You might be shocked to know this blog reader, but I actually used to be SUPER shy! Like I mean painfully shy. And to be honest I still can be, and while taking photos, and being on camera is part of my daily life now, when I was in junior-high school I absolutely refused to be photographed because I was so insecure about my appearance. Anytime there was a camera around I would either offer to take the photo or I would run away from it. And the sad part about this is that I hardly have any photos from the time in my life, and ultimately not a lot of memories of me and my friends and family either.
Being in this business, I’ve definitely become more and more comfortable with having my photo taken, but I definitely still struggle I mean I do see myself in photos and on camera A LOT and it’s easy to be critical. But over time you develop a bit of a thicker skin (in more ways than one) especially when you put yourself out there and when you share so much about your life. As a blogger you kind of become a picture taking machine, and I often also take photos of whoever is around me.
I’m always conscious of whether people are comfortable with the photos I’ve taken, and I definitely ask first, and show people the photos before posting (I’m not a monster), but because I do this a lot I have to tell you that the conversations that happen around me break my heart.
How many of you dodge photos?? Refuse to have your photos taken or posted?? Are you constantly on some kind of a diet? Or feeling like you have to lose ten pounds before a big trip or before that awards ceremony? Or whatever the case may be?
For many of us there’s a constant unhappiness with our body, and forever a longing to alter it.
I’ve been surrounded by women my entire life who loathe their bodies, they hide themselves in baggy clothing, frequently make comments about what they hate their bodies, and having been someone who’s survived some major major injuries at a really young age, and been surrounded by illness (I lost my father very young and my mother’s been battling cancer for nearly ten years now) I’m forever reminded of what my body has been able to withstand, and what it’s done for me, and I really want to focus on that rather than what I “have” to change.
It’s so important to focus on being healthy (putting good foods into our bodies, getting proper rest, and exercise) rather than losing weight or fitting into a specific dress size.
Easier said than done, and I would never admit that I don’t have my days where I struggle (I mean I do curate my own content), but I’m writing this post both as a conversation starter with you dearest blog reader, but also to myself because I too need to work on this every. single. day. of my life.
I’m not a mother, but I’m not naive enough to think that my behaviors don’t impact those around me, and hating my body is just not what I want to reinforce in anyone or pass on to the next generation. I’m mindful of the things I say, to my friends, online, to my mother, to boyfriend’s niece, and I try to make sure I’m not always commenting on people’s bodies, but rather their skills, and what makes them strong independent woman. I grew up (like many) putting intense pressure and judgement about the way I looked that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Together we have the ability to create great change, and lead by example. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I think we owe it to all the little girls and boys out there to try.
5 WAYS TO BE BODY POSITIVE
STOP THE NEGATIVE SELF TALK
When you find yourself in a self-loathing-shame-spiral instead of beating yourself up think about all things you’re grateful for, and eventually you’ll replace those negative thoughts and be appreciative of all the amazing things your body does for you! And what a luxury it is to be healthy, and alive!
It starts with us and it starts from the inside out. Our thoughts become actions, it’s an age old saying, but it’s true. The things we think about become our reality, so we need to work on having a positive relationship with ourselves before we can ever expect to do so with others. And while I fully understand you’ve probably thought this way your whole life, and it’s really difficult to flip a switch, changing your thinking to thoughts of gratitude is just a much more enjoyable way to live.
START CELEBRATING YOUR BODY FOR ITS FUNCTIONALITY
On the topic of gratitude, it’s crucial to switch the focus from what you hate about the way you look to all the things your body can do for you.
Trust me when I tell you that if you can independently get out of bed in the morning you are lucky. Having suffered such intense injuries at such a young age really changed my thinking, and how I feel about my body and my independence. After being hit by a car, I was in such rough shape I basically had to learn how to walk all over again, and speaking from someone who couldn’t even take themselves to the bathroom you kinda stop caring about your pant size, but instead all the places you can go!
CREATE A NO BODY SHAMING ENVIRONMENT
We seemed to be programmed to automatically criticize and negatively critique our appearances.
Remember that scene in Mean Girls when the girls are all looking at themselves in mirror, and complaining about all the things they hate about themselves? I can’t remember all the things they said, but I always remember how the character Karen says her “nail beds suck”. I don’t even know what a nail bed is LOL, but I know this was done to show just how ridiculous us women can be about our bodies.
My friends and I (like many) have a running group chat, and one day we were all going off and complaining about this and that about our bodies, and one friend in the group called us all out on it. And honestly I’m so happy she did because we all realized we were being ridiculous and made an agreement with each to stop complaining about our appearances.
My friends are so accomplished and inspire me every single day to be a better person, and I want to always celebrate them and encourage them to have a positive relationship not only with each other but with themselves.
We slip up here and there (of course), but we work hard on keeping each other accountable, and I really would encourage you to do the same with your friends and family too.
BE KIND TO YOUR BODY AND OTHERS
How boring would it be if we were all the same?? I know we say this all the time, but do we actually think it?? or put it into practice? When we are unhappy with ourselves it’s so easy for us to quickly judge others too, but it needs to stop.
We should be celebrating difference, and that starts with us, and then it also needs to be extended to others. One of the things I remember learning in Developmental Psychology is that behaviors are learned, and children don’t attach meaning to things until we tell them to.
We aren’t born hating our bodies or anyone else’s, these behaviors are learned from the things we experience and pick up on in our environment.
We need to celebrate ALL bodies, women’s bodies, trans bodies, women and men of color, bodies of all shapes and sizes. We need to celebrate ALL bodies.
It always irks me when any body type is singled out to lift another. Often times this happens where there are comments like “women’s bodies are curvy” and I get the intentions are good, but not all women are curvy and that doesn’t mean they are any less than. Curvy is great, not curvy is great, honestly all bodies are great and we should focus on nurturing and celebrating them as much as possible and we don’t need to put anyone down in the process.
ACCEPT YOUR BODY WILL NEVER BE PERFECT
Society pressures us towards a life of perfection. We see beautiful images in magazines, flawless images on Instagram, and it’s really easy to compare yourself to others, and ultimately feel bad about how you’re not “measuring up”.
But I’m here to tell you that NO ONE is perfect, and no one will ever be perfect. It’s a flawed mission to think you can be perfect, not to mention a miserable existence.
There are so many other things that are important, and so many other things you could be enjoying if you weren’t letting every moment be dictated by “how you look”.
My friend’s mother mentioned that she never felt more confident than she did in her 30s, and this breaks my heart because there’s so much more living to do after your 30s! I see women who are older than me and I think they are beautiful both for everything they’ve accomplished, but everything they represent. They are our future, and wrinkles and gray hair are kind of like a badge of honor.
Instead of over analyzing my body for all its changes, wrinkles, and slowed metabolism I want to focus on how far it’s come, and all the things it’s done for me and will continue to do for me in the future.
Before you go, I just want to reinforce that I, in no way shape or form think I’m perfect, or that I wouldn’t want to change things about my body, but I am here to tell you that there are just more important things to care about.
As long as you’re taking care of your mind and body, fueling your body with nutrients, getting proper rest, and exercise; I could care less what size you are, and neither should you. Speaking from someone who’s really really struggled in this department I just want you to know that with the right support, and a determined mindset you can totally get there too!