What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? Double chin? Bulging waist? Your not-so-flat tummy, maybe? Are you aware that this line of thought is a slippery slope with you listing out all the so-called flaws as to why you don’t look so good? Since you allow it to pull you down, your shoulders droop and your day starts to slump right there. This vicious cycle is hard to break unless you learn to accept yourself as you are, utterly and completely. The mirror is a mere reflection of your thoughts and feelings about yourself; the body image you carry of yourself has the power to either make or wreck your day.
Body image is the perception you have of your physical self as well as your thoughts and feelings that step from that perception. It is all that you believe about yourself – can be negative, positive, or both and can be influenced by several individual and social factors. Thanks to the omnipresent social media, negative body image is something each of us is trying to combat on a daily basis. Over the recent years, we find incredible women and men adding their voices to the rising social movement advocating body positivity.
Included below are some of the people’s views on body positivity shared on the recent facebook post about the hot topic.
What is Body Positivity?
Body positivity is when you embrace the whole of you as you are and extend the same courtesy to everyone around you without exception and regardless of the body size, shape, skin colour or any other parameter that society has imposed on us as differentiators. It is imperative to understand that to be able to fully accept others as they are, you will have to begin by accepting yourself – the physical, the mental, and the spiritual you, in totality, without judgement.
Divya Subramanyan – “A movement whereby you accept and are comfortable with your own body as well as those of others. Personally, I’d say, including even the changes it goes through, like weight fluctuation, age etc.”
What does it mean to be Body Positive?
When you are body positive, you are so comfortable and happy in your own skin, that you care less about what people say about your appearance. Your belief about yourself is not swayed by the appearance of others or whatever body image the society deems ‘perfect’. Body positivity is for every gender – makes no exception.
Aakriti Saraogi – “Body positivity in simple terms mean acceptance of oneself in both mind and body. And promoting the same for others. It doesn’t limit to a specific body type, its something that is for all irrespective of being lean or on the heavier side. Body positivity hence begins first in mind and then body. Hence one should be confident and receptive of one’s own self, only then can you look and propagate the same in others.”
Why is it important to be Body Positive?
Sporting a healthy sense of self is key to our mental health as well as of those around us. Being body positive helps us value and take good care of ourselves. A healthy body image leads to self-acceptance, self-confidence, and self-worth. On the other hand, a person with consistently negative body image runs the risk of suffering from serious disorders over time.
Pompi Banerjee – “Body positivity as a movement challenges the popular notions around what kind of bodies are attractive. Media portrayal of bodies, of men and women, showcases and ultimately gives out the message that one has to have a certain kind of body that’s attractive and therefore desirable to have. That portrayal is also photoshopped and unrealistic for people. We know how this has led to developing eating disorders and body image issues amongst teenagers, especially. Body positivity is a counterpoint to this messaging. Body positivity is about celebrating your own body, taking care of it and doing what works best for your own body.”
Dr. Ishad Aggarwal – “It is acceptance of your physical self regardless of the parameters of beauty set by society, cultures, and trends. It is infact, the true celebration of our bodies as given to us by God. It isn’t just about how your body looks, or being comfortable in your own skin, but it goes a step ahead asks you to nurture your body the way it requires it. It also gives a message to preserve what is natural about body and refrain from over indulgence or malnutrition. A body should be treated like a temple that houses your spirit.”
Ways to Combat Body Shaming
* Check yourself – Catch yourself in the negative thought process, then break the habit by reframing those unconscious negative messages with positive ones. This is the first step in combating body shaming.
* Walk the talk – You don’t want to be body shamed, see if you are subconsciously doing it to others. Clear your mind of those thoughts.
* Appreciate your body – As you begin to look at yourself and acknowledge the positives, the less time you will spend worrying about what others have to say about you.
* Nurture a Body-positive lifestyle – Self-love is a muscle – either you use it or lose it. Focus on the positives; express how happy it makes you to your friends and family. Write them down if you have to.
Kashika Arora – “Body shaming is very common now-a-days, so movement where people accept and love all body shapes and sizes, starting from their own and others is being body positive. Don’t judge each other by body sizes. Body positivity is a form of self love and acceptance. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love others.”
Mirror Challenge to Practise Body Positivity
It is a hard task to stand in front of the mirror and not be tempted to study your flaws. The mirror challenge is not about ignoring them but is about learning to embrace those flaws and acknowledge them as part of who you are. Here is what you do – everyday, look at yourself in the mirror and list out 3 positive things or 5 about yourself. Say it out loud. Could get a bit awkward in the beginning but fake it till you make it. It’s worth it to be able to program your brain to acknowledge and accept every part of you.
Renu Goenka – “Body positivity – is definitely melting of the small self/I/ego in the WHOLE (UNIVERSAL CONSCIENCENOUS). When this truth awareness takes place (when there are no others but oneness with entire EXISTENCE) that is true BODY POSITIVITY.”
Body Positivity is, as simply and quite aptly put across by Joyeeta Bose, – “Embracing nature!”