September 21, 2021 04:15 PM | by Sara Ismail
Why Is It Hard For Us To Love Our Bodies Even Though We Should?
In a world where we are told to love ourselves, and we appreciate everyone’s diverse beauty around us, why is it so hard for us to love our own bodies? We find ourselves admiring other women, thinking not just woah she’s so beautiful, but she acts as she knows it too, as she should. But when it’s our own reflection we’re looking at in the mirror, it’s different. Body positivity when it’s in your own body is easier said than done, and most of us can relate to that. It sucks, never really fully appreciating yourself, never having a day where you’re like oh I look so good today, there always has to be something wrong. We owe ourselves a lot more than that, we should be able to feel confident in our bodies, as they really are beautiful. Today we’re here to try and understand why it’s hard for us to love ourselves fully and completely as we deserve, and I’ll share with you a few small things you can do regularly to help you fall in love with your body all over again.
What is body positivity?
The simple understanding of the term implies the practice of self-love. (To know exactly what we mean by practising self-love and the ways you can do so head to the article linked). The term became popular in the last couple of years, and it’s not just a term, but a movement. It’s a movement of self-acceptance, and one being able to appreciate themselves for all of their beauty, including things they see as personal flaws and embracing them. For example, stretch marks and cellulite, being that they are a natural part of the human body, it is a shame how we are or we're constantly trying to battle with them instead of accepting them for what they are.
It is a challenge to the backwards and outdated beauty standards we had growing up and to create better and healthier environments for ourselves as women and upcoming generations. We need to stop thinking that the way you look relates to your happiness or that you would be happier if you were either lighter or heavier. This is not the case because this is actually a long term struggle that has more to do with your mind than your body.
Image credits: The Body Positive
Changing standards of beauty and how it’s the time to love yourself
In the age of technology, certain standards of beauty are expelled through social media, TV & movies as well as advertising and fashion. (This is an article on its own), But the point is anywhere we look on our screens, we can find altered and edited images of women, and they don’t look realistic. This doesn’t just suck, but highly contributes to our self-image as women. The fact that it’s possible and very accessible for one to edit themselves to look like a completely different person, is quite concerning in itself. Posing, angles and lighting do play along with editing too. It makes us question not just our reality, but how we can trust media and advertising if individual users on social media have that much access and power. We as women were indirectly taught that our value equals our looks, not our accomplishments and that is so wrong. Our value is a lot more than that, it’s who we are as people not how we look.
Image credits: Gabrielle Caunesil
These old, outdated standards of beauty shouldn’t just be challenged but cancelled altogether. It is very often when you find companies and entities that are playing on this, some even using messages of self-love and positivity for their ulterior motives. You would think that they feel some social responsibility, but unfortunately, this is not the case. These old standards make women believe that if they don’t fit this certain standard (skinny/ skinny with curves) then they are different in any way from the women that are appreciated by the majority of society as a whole, which is problematic in itself. Apart from being untrue, it further generates the thought process that if you’re not what they’re saying or showing you, you are different to them. And that’s not true, they just don’t know how to appreciate different beauty. No matter what your body type is, if you are bigger or smaller, skinnier or heavier, you struggle due to not only the environment around you but how this environment has made you feel about yourself through the years.
Image credits: Be a feminist girl
Our elder generations are partly to blame for creating this certain type of environment, especially with the constant comparison between other girls. The word ‘fat’ or ‘skinny’ for example shouldn’t be an insult, it should be a description. If it’s used by someone to project insecurity on another, that is really messed up. Nor should other people be commenting on someone else’s weight to begin with, I’m sure we’ve all heard the ‘you should lose/gain x amount of weight before; no one should feel entitled to make comments on another's body. The answer to our question is simple because we are our critics. You won’t see yourself for what you are. You will never see yourself the way others see you, beautiful. You will never see all the positive things because when you are in your own head, negative thoughts cloud your judgement and feelings. We know it’s not easy, or in your control. We really need to start appreciating our own beauty. Most of us, due to everything we’ve experienced, are struggling with eating disorders and extreme self-image issues and have yet to figure out how to create a healthy environment for our bodies and mind.
The below are some little things to do that may help you even in a little way (to which I would be stubborn to not consider thinking none of this is in my control), but these things can help you start thinking in healthier ways.
1. Stop judging or comparing other people’s bodies
We want what we can't have, and appreciate it too. Unfortunately, this is the case for body types as well. It’s like wanting straight hair as a curly head, or curly hair when you have straight hair. We all see what we don’t have and want it anyway. This is the exact same for curvier girls or thinner girls. Look at yourself in the mirror and look at everything beautiful in you, don’t focus on what you think needs to be improved, you’re a human, not a machine.
2. Unfollow celebrities and influencers that partake in unrealistic body standards if it’ll help
When you are seeing edited pictures that are unrealistic, this does not either create the right mindset or establish the correct expectations on yourself. Instead know when something isn’t realistic, maybe even comment on it or create a discussion between you and your friends. This will allow for you to stop and think about the content you are allowing yourself to accept. France and Norway have both issued bills in the past recent years that suggest celebrities, influencers and social entities must disclaim when a picture has been edited. We think social media having a disclaimer, in general, wouldn't just be socially responsible but also ethical.
3. Follow more body positive content
This will help create more realistic standards not just in your head but also on your social feeds, and this will establish healthier expectations. It will also allow you to appreciate diverse and ever-changing beauty. When your feed is filled with messages of self-love, it really will help you manage your relationship with your body and self a lot better. A few pages to follow: TheBodyPositive and Feminist.
4. Embrace your body
It’s easier said than done, but we really should be accepting and confident in our own skin. A basic example of embracing yourself is accepting your stretch marks instead of feeling insecure about them and or embracing your body hair (for example in recent years women have stopped shaving their arms). It is small steps like these that will allow you to feel more at home in your body and appreciate your body for the temple it is.
5. Fight antibody-positive attitudes, speech, and comments
Do not allow for those around you to further create unrealistic standards, instead, let them know that this isn't right or correct. Comparison between women or “look at this girl she's so…” is not good or okay. Neither is judging the women. Be communicative and don’t just tell people to create a better way of thinking, but show them as well through your body-positive attitude.
Image credits: Ashley Graham
Main Image credits: The Body Positive
Love yourself, live a healthy lifestyle! Check out our Health & Fitness section here.