Let’s face it – we don’t always feel great about being in our bodies, and sometimes, that’s an understatement. It’s easy to fall into a negative space when we compare ourselves to others, criticize ourselves for being what we consider to be too hairy, too short, too fat and then try to contort our bodies into what we think they should look like. We can cause ourselves incredible emotional and physical pain attempting to do this. But what if we could feel good about our bodies? Connie Sobczak and Elizabeth Scott, LCSW founded The Body Positive in 1966 to help people navigate a world full of toxic messages about bodies. In their book, Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and quiet that critical voice), they define body positivity as “a way of living that gives you permission to love, care for, and take pleasure in your body throughout your lifespan.”
Check out our list of tips for amplifying body positivity, one day at a time.
1. Wear clothes you feel good in
This might seem obvious, but if you go through your clothing, you’ll probably find more than one thing you bought because someone else told you you looked good in it, even if you weren’t feeling it. Commit to wearing clothes that are comfortable, that you feel beautiful and strong in, and that fit the body you have right now –not the one you hope you’ll have in six months or a year. Buy items that accentuate your favorite areas. You deserve to feel good today, right now. Period.
Masturbation is a great way to relieve stress, but also… do it because it feels good! Learning what brings you pleasure will help you create a more positive relationship to your body. You can reframe how you feel about your breasts, for example, by connecting with them via your own touch. You get to decide what turns you on, so take your time, create an atmosphere that’s relaxing, sexy and safe to enjoy yourself by yourself! To help you do this, consider sex toys for solo clitoral stimulation and having a clean water-based lubricant handy.
3. Surround yourself with your (positive) people
It’s impossible to only be around people who truly see you and support you all the time, but knowing you have folks around to fortify you is vital. Think about who brings you joy and good energy now and remember that relationships are reciprocal. In order to keep growing in life, sometime it requires letting go of old friendships that are more toxic than positive. Sometimes we outgrow friendships and that’s OK. Also, having a professional in your corner can help you navigate change in your life, accomplish goals or just be a nice sounding board when you need to check-in. If you’re thinking about seeing a therapist, start doing so when you’re feeling strong and positive, instead of waiting until it’s too hard to leave the house or things have spiraled in a direction you don’t want to be in.
4. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is an intentional appreciation of the positive things in your life. It turns out that there is lots of scientific evidence that shows that practicing gratitude is good for your emotional and physical health. In fact, several studies have found a connection between expressing daily gratitude (journaling, meditation, positive affirmations) feeling more optimistic, feeling better about your life and taking better care of your body.
5. Acknowledge that it’s difficult
FYI, you can do everything on this list and still have a bad day (or many bad days). Your relationship to your body won’t change forever overnight, and you’re allowed to struggle. Don’t make perfection your goal. Instead, try to think of one positive thought about your body every day. Every second you spend loving your body more = is a victory.