Body positivity is the acceptance and appreciation of all body types and it’s pretty much everywhere nowadays. From Ivy Park’s gender-inclusive, age positive, body positive AW17 campaign to Fenty Beauty’s 40 shades of foundation, the body positivity movement is spreading farther and wider and giving women everywhere the confidence to accept who they are.
It may seem strange that a tall, skinny, blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl is talking about this subject but I believe body positivity goes hand in with body image and confidence, a term which relates to a person’s perception of the attractiveness of their body. Whereas the body my mother gave me means I’m privileged enough to have never experienced issues relating to body positivity or a lack thereof, body confidence is definitely something I’ve struggled with.
When I was 13 years old I wrote a list of all the physical attributes I hated about myself. It filled three sheets of A4 paper. I was an ugly ducking with braces, milky white acne-prone skin and the body of a pre-pubescent boy. To a certain extent this was true but I also have a condition called body dysmorphic disorder or BDD: a mental health disorder where a person obsessively worries about flaws in their appearance; flaws that are often unnoticeable to other people.
At its worst, I believed I was so disgustingly ugly that I refused to leave the house, my attendance at school was around 60% and, on the odd occasion that I went out, I was too anxious to speak to anyone other than my family and immediate group of friends. But, as they tend to do, things got better. I went to therapy, I talked about how I felt and slowly but surely my confidence began to grow.
Now, at 23 years old, I’m a completely different person. I leave the house without makeup most days. I post selfies on Instagram on the regular. The confidence I have in my personal style transfers to having confidence in myself where I believe sharing what I wear will be of interest to other people. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days where my insecurities pop by to remind me that they’re still there. And when my love for my body isn’t exactly in full bloom, I have a treasure chest of things I use to stay strong…
What to Do If Your Confidence Is Suffering
Treat your body with love. Eat well. Do some exercise (make sure you choose an activity you enjoy doing). But don’t do these things to be thinner. Do them to be healthier. Obviously treat yourself to chocolate/wine/whatever takes your fancy from time to time but making healthier choices the majority of time will reap in so many benefits.
Cleanse. Social media is by no means the sole cause of body image issues but it is most certainly a contributing factor. I’m not saying delete it (God forbid) but if you’re having a particularly insecure week it can be incredibly beneficial to take some time away from it all. Another great thing to do is unfollowing any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. Instead, fill your feeds with people and content that make you feel powerful and like you can take on the whole damn world – @girlboss is a personal favourite.
Forgive yourself. It sometimes feels like body positivity and the concept of loving yourself are being shoved down our throats but there’s nothing wrong with you just because you’re not head over heels in love with the way you look right now. Everyone gets insecure. Everyone has breakdowns. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Accept that this is the way you feel at this moment and that it’s okay. There’s always tomorrow to be a badass bitch.
And to finish, I’d just like use this post as a reminder to be kind to the people around you. What we show of ourselves on a daily basis is just the tip of the iceberg and you never know the struggles somebody is dealing with.
Peace and love, Bec