Oct 26, 2021
MORE BODY TALK – the conversation continues…
So we discussed what body positivity is, what it means and what it is affected by in my previous article. Now ….
How do we maintain a positive body image? How do we maintain a sense of pride for our bodies? How do we uplift others despite not always liking our bodies? How do we view our personal workout habits?
Now I could just tell you to accept yourself. I could just tell you to be resilient. I could just tell you to love yourself more and be thankful how your creator made you, but we all know that is easier said than done.
Ignoring the dominant beauty ideal is not realistic. There is a beauty ideal on social media and all around us that was created and it is practiced daily by many. We must acknowledge this ideal and come to the realization that it is just that – an ideal and not realistic. By acknowledging the created ‘ideal’, our mind acknowledges that this is something that was created. Why do people create things? For the most part, things are created to be part of some fantasy.
One key action we can do to maintain a healthy body image is to adopt body neutrality.
Body neutrality involves admitting that we don’t necessarily love everything about our body. It is ok to admit that we feel neutral or even indifferent about our body. With this admittance, however; we must also realize that our worth and value do not lie in our shape or our size or in any other aspect of our appearance.
We do ourselves such a disservice if we think that just because we don’t look like the woman standing next to us that we deem as beautiful or “perfect”, then we are less than or imperfect. There is no “perfect” body type. There is no “perfect” shape, size or look.
A second key action we can do to grasp and maintain a positive body image is to practice health-focused self-care.
Self-care should focus on doing things that make us feel good about the body we have now… not the one we dream about or envision ourselves having once we’ve reached a certain goal we’ve set for ourselves.
We might be holding on to a certain dress or outfit because we plan to eventually lose weight, but such a habit can make it hard to feel good about ourselves today. Celebrate the outfits we can fit and wear well TODAY! Our body may change in the future as we continue on our health journey, but to maintain a positive body image … we must celebrate how we look in the here and now!
Seek out people who have the same outlook about body image. Being around someone who constantly talks bad about themselves will have an adverse effect on you. Protect your mental space. After all, remember the saying “we are what we eat.” Well, “we are what we think” as well.
I leave you with these exercises to practice in your daily or weekly routine:
Give your positive affirmations.
Think healthier ~ not skinnier.
Compliment others more often.
Surround yourself with positive people/women.
Focus on the things you love about yourself.
STOP comparing yourself to others.
STOP negative self-talk. (i.e. my stomach is so fat, my arms are flabby, my legs are so skinny).
Indulge in retreats for yourself ~ a luxurious bath, a nature walk, a good nap, a car ride in the countryside.
Remember … happiness is fleeting. It can be here one day and gone the next. We are striving for pure joy. Joy with who we are right now, right here.
By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.