The importance of body positivity By Olivia Renecke
How often have we had our confidence levels shattered by a nasty comment, and how often have we allowed the opinions of others to change how we feel about our bodies? These are a few examples of why body positivity is so important. My good friend and Choma ambassador, Olivia Renecke shares more.
TW: This article contains mention of m*lestation and body insecurities. If these themes are triggering to you, do take a break from reading to take care of yourself.
When I was 9 years old, I was molested by a family member. I know you’ve heard these stories multiple times, however I like to believe that my story is one that many experience and so it’s important that I speak out.
After the incident, I spent years self-loathing, missed out on relationships and job opportunities due to a debilitating ‘fear’ to be seen. In my 30’s, I finally conquered that fear and made a decision to study further. Today I work for a well-known bank as Brand Marketer.
I share my story to motivate other young girls who find themselves in the same position and not knowing if there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. Trust me ladies, there is. All it takes is strength.
What is body positivity?
Did you know that the movement ‘body positivity’ dates all the way back to the 1960s? Body positivity means enjoying the body you have and not beating yourself up over changes that happen naturally due to ageing, pregnancy, or lifestyle choices.
Social media platforms have added to the pressures us girls face, and often we find ourselves still staring at images of influencers or celebrities. It’s these images that have led to a distorted view on what an acceptable ‘body’ is.
Why is body positivity important?
Having a negative image of our bodies can affect our mental and emotional well-being, resulting in depression, low self esteem issues and even eating disorders. Body positivity encourages us to start loving ourselves, accepting our body shapes and sizes and appreciating our body despite our flaws, despite what anyone says.
Moving from criticism to acceptance
Thin and athletic does not equal healthy
You don’t have to participate in taxing exercise routines and insane diets to be healthy. In fact, excessive exercise or extreme diets can lead to health problems.
There are good and bad foods, enjoy in moderation
While eating healthier is always a good idea, labelling all foods as bad attaches an unhealthy emotional connection to food.
Confidence means FEELING your best
While feeling good on the outside does help us feel good on the inside. Your body should never be the sole reason you feel confident. There are more to us than looks.
Becoming body positive
Body positivity is designed to foster acceptance and love of your body. Rather than simply covering negative body talk with positive ones, try replacing it with realistic thoughts. So, instead of going from ‘I look terrible in this dress’, try something like ‘This dress has never made me look better’.
It’s ok to admit that we don’t necessarily love everything about our bodies, but in doing so, never forget to celebrate what makes you beautiful. We all have features we like and dislike. Instead of viewing the areas you dislike as ‘ugly’, start viewing them as uniquely you.
You are perfect the way you are. On the days when you’re feeling less than confident, breathe and remember what an amazing human being you are. There’s only one of you in the world, and that’s your superpower.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)
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