We see it every day: Women with curves are on the front cover of Sports Illustrated and members of the LGBTQ community preaching free love and good vibes over social media. We are finally living in a world open to acceptance, where we can be free to be who we are and love who we love. But, does this mean we love who we are? Does this mean that since society says it is okay to be thin or curvy that we think it’s okay? No, not really.
Just because we know we are loved and accepted does not mean we take the extra step to love and accept ourselves. It is not always easy to see someone preaching “big and beautiful” and feel like your curves are actually accepted.
But why is that?
What keeps those feelings of self-doubt floating around our minds when we are told we are perfect just the way we are?
It is because we do not allow ourselves to incorporate three basic traits into our daily lives: Love, forgiveness and humor.
We are taught self-love is the most important trait and that you must learn to love yourself before you love others. Although it is healthy and important to love yourself, sometimes, in the process of finding love for ourselves, we do not allow love of any kind in. We disregard the love from our family and we ignore the love given to us by our friends. It is acceptable to learn to love yourself and learn what it feels like to be loved by others as well. So, if we feel love, we can learn to accept love. If we learn to accept love, we can learn to give love.
Forgiveness is tough. We can forgive others and look past the mistakes they make but when it becomes personal, it gets a little tricky. The grudge we create for ourselves, subconsciously, make that body positivity we are striving for just a little farther out of reach. Maybe we start a diet and cheat a little two days into it. Maybe we begin a workout routine and it only lasts for a week. Things like this can definitely cause some frustration but that should be the extent of it; temporary frustration. Acknowledge that a mistake has happened forgive yourself because the point of life is not to diet and go to the gym. Continue going to the gym because you enjoy it. Change your eating habits for your health, your well-being, your happiness. To forgive is to move forward. Holding a grudge with yourself will only result in the lack of results. Keep pushing forward, we are only human.
Lastly, we forget to introduce humor. Laugh at the stigma that we still remain to see within the media, regardless of the self-love action going on. There are still girls that we see with the “perfect” bodies and men we see who are “perfectly” buff with symmetrical abs and 15 inch biceps. Those bodies are what Americans have portrayed to be ideal. This is a stigma that we, as a society, is slowly breaking down but we are not quite there yet. Instead of focusing on how you wish you could be them, chuckle at the absurd idea that every human should look that way.
In a study don’t by Psychology Today it was shown that women have a higher sense of self- worth after looking at an Instagram account created to challenge the societal norms. Celest Barber is a famous instagramer who creates “images of celebrities and models and recreates them herself in a humorous way. Both the original image and her parody image are posted side by side, accompanied by a witty comment. Together, her posts poke fun at our society’s absurd and unrealistic appearance ideals.” In this study they had a separate control group of women who only looked only at the model pictures.
The study proceed as follows:
Before and after viewing the images, all women completed questionnaires to assess their mood and how they feel about their body. The researchers found that the women who viewed Celeste Barber’s parody images experienced an increase in body satisfaction compared to the women in the control group. Further, the women in the control group, who only viewed the images of the celebrities and models, experienced a decrease in happiness. With this being said, it is easy to see how humor can be used to change the perspective we have on our bodies. It is relieving to see people who look like we do, normal, on a large platform similar to models and celebrities.
Saying something and actually doing something about the way we feel about ourselves are very different. It is important to surround yourself with positive people and good vibes. It’s summertime here and Florida and EVERYONE has a “Beach Body.” So enjoy the sun and the waves and love yourself just the way you are!