At our monthly women’s circle this past Sunday, we explored the topic of body positivity. Not an easy topic, but those in attendance all contributed heartily to the discussion, and it was beautiful to hear all these women talk about how they deal with the issues of female body image.
Whether a woman, man, or nonbinary, you have been subjected to body norms set by our fickle society.
While women have traditionally been more of a target, men suffer too, and it isn’t far to acknowledge their struggle.
For example, here is a chart of the male standard of beauty:
While there are differences, it isn’t as drastic as women. One man can conform to each of these standards without surgery or too much effort.
Well, maybe not in the 80s. I’m seeing flashes of Arnold Schwarzenegger—who still fits that mold as he approaches his 76 birthday.
However, woman’s standards that been much more drastic than men’s. Take a look at the chart below.
Unfair, right? Well, enough of this. Let go of the shame. Stop thinking about the parts of your body you want to change.
Why? Because…who cares? Who are you trying to impress? How does it serve you?
Instead, let’s embarrass body positivity. Because we only get one body and one life to live in, stop wasting time on self-judgment, and bring on self-love.
How? Here are a few tools:
- Tape love notes to your mirror.
- Scrub Social Media Feed — Add Positive Minded People & Groups
- Instagram: I_weigh, Behappyproject
- TikTok: Lizzo, Yogi Bryan, Mayim Bialik, Celeste Barber
- Wear what feels good.
- Let go of the people that don’t support you and bring in supportive people.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Your body is unique; embrace your uniqueness!
- Focus on what you like about yourself.
- Accepting that body image distress as normal (You aren’t alone!)
You aren’t alone! I was shocked to learn that I fit into the average American woman. I am 5’5 and 140 pounds. While I know I’m in relatively good shape, I still see flaws in the mirror, more so as I age.
I often reflect on how harsh I was on myself in my 20s. I see pictures and can’t match my hate for my body with the beautiful young woman I was. Hell, typing out beautiful just now felt wrong. I wanted to hit the backspace, but I didn’t. Why? Because I am embracing self-love.
This body gave me 2 beautiful children and has been my constant companion for 44 years. So I am choosing to celebrate it. And you should too!
I’m leaving you with a bit of homework. Take out a piece of paper or open up the notes feature on your phone and answer these questions:
Why am I grateful for my body?
What makes you valuable? (Because you are more than the way you look!)
Hold onto this paper or save the note and come back to it whenever you are being particularly hard on yourself because your body is strong, resilient, and beautiful. The only one you’ll get, so start treating it like your dearest friend—because, at the end of the day, that is what it is.