The Difficult, Ever-Changing Body Positivity Journey

body positivity journey

The body positivity journey is just that, a journey. You’ll meet good days and bad ones. This is a lifelong quest and that’s okay. Rather than focusing on a destination, we must embrace the struggles along the way.

Unavoidable Triggers

Whatever your body-issues root themselves in is most likely impossible to avoid. For me, it’s food and diet-culture. I’ve struggled with disordered eating for many years now and I encounter triggers every single day.
From people discussing how “bad” certain foods are or how much weight someone has lost or gained to discussing calorie-counting and diets. It’s everywhere. All the time.
Furthermore, since childhood we have been fed messages of body-shaming. Look at the characters you idolized as a child, do any of them show any kind of body diversity? Probably not. We all subliminally grew up believing we needed to look like Barbie or Cinderella.
When you’re older, it’s the same, just in a different package. Nearly all forms of entertainment consist mostly of conventionally fit people. You don’t see the ones representing an average individual who can’t spend hours in the gym with a personal trainer or have someone prep all their meals for them with perfect macros.
All of these triggers reinforce the importance of staying steadfast in your body-positivity journey. It’s not gonna be easy anytime soon, but it’s much needed.
You endure the triggers and struggles now to create a better, increasingly body-positive climate for the next generation.

The Comparison Trap & Method

Comparison serves as the downfall and rise of body-positivity. I’ve identified two kinds of comparison: destructive and productive.

Destructive comparison is that which you indulge in with the intention of feeling bad about yourself. Perhaps for you this is following those social media influencers who post unrealistic, undoubtedly posed photos. Maybe instead it’s seeing other women’s bodies around you simply as means of comparison to your own rather than individually beautiful.

Productive comparison, on the other hand, is one of my favorite tools. For the most part, we don’t judge people the way in which we judge ourselves. Everyone else and their bodies are beautiful just the way they are, and somehow we’re the outlier. This is completely untrue. One facet of productive comparison is realizing this. Knowing that others view you in the same loving light that you view them.

The second component of productive comparison is finding and following positive influencers with similar bodies to your own as well as diversifying the types of bodies you see on your social media feeds. This subconsciously allows you to create an acceptance and appreciation for all different figures.

Body Positivity Journey

Self-Love Looks Different on Everyone

An odd characteristic of the body-positivity movement is judging how others express their self-love. Although completely hypocritical to the campaign as a whole, I see this happen frequently.

Everyone’s form of expressing their body-positivity differs. Some people like to post pictures of themselves on social media, others enjoy working out, and for some it’s cooking delicious and healthy food.

Just because someone works out, doesn’t mean they don’t love their body. If another person posts bikini shots on their Instagram that doesn’t mean they’re objectifying, and therefore not loving, their body.

Judging how other people love themselves only illustrates the fact that you have not yet found how you can love your own body. Rather than projecting our own struggles, we should champion how far others have come and strive to reach the same place, in our own way.

Try out different ways you think may express love for your body. Maybe it’s going for a run or wearing a dress you swore off long ago. No form of self-love is wrong.

body positivity journey

The Most Important Aspect

These are just a few of the struggles I’ve faced on my own journey to love my body in whatever state it’s in. Although everyone’s journey differs, there is one non-negotiable component of the quest for body-positivity: perseverance.

As long as you never give up, even on the rough days, and set an example for women worldwide to love themselves a bit more, you’re doing the right thing. You have an entire force of positivity women behind you, find them, reach out, and work through this journey together.

Cover image via Noteworthy

Also published on Medium.