Body-Positivity: Excuse or Remedy?

Let’s talk about a buzzword: body positivity. What is it all about? Body positivity is about having a positive view of one’s body. It can be helpful in fighting the self-hate my feel towards our bodies. It is a topic especially prominent among people with a high BMI. The goal is to not feel bad about how much we weigh, or how we look.

This is a double-edged sword. The thing is: the way we look influences the way we feel. That is a fact. And while self-acceptance is a huge part for anyone not only those fighting mental disease, if taken over the top it can become toxic. If our body is not healthy we will naturally not feel as good. We will not feel as confident. And that, I believe, is a good thing. If we are out of shape, we should be putting in the work to get back into shape. Not because of what other people might think of ourselves. But because we respect ourselves. Body positivity can turn off that voice inside our heads that’s telling us to get off the sofa and work out, even though a work out would be really beneficial to us. Way more beneficial than just trying to accept us. Body positivity therefore stops us from trying to get the body we dream of. And while of course we cannot work in order to become taller, we can work in order to become slimmer. And the good thing is: if we manage to do so, we will get to be so proud of ourselves. And it will be real. It will not be some mantra that we believe because we repeated it every other hour.

The thing is: Confidence isn’t about how we look. There are countless people out there who have a near perfect body but are not happy. Body positivity makes it sound like a lower BMI would be the one thing that could make us happy, but really we don’t have to work for it, since we are positive about our bodies. But that is not true. We can be way more positive about our bodies, if we keep improving them. The reason exercising consistently makes happy, is that it’s tough, but once we are done we have achieved something. And that is what we get to be proud of. This is also why exercise boosts confidence. Because it teaches us, that if we put our minds to something we can make it.

Taking care of ourselves and our bodies is a matter of self-respect. Body positivity makes it seem like not taking care of our bodies by watching our nutrition and exercising is a matter of confidence and individuality and confidence. And that is a problem, in fact, not taking care of ourselves is all about laziness and will actually decrease our confidence.

I am very much against shaming others for their bodies, but really we should all be very much against shaming anyone for any reason. It is just no our place. And we never know how much someone has been working on something. We might be grossly misjudging and hurting someone. They might be overweight due to a medication. Or any other reason, that we cannot see. So while bodypositivity can be missused in order to stay lazy, let’s not jump to any conclusions.

While I do believe a body positivity can be misunderstood and used to promote laziness there is the other side to it: The part where we come to terms with our height or the size of our feet. Body positivity can help us to accept that when we go for a run for the first time in a year, we don’t get to run 5 Miles. Body positivity is a great way to fight perfectionism and focus on growing instead. And that is so vital. Perfectionism does not only make us not feel good but eventually will also make us stop trying to become better, since we can never be perfect.

Body positivity helps us focus on the good parts. It helps fight negativity. And that is great. When it comes down to it, it is all about balance. Body positivity won’t make us happy. Neither will having the perfect body. But improving will. Taking care of ourselves will communicate to ourselves, that we value ourselves way more than just saying that we value ourselves.

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