved!
Body positivity is all about embracing who you are and what your body does for you & nobody else. It's not an excuse to say 'I'm fat' or 'I don't look good' & it's definitely not an excuse to hurt yourself because you don't meet someone else's standard. Body positivity means learning how to love your body for all that it is, learning to be comfortable in your own skin, and celebrating the fact that you are the only YOU there is.
Do you have any tips or tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments below or find us on social media @goodrisings