What Does Body Positivity Mean to Me?
Body Positivity is looking in the mirror and acknowledging how undeniably beautiful you are. It is embracing your fears and telling yourself despite them that you are loved, that your flaws are your own, and that your body accomplishes amazing things every day. Body Positivity is understanding that there is no “right” way to have a body- all bodies are different and that is what makes our world amazing. No body is “better” than another. No body deserves to be shamed or cast away. Every single body deserves to be loved and is worthy of love.
Body Positivity does not mean we cannot have goals for our bodies. For a long time, I worked to gain weight during my recovery from orthorexia nervosa. Then, I worked to gain muscle. Me changing my body does not mean I do not love it. I want my body to thrive, and at different points in my life, this may mean different things. It also means something different for each and every individual.
Sometimes, however, balancing this desire to alter our bodies and to love our bodies can be incredibly difficult. I have looked in the mirror countless times wishing my butt was bigger, that my arms were more muscular, and that my waist was shapelier. And many times this stems from a place of disapproval. I tell myself I need these to be attractive to others. I find myself assessing my body, turning it side to side, wondering how I can meet these goals of mine. I forget about how much my body does for me already, how others’ perspectives won’t in the end benefit me in any way, even if their importance seems larger than life. Their words are nothing if I cannot find validation in myself.
What’s more productive? Me looking in the mirror and criticizing my flaws, or me looking in the mirror and saying and meaning, “I love my arms. They are beautiful and strong and all mine. Because I love them, I want to better them by increasing their strength so I do not hurt myself.”
I’ve written before about the posters I have hanging around my room. Every day, the mantras upon them serve to remind me of my beauty and strength. Not every day is easy, but I find that with time, more and more of them are. Yes, my butt may be bony to the point where I can’t sit on my friends’ laps without hurting them (not joking) and yeah, so what if I have no boobs? I can sleep on my stomach with no problem!
Your body is your body. Your body is nobody else’s. Your body is yours to love and your so-called flaws are not flaws but evidence that you are a living, human being who has endured life and all it throws at you. Your scars are evidence of what you’ve overcome, your freckles a sign of a love for the sun, your stretch marks a symbol of the life you have brought into this world. Your belly is a sign of the enjoyment life brings you through food, through children, through laughter- a laugh that bubbles all the way up through your beautiful mouth which deserves to say every single day, “I am beautiful. I am loved. I am me and that is amazing.”