I don't often write about this topic because frankly, I find it dull. Dull and infuriating. This said, I just want to take the time to interrupt our regular January schedule of "Please self-loathe in order to buy this crap" with some of my own thoughts. These are thoughts which my body positive friends regularly share in the hope that they will dilute the nonsense you are being bombarded with, you may have read them, shared them, maybe even ignored (as I did a million times over in the past) under the assumption that this doesn't mean you, that good things are only going to happen for you when you eat that thing/subscribe to that place/deprive yourself of that pleasure because you are somehow different and you do not deserve to love yourself.
But I would like it if you could read this post from me and please at least consider making this about you. Even if just to keep me quiet for another year.
I've been reluctant in the past to describe myself as Body Positive. I am without a doubt positive about other people's bodies, but here's a secret....
Sometimes I am not positive about my own body
"WHUT?!?" I hear you cry, "How can someone who likes all bodies not like their own?!?" Well here's an even bigger secret, if not THE biggest secret:
Everyone has body confidence wobbles. EVERYONE.
This is my body - Right now I like it. Very occasionally, when it looks EXACTLY the same as it did when I liked it, I don't. In the past I've gotten into debates with myself over this; "If I was this/that/the other I'd be happier/richer/more popular...." But here's the crux of the matter: If on the Monday the scales said one thing and on the Tuesday they said something else I am still exactly the same, wonderful person. Changing my appearance will not make me love myself.
So what? What WILL make you love yourself? Well, that's a tricky one. We're all different, but I can certainly tell you some of the things I do to lift myself up, to bring myself back and to ultimately enjoy my life to the absolute best of my abilities
I never, ever, EVER compare myself to other people:
The quote above has become my mantra and trust me when I say that it works.
I do know that this one can be difficult, I'm lucky in that I'm not competitive in the slightest. However, I have been guilty of negatively comparing myself to other people - It's very easy for me to lift others up at the cost of my own self-esteem and this simply won't do. I now make a conscious effort to praise others without mentioning myself in any way. I also listen when people compliment me - It's the next level up from simply accepting compliments and provides me with a list of nice things to say to myself when I'm not feeling it.
I have a look at myself:
I have a big mirror in my attic. I want a bigger mirror in my attic. Even when I'm lacking in positivity, I can guarantee that looking at myself in the mirror brings me back to the real world. I'm not saying that a golden light shines, angels sing and I go straight to the top of the "Top 100 babes" list BUT I do remember to acknowledge the parts of myself I love; My long legs, my juicy bum, my ability to contort my reflection into a mirror designed for someone under 5"6...
I think about what I value in other people:
I value honesty, integrity, humour and optimism. As long as I strive towards these values then why wouldn't I love myself? Give it a go: List your top four qualities in other people and think about what they might value in you - I highly doubt that it's a flat stomach and lunchbox full of lentils...
I speak to my friends:
If your friends make you feel bad about yourself; They. Are. Not. Your. Friends.
If this is the case, the likelihood is that they have problems of their own - This is not your issue. Please do not allow yourself to be someone's verbal or mental punchbag, you are worth more than this.
We all go through periods of our lives where we realise that we've outgrown people, I have friends from various stages of my life who are wonderful, strong people and who know me incredibly well. Some of them are into lentils and high intensity training but they are all intelligent and interesting enough to know that these are their choices. I've also left people behind, generally people who have a very narrow view of what life should be and what role I should play in it. Life's far too short for that and I'm far too busy enjoying it.
I live in a bubble of wonderful women:
If you talk about dieting on any one of my social media feeds I WILL DELETE YOU. This doesn't mean people sharing pictures of delicious-looking colourful food or magnificent weightlifting accomplishments. This is more about people who are willing to make money from the body positive label yet have such an obvious disdain for their own bodies. This, I cannot get along with. The world I choose for myself is based around strong, tolerant and diverse people who likely have the same body confidence wobbles as me but who choose to combat this with thinking rather than self-punishment.
All of this is my opinion, I am a 32 year old able-bodied white woman at the privileged end of the acceptable-fat scale. If you're struggling to take my word for all of this, please have a read of some of the following blogs which help me out on a daily basis:
If you want to make some changes in 2017, consider changing your way of thinking, you'll be glad that you did, and remember that when it comes to being yourself, you are already perfect and you cannot improve on perfection.