Change the conversation: “I love the way my shoulders look in this blouse.” Admittedly, it can be tough to say you love a part of your body 100%. We’re just not raised to do so. But, if you can take a baby step and throw yourself a compliment about the way you look, you’ll start to appreciate other parts of your body too and won’t feel as prone to comparison. I think the comparison burns the strongest in me when I’m focused on how pretty/successful someone else is and I’m not considering myself at all. If I spent 5 extra seconds a day complimenting my own unique beauty, I’d be a lot less likely to put myself down when I encounter someone else’s.
You know how once you become aware of something — like the 2015 Honda Civic in blue or Trap Queen — you seem to encounter it everywhere? I’ve been extremely aware of the negative body talk all around me lately and I can’t believe I never noticed before how rampant it is. Sure, I would hear my girlfriends lament about their thighs if shopping for shorts came up in conversation, but the way all the women around me speak about eating, exercising, and existing in their bodies is so devastating.
Being body positive is something I really have to work at. It requires so much more than just saying I love the way my body looks just the way it is. I have to be compassionate towards myself both in private and in public in regards to my body because otherwise the damaging body-negative language will infiltrate and send me into a sad body spiral. Part of the way I’ve been more mindful about body positivity lately is by shifting the language I use to talk about my body. I wanted to share a few key phrases that have been really helping me in hopes that you’ll embrace a little body celebration instead of body shame.
What I hear: “I’ve been so good/bad this week.” I hear this phrase more than anything and it’s really shocking how self-shaming it really is when you think about it. Eating shouldn’t be seen as something we do that is right or wrong or something that should be rewarded or punished when we do it a certain way. Not only is this an unhealthy way to talk to yourself about food, but consider how it makes the people around you feel when you talk negatively about food choices that they might have made too.
Change the conversation: “How can I nourish myself right now?” Re-focusing the phrase from whether or not food is good or evil to thinking of it as something that energizes you is not only a more positive mindset, but will help you make healthier choices too. Your body doesn’t always need a salad — sometimes it needs protein, iron, or potassium. Getting in touch with what your body needs to be strong, focused, and productive is way more “right” than denying yourself certain foods because you’ve eaten salad four days this week.
What I hear: “My stomach will never be as flat as hers.” Comparing your body to someone else’s is natural in the society we live in, but it’s also pretty irrelevant. There are so many factors that make her body the way it is and that make yours the way it is. Really, it’s like trying to make your fingerprint look more like someone else’s.
What I hear: “This dress makes me look like a sausage.” Comparing your body to sausage isn’t very nice, especially when your body did nothing wrong. It’s not your body’s fault the dress doesn’t fit right. Don’t fault your body for the laundry list of faults of the retail industry.
Change the conversation: “This dress isn’t worthy of my body.” Instead of shaming your body for something that it didn’t do wrong, put that energy into shaming the retail and fashion industries for not making clothing that fits a whole range of sizes and shapes. Or, if that advocacy isn’t your style, just use the energy in hanging the dress back up and moving on to the next one feeling optimistic that a worthwhile dress is out there and will make you look and, more importantly, feel amazing.
What are some ways you’ve replaced negative body talk with body positivity?