How often do you find yourself in a conversation with other people and the main dialogue is about how their clothes look, their body size, clothing size and what they wish they could change about their appearance? When you start to look for it, it is astonishing how many of our conversations are on the topic of body shame, body bashing and body talk in general.
The past and present world is filled with body talk, we see it in the media, in our friend groups, and in our workplaces - but the one place we should not be surrounded by negative body talk is in our homes.
Roughly 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and only 5% of women possess the body type that is often portrayed in the media as the “perfect body”. 95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25, and only 10% of people with an eating disorder will seek professional help.
How do we break out of this cycle of negative body image? How do we make changes for the future generations? Well, unfortunately there is no easy solution to this problem. The best way to begin is within your home and your circle of friends.
A conversation that we have been having here at the store is about how we can create a space for ourselves and the upcoming generations where body positivity is normalized. Body negativity is only going to develop in the young and future generations from being exposed to it in their homes and their nuclear family and friends. Ultimately, we need to start with ourselves and change our narrative about how we speak and treat ourselves. This is not an easy task or a task that happens overnight, but there are some things that will aide us in the transition from body negativity to body positivity.
One of the most effective ways to practice self-love is through speaking aloud and speaking it often. Giving yourself daily, verbal encouragement and reminders goes a long way. There are a couple ways you can go about doing this- this might mean saying something to yourself in the mirror in the morning, writing down daily encouragements into your phone, or placing encouraging sticky notes in different parts of your home. This might feel silly, but that does not mean its not helping you. A little silliness in life won’t hurt you.
Change your Compliments
The vocabulary we use when complimenting people is so important. Many of the compliments that people use can come off as commenting on somebodies body appearance, for example; “That dress looks so flattering!”. This comment can actually be damaging to a person’s psyche because they might feel as though they are not “flattering” outside of the dress. Instead, try to use compliments like the following which are focused on a personality rather than someone’s body.
Clothes that Fit
We all have those clothing items hanging in the back of our closet or tucked into a drawer that we have held onto because “one day they might fit again”. Well the time has come to donate them! They are not helping you in your journey to body positivity. It can be hard to get past sizing in clothing, but here’s the thing, sizing is irrelevant. There are no clothing manufacturers in the world that make everything fit exactly the same, sometimes you will be a XL, and sometimes you will be a 2XL. The size is not important, what’s important is how you feel in the clothes. It is time that we start the process of embracing our bodies by having clothes that fit us properly and that we feel good in regardless of the size on the tag.
Social media has become such a predominant part of our everyday lives, and it is important that the social media we are ingesting is positive for us. Curate your social media feed with positive people who practice self-love and encourage you to be who you are. Here is a list of the Valencia team’s favourite body positive influencers!
The journey to body positivity is hard and takes a lot of work. The most important things to remember are that your body got you to where you are today, to stop comparing yourself to others, and that we are trying to create a new world for future generations. This change will not happen overnight, and will not be easy but we owe it to ourselves and our future generations to change the narrative surrounding our bodies.