Why You Don’t Have to Love Your Body to Appreciate It

Body positivity. Body acceptance. Just love yourself! Urge the headlines. But how do you do that?

There are many myths perpetuated about the body positive message. Body positivity (BoPo) is about promoting self-acceptance and self-worth, whatever your size, sex, shape, age or disability. The message isn’t limited to telling women carrying weight to go ahead and simply love their curves. Although sometimes this is how BoPo can come across in the media, in the burgeoning number of articles about plus-size models. But focussing on a narrow view of body positivity misses the whole message.

Being asked to love your curves can also sound a little too simplistic. Most of us would dearly like to love our bodies, but have found that simply repeating “I must love my body” doesn’t do the trick. We still hate our thighs.

I’ve written before about why body image is a serious health issue and how to break out of the cycle of self-criticism. But here’s another mindset shift to try.

Start by just trying to appreciate your body. You don’t need to start off by going all out to love it if that feels difficult.

Our bodies allow us to live our lives. Which is mind-blowing if we choose to stop and think about it. We take our dear body for granted on a daily basis - until it fails us in some way. It is a sad truth that sometimes nothing short of illness, disability or death reminds us of what we have. This great resource that allows us to laugh, run, jump and play. To pursue our greatest hopes and dreams. To love our family and friends.

What I’m urging is that we try to look beyond the dimples and over-hangs, so that we give ourselves some perspective. Because we need to keep hold of it in the face of being bombarded with images of the young, thin, beautiful and able-bodied trying to sell us their dream. Unconsciously setting a standard that we’re supposed to meet to be acceptable — out there.

You are acceptable as you are right now. Seeking to own that will lift you out of a mire of self-criticism. And building your self –worth will free you to chase that career, partner or travel plan.

It will give you wings on which to fly.

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