& how to cultivate positive body image
When I was a kid, I hated ballet. The thought of putting on an unflattering leotard made me feel hella chunky. As I developed through my adolescence, my body shifted in many different ways. I went through heavier stages as a kid, dropped weight in college, and then leveled out into my early adulthood.
As kids, we absolutely internalize certain views about our body based on what we are told. Moving into adulthood, depending on the state of our self-esteem, subtle comments turn into big blows. These subtle comments shape how we view ourselves and perceive others. Whether we do it with malicious intent or are unaware of what we are saying, subtle comments suck.
As a women, our bodies are constantly under inspection by the male gaze. So yes, years of the goddamn patriarchy have formed what society thinks women should look like. I also seem to think that women on women crime for body shaming is still very much active in our world. As a health and wellness enthusiast, who exercises regularly and strives to eat healthy consistently, I STILL get shit.
“Oh, you’re too skinny.”
“No wonder you’re cold, you have no body fat.”
“Ugh, I hate you, you look so so skinny.”
“You aren’t thick enough.”
“Oh wow, you actually have an ass in that dress.”
First of all, I didn’t ask for your opinion. If I’m minding my own business and you come at me with comments like that, how is that ok? Let’s all take a step back and realize we should stop giving backhanded compliments. Backhanded compliments come from a bitter place. Giving a genuine compliment will make you and the other person feel good. Don’t we all want to feel warm and fuzzy inside? Say something nice, or don’t say it at all.
I firmly believe that negative comments can sometimes stem from one’s own unhappiness. As much as subtle negative comments do drive me up a wall, I try to not to take it personal. At the end of the day, the only approval I need about my image, is from me. But seriously, usually people are so unhappy with their own lives, that they need to say some nasty shit to you to try and make themselves feel better. Learning to take not take things personally all the time can help you deflect the haters. Let the hate roll off your shoulders.
In order to cultivate our own and help grow someone else’s positive body image, it needs to be a give and take. We simply need to put out positive vibes to receive positive messages. Just let that sink in for a bit.