Many of us only truly learn to love ourselves and our bodies fairly late in life. Prior to that, we tend to spend time and energy judging ourselves about things we cannot change. Self-love is a skill made difficult to attain by the very impractical beauty standards that are popular today.
Most of us grow up feeling some dissatisfaction with our bodies as social expectations and advertising drive us to compare ourselves to some polished aesthetic we would like to inhabit instead. This is convenient for those in the beauty industry because it gives them the opportunity to sell us temporary “fixes” for our dissatisfaction.
The beauty industry makes a lot of money. This isn’t a bad thing in itself. What makes it sinister is that the industry profits off of vilifying the expressions of natural processes we all go through, such as stretch marks, wrinkles, and body hair. There are plenty of products out there that help us take care of our bodies (something we should all strive to do), but it’s not a stretch to say that the world is working against us when it comes to seeing ourselves as beautiful in our natural forms.
Body positivity is not only about being able to appreciate your appearance but about seeing your body as a vessel you enjoy living in, which goes hand in hand with being the person you want to be.
The world around us is constantly telling us what is ‘good’ and what is ‘normal’ through ads and movie casts and magazine covers. When we don’t fit that description, we feel like there’s something wrong with us. When a certain body type or skin color is nowhere to be seen in the world’s definition of beauty, it sends a message that the people in these categories are ‘less than’. It’s high time we recognize bodies of all kinds as valid.
Ultimately, no one but you has the right to dictate how you should look or how you should feel about the way you look. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, and the only beholder that truly matters when it comes to your body is you.
Self-acceptance isn’t just something that magically happens; it’s a demanding process that can involve working against years of beating down on oneself, sometimes against negative onslaughts from family, peers, or strangers. But know this: you deserve to heal, and are worth the effort it takes to get you to a healthy place.
One of the ways to love your body is to improve women’s health. The women’s hormonal system is complex, and we are only scratching the surface here. Hormones often work in combination to regulate the complex systems in our bodies and affect our moods. If you think you are experiencing mood swings, keep a mood journal so you can track how you feel through the different stages. You could track a period with a safety-free tool. The WomanLog online period calculator helps you predict the start date for your next period and fertility window and helps you understand and accept your body.
The world is diverse, and the beauty within it is diverse, too.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.