your body is not the problem
As a Style + Confidence Coach who teaches body acceptance and self confidence, I believe in the sentiment behind the "Be confident. Love your body. All bodies are beautiful" messages. These campaigns promote what I do and we genuinely need that reinforcement.
But what if these words just don't resonate? What if they don't really do anything to change anyone's confidence?
I've spent years convincing women that they are beautiful, but no matter how much I preach self-love, body positivity isn't just miraculously born.
Tossing out a lifetime of body hang-ups is far more complicated than taking a selfie if your rolls and attaching a few “empowering” hashtags on social media.
Countless women confide in me about their insecurities and body hang-ups, women who hate their bodies and who have been on diets since they were 13. So I understand how harmful the flippant "love yourself just the way you are" message can be. Because an individual's experience of insecurity, doubt and shame IS valid.
The body-positivity movement has encouraged us to celebrate our bodies, regardless of shape or size and addressed toxic messages about bikini perfect bodies and unrealistic beauty ideals that continue to lurk in our cultural conversation. But the tug-of-war between the “love yourself no matter what” message and the realities of what it takes to actually do that, creates a tension I witness far too often. We feel guilty for not loving our bodies.
The reality is we live in a culture that makes it nigh impossible to feel positive about our bodies every day. It’s a worthy goal to work toward, but we do not have to feel fabulous about all aspects of our bodies all the time. We all have days when we don't like our reflection. That's not only OK, it's normal! And it does not make you a failure.
It's my opinion that there is more importance in focusing on self acceptance rather than feeling guilty for not loving our bodies. And the key to body acceptance is to shift our focus from what we look like to who we are.