Why are we even talking about body positivity?

I never thought I would be confident and comfortable in my own skin. For years I thought that was simply not available to me, at least not until I molded my body to fit traditional beauty standards. But somewhere along the way I started to figure out I don’t have to do that.  I don’t have to look a certain way to like myself. And that changed everything. It made me feel more empowered, made me feel stronger, gave me a better sense of self, and I want that for every other person out there. So if you’re reading this and that is something you want for yourself, let’s talk. Because that is possible for you..  

It all starts with unlocking body positivity and figuring out what that means for you. It doesn’t have to mean that you love every single thing about your appearance.  It means you know regardless of your appearance you have value. Even if you don’t like everything you see when you look in the mirror, you can still like yourself. You can still feel confident. That is root for powerful change.

It may sound trivial to change how you feel in a swimming suit, but it’s so much more than that.  Body positivity changes how you experience life. Because if you feel comfortable in a swimming suit, regardless of what you look like (remember that key point--this is regardless of your current/future/past appearance--because this all comes from inside yourself), that changes the whole experience you have on the beach that day.  It lets you engage more fully with the world around you and enjoy everything from the people you are there with to the way the air feels on the skin and your ability to appreciate how beautiful the water is. You get to experience all of that more fully if you’re not worried about your stomach rolls or if you’re not obsessing over your cellulite.  Because if you look around? Even your very most beautiful friends, the ones who you think “Oh, she’s so pretty” every time they walk in the room, even they have these “imperfections.”

I think those imperfections are a beautiful thing because this is the human body and it is wonderful in all of its variations, but we have been taught to internalize all of these natural variations as flaws and as deductions from our worth as a person.  But they are not. They are absolutely not the most important part of you. How you interact with the world and how you feel about yourself matter so much more.

So if you can start to change--you don’t have to do it all today--but if you can start to change how you feel about your appearance and by extension how you feel about yourself as a human being in this world, you can change everything.  I hesitate to say you can change your life because that sounds so cliche, but it is actually true. If you start with the feedback you give yourself when you look in the mirror, that carries into so many other arenas of your life. It lets you walk through your day feeling stronger.  Not necessarily like a total confident, badass, conquering person at all moments of the day (because I don’t think that’s realistic) but it lets you feel a stronger sense of self and feel calmer as you go about your day, and that puts more of the power back in your hands. It lets you focus on the things that matter.  Like the relationships with people in your life, finding the things that fulfill you, pursuing your career, or maybe discovering what you are passionate about and finding a side door exit from that traditional career.

We spend so much time worried about our bodies and appearances, just think about what you could do with all that mental energy.  That alone is huge and that’s why it’s so important to talk about body image. It can set you free.

Jessie Barnes1 Comment