“It is important to make someone happy. Start with yourself.”
So it’s February. The month most associated with love. And who doesn’t love, love? It’s arguably the most powerful human emotion, the one thing that makes us better. And there are all kinds of love: romantic love, friend love, partner love, unrequited love, and parent-child love.
And then there’s the love that I struggle with the most: self-love.
Being kind to myself has never come easy; in fact, I’m my own worst critic. As someone who has always struggled with my weight, I’ve spent many years disliking my body. One of the saddest memories I have as a child was going to the doctor and being told I needed to go on a diet. My thoughts from there on out were always centered on fixing my “bad, wrong, fat, ugly, etc.” body. And this negativity followed me well into adulthood. Even when I think back to the one time in my life that I was “thin”, I only remember it not being enough. I still didn’t like my body and had replaced the anger of being fat with the fear of getting fat again.
Recently, I heard about the body positivity movement and was really excited to see so many amazing women embracing themselves just as they are in the body they have. I always felt like my life would be better once I hit a certain number on the scale, but reading about all the wonderful things these body positive women were accomplishing made me start to think about what I was really doing: selling myself short. There is no magic number on a scale that’s going to determine my value or worth. And I’m wasting time I could be happy worrying about something that really doesn’t matter.
While it's important to remember that everyone's interpretation of body positivity is unique, at its core the term represents this wild idea that all bodies are good bodies. All bodies are worthy of self-love, self-care, and acceptance. All bodies are allowed to feel beautiful, regardless of their color or jean size or health status.
Here are some tips that helped me become more body positive:
1. Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it. And ditto on eating healthy; fuel your body with nutritious food. Focus on your overall health, not your weight.
2. Your actions define your success, not the number on the scale (or the dress size).
3. Confidence is beautiful on everyone.
4. Focus on things that make you happy. Happiness is often achieved by what we’re involved in, not what we look like.
5. Say something you like about yourself out loud every morning in the mirror.
6. Compliment someone else.
7. Invest in good quality. This means food, shoes, clothes, and relationships.
8. Laugh. A smile boosts your mood and everyone around you.
9. Get perspective. All I had to do was go on Instagram to see all the amazing women with bodies similar to mine. And of course they looked fab.
10. Focus on your attitude and how you feel. A positive attitude can be the first step in a loving relationship with yourself.
February is body positive month! I’d like to challenge every lady to be their own valentine, to celebrate all they have to offer, and to look themselves in the mirror and say I love you, all of you, in any state that you are, forever.
Use the hashtag, #bodposfeb and let us know 3 things that you love about yourself!
Katie is a social media and blogging guru for a local software engineering company. She's passionate about the user experience and loves to write. She also has two awesome cats.
Photo from Death To The Stock Photo