I found it difficult to write about my opinion on the Body Positive Movement. Firstly, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this movement and secondly, I know it's such a controversial topic that I was worried I might offend someone with my opinion.
So why write it? Well, to be honest, it helped me better understand my own thoughts and opinions about it. Furthermore, just because my opinion is different than others doesn't mean either of us is wrong...it just means we believe something different. I've had very negative body image views in my lifetime so I'm as best of a candidate as anyone else to give my opinion.
So, I tried my best to offer my opinion in a way that is real, honest and open. It might not be what you want to hear or it may be exactly what you are looking for, but either way, it's still just my opinion. Feel free to take it, leave it, agree, disagree or ignore it altogether. All I ask of you is that you at least consider my opinion and if you don't agree, you do so in a respectful manner. I am always open to your opinions and as such, would love nothing more to hear from you on your thoughts on this topic.
Quick Overview of the "Body Positive Movement"
If you have social media, you may have heard about the body positive movement or perhaps believe in positive body image, practice having a positive body image and so forth.
For those who are unaware of the body positive movement, the idea (according to my amazing Google searching skills), is to "encourage people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being. The body positive movement focuses on building self-esteem through improving one's self-image. The body positive movement targets all body shapes and sizes. People involved with this movement challenge themselves daily to learn how to grow and love themselves to the fullest." (Thanks Wikipedia a.k.a. potentially the most unreliable source on the internet, but I do believe it captured the general idea behind the body positive movement).
My Thoughts On the "Body Positive Movement"
1. The Concept is Fantastic
I truly love the concept of loving, appreciating, accepting your body for what it is at this very moment. For giving thanks to it for all that it has done for you, whether that be give you children, climb a mountain, overcome a disease, play sports, walk for the first time, everything and anything.
The path to self-love and having a positive body image is a difficult one. For one, it means doing a lot of self-reflection, really looking at yourself in a naked view (literally) and coming to accept yourself fully and truly. Furthermore, it requires us to elevate our thinking and perceptions to a new level. Also, it requires us to go deep inside ourselves and stare the things we have buried right in the eye. Looking at yourself in the mirror and saying you love yourself for all that you are and all that you are not, that's incredible. It's a long journey and one that we may travel all our life, but it is well worth it.
Furthermore, our body is our temple and its sole purpose is to keep us alive, one way or another. How amazing is that? We have this vehicle that will literally do all it can to keep us breathing, to keep our blood pumping, our muscles fed and so much more. I think it deserves a little hell yah and a high five. In fact, pat yourself on the back and say a little thanks to yourself for getting you this far in life.
2. People Misunderstand/Misuse the Concept
This is where the water gets a little muddy...there seems to be people who view the body positive movement as a way to excuse their health or to use that as a way to avoid progressing. For example, people say things like "well, I love myself and my body so I don't need to change". I've also seen people become outraged when someone who promotes body positivity makes movements towards becoming healthier. That person may be called a fake and a liar, and things like "well, if you really loved yourself you wouldn't have changed" are said.
In my opinion, the body positive movement is quite the opposite. It's about learning to love and appreciate yourself for where you are now but also recognizing that there are ways to improve your overall health and well-being.
Furthermore, it's about acknowledging that our health is really important and saying you love yourself enough to know that your body deserves the best treatment possible. It's about understanding that loving yourself and the way you look isn't going to prevent disease, or keep away obesity, or combat the effects of getting older. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be on my deathbed dying of something I could have prevented or slowed down, and have my last words be "well, at least I had a positive view of my body". Sounds harsh but it's true.
In the same way I wouldn't say I love Emmanuel and then turn around and treat him like crap, I can't do the same to my body. That doesn't show love, appreciation, or being positive about my relationship with Emmanuel or my body.
3. Saying "Thanks/I Love My Body" Is Not Enough
So, you've said thank you to your body for all the amazing, wonderful, truly incredible things it has done and continues to do this very second. You've spent time self-reflecting and coming terms with all that you are and all that you are not. You are now on the road to self-love and having a positive body image of yourself...but it doesn't end there. Saying thanks is not enough. So what is next?
Returning the favour. Giving your body what it needs and deserves in order to continue running optimally. Fueling it. Providing it with love, care, kindness.
You have to work WITH your body. Your body will do ALL it can and do its best in order to keep you alive and well but it's a two way street. The more you help your body, the more it can help you. And the more it helps you, the better you most certainly will feel and (most likely) look. Sounds pretty amazing...and worth it, I think!
Some great ways to show your body the love and kindness it deserves is by fueling it with nutritious food, get moving and drinking lots of water. Furthermore, self-care (i.e. time to yourself doing what you love, doing what rejuvenates you), proper sleep and self-development are great ideas. Lastly, laughing, spending time with loved ones, working on your goals and dreams and enjoying life are some other options. Plus so much more!
All In All
To me, the body positive movement is about loving myself for all that I am and all that I am not, thanking my body for getting me to this point and providing it with all the necessary tools it needs to continue thriving. I truly believe that I can love who I am right now while also taking the steps to become a better version of myself - however that may look.
I would LOVE to hear from you: What does the body positive movement mean to you? Are there any parts of my post that you agree with or disagree with?