In today’s world we are relentlessly bombarded by hurtful messages, which act to depreciate different body types, further perpetuating another unrealistic ideal which then reinforces the thought that there is only one way to be pretty, only one way to be masculine and only one way to be. Though at times it may be difficult, it is possible to feel positive about your body.
We are often compared to an impossible perfection, which exists only in the world of Photoshop and modeling agencies. We are subjected to fatshaming comments on social media, the thin ideal on magazine covers, powerful messages from the diet industry and judged by our own inner critic.
It is time to realize that all bodies are amazing just as they are. Take a moment to think about how your body has served you today. Your body helps you get from place to place and help you access information instantly. Your body connects you to the environment so you can feel the warmth of sunshine and the moisture of raindrops.
Your body helps you communicate with others through talking, writing, drawing, laughing, singing and touching. Your body holds you up, breathes for you, regulates your temperature, circulates your blood and tells you if you are hurt. Your body restores its energy through rest and sleep. Your body does a lot.
It is important to remember all bodies are valuable. While everyone’s body differs in levels of development, ability and skill, your body is unique and deserves to be appreciated and loved just as it is.
It can be helpful to intentionally focus on what you appreciate about your body each day. Try setting
a reminder in your phone, or putting a post-it on your mirror, to help you get into the habit. All bodies deserve, and need care, for it is the only body you will have for your entire life. Take good care of your body by considering the following,
“Am I getting adequate rest?” “Do I eat a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables?” “How do I strengthen my body?” “Am I listening to what my body needs?”
Try nurturing your body by smoothing on lotion, taking a warm bath, dressing in comfortable clothing
or getting a massage in the massage chair at the Oasis in Clark Hall 124. How else can you build body positivity?
Limit your exposure to media that tells you your appearance is inadequate. Try to feed yourself when you are hungry. Notice how foods taste and how they make your body feel and honor your body’s signals of fullness. Experiment with enjoyable ways to move your body. Look kindly at your body and treat it with love and respect.
Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time when trying to unlearn negative thoughts and habits
regarding your body image. Changing how you feel about your body takes time, practice and support.
Often times we feel that if we only looked a certain way, or were a certain size, then everything else in our lives would fall into place. People are more than just a body. Our bodies are one part of our complex and unique identities.
For those struggling with body image, recovery is possible and help is around. Participate in The Body Project, a body acceptance group for females during February hosted by the Campus Wellness center.