Body positivity is a term that has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially across social media platforms, but it's a movement that has origins as far back as the 1960s.
As you might guess from the name, body positivity is about fostering a positive self-image and body acceptance regardless of weight, size, shape, condition, or other societal ideals.
On the flip side of body positivity is an unhealthy trend toward perfectionism that is becoming more insidious. No matter which social media network you browse these days, you will probably see heavily-filtered, carefully arranged photos that portray the illusion of flawless bodies.
If you were to compare yourself to these seemingly perfect specimens, it would be easy to feel inferior and defeated because you can't compete with that level of perfection.
Maybe you have even tried in the past, pushing your body to extremes with diet, exercise, or other measures so that you could finally feel good about yourself. If so, then you know how futile it is long-term.
Trying to force your body to conform to societal ideals that are constantly changing only makes you feel worse about yourself. It's a losing battle, no matter how hard you may try.
One of the most empowering decisions that you will ever make is to stop comparing yourself to other people, bodily or otherwise.
When you're clear on the fact that people only share what they want you to see, and there is probably a different reality behind the camera, you will free yourself to focus on what really matters: how you feel about your own body.
When you look at your body as it is today, are you able to love it unconditionally? It's okay if your first response is, “No way! I can't love my body until that's gone. That scar, that dimple, that fat, that condition; it's preventing me from loving my body.”
You might believe that you can't feel good about your body until it's as close to perfection as it can possibly get, but that too is a losing battle, because there will always be something else that you can point to and say, “I don't like that.”
Rather than trying to love your flaws, a gentler approach might be to start accepting and appreciating your body as it is right now. Look beyond appearances and marvel at how miraculous your body really is.
Think about everything your body has gone through since you've been born, all of the injuries and illnesses you have overcome, all of the demands you have placed on your body day after day, and multiply that by the thousands of days that you have been alive.
Through all of that, your body is still going strong, still adapting, still persevering. Your body is always there for you, no matter how much you punish it, belittle it, or hate it.
When you recognise the fact that your body has far more positive features than negative, and if you can keep reminding yourself that there is no such thing as a perfect body, suddenly that pressure to compete subsides.
As you practice simply accepting and appreciating all of you, your body will reflect that positivity back to you. Those so-called flaws and shortcomings suddenly won't seem so harsh and glaring anymore.
You will recognise that they're just one small part of you, and they're really insignificant in the big picture of the miraculous being that you are.
Even if you still strive to improve your well-being and physical appearance, you will at least be doing so from a place of self-care and support, rather than punishment.
Your goals and priorities will shift so that you aim for feeling good in your body, not just feeling good about your body.
Join us for our "Love The Skin You're In" series on Instagram every Wednesday at 7:00pm AEDT this February where we go live with experts to talk about Body Positivity, Acceptance & Self-Love and more via www.instagram.com/merindahbotanicals