This time of year, we hear so many messages about how to perfect our bodies into some society-imposed image of what’s considered “beautiful.”
But here’s the thing… that whole concept of “beauty” is made up. It’s make-believe. As a society, we invented it. As women, we can choose to listen to it—or not.
No matter what advertisers, magazines, movies or social media would have you believe, there is no one version of beautiful.
There’s no specific age, weight, height or body shape that’s beautiful. All ages are beautiful. Just like all body types and shapes are beautiful.
In fact, there are over 3.8 billion women in the world. That means there are potentially 3.8 billion versions of “beautiful.”
It’s just a matter of recognizing that beauty in ourselves—and appreciating it—especially as we age and grow into who we’re meant to be.
This year, we challenge you to tune out those messages of what “beauty” is supposed to be and instead focus on loving your body just as it is.
As you take this journey, here are a few ideas you may want to experiment with…
Practice loving your least favorite parts.
We all have spots on our bodies that we don’t love as much as we could. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to appreciate them.
Think of your body like a spouse or long-term partner. As much as you may love your life partner, there will always be one or two things about that person that you classify as your “least favorite.” (Like snoring, for example, or leaving the toothpaste cap off.)
Your body is the same way. As much as your body cares for you (literally… it keeps you alive), there may be one or two things your body doesn’t have or doesn’t do that you wish it did.
And guess what? That’s okay.
For every least favorite part you have, there’s another woman who wishes she had what you have. While you may wish you were a little taller, there’s another woman who wishes she could be “normal size” like you. For every silver hair that you don’t care for, there’s another woman wishing her hair would turn your beautiful shade of silver.
For every woman who wishes she were younger, there’s another woman out there wishing she could make it to her 50s, 60s or 70s.
So if you find yourself focusing on your least favorite parts, take a deep breath. Count to five. Mindfully practice loving your entire body—including your least favorite parts.
Say to yourself, “I love my body because it’s mine. I love that part because it’s part of me. Because it works. Because my body is keeping me alive and giving me amazing opportunities to live in this world.”
Your body also allows you to show all forms of kindness.It’s why you can speak words of comfort when loved ones (or complete strangers) need to hear those words. It’s why you can wrap your arms around your friends and family to show you love them. It allows you to physically and/or emotionally care for other people in all of the years of your life. That kindness makes you beautiful. What your body can do for yourself and others gives you a higher form of beauty that radiates from the inside out. We think that type of beauty is absolutely stunning on every woman.
So why not celebrate it? Why not celebrate all the amazing things your body can do right now?
Try giving yourself permission to remember (and celebrate) everything your body does. Whether that’s walking across the room or traveling across the country… whether that’s playing with your grandchildren or caring for complete strangers… whether that’s showing kindness with your words or your actions… in every case, your beautiful body makes all that possible.
Spread the word… body positivity = life positivity.
So this year, try encouraging your friends to be positive about their own bodies so they, in turn, can encourage you.
If you hear a girlfriend lamenting her looks, try complimenting her on all the lovely parts of her body that perhaps she overlooks. In addition to how she looks, remind her of all the amazing, beautiful things that her body does.
Also, we suggest talking to your friends about society’s view of beauty. Explain that there is no one version of beautiful. As we age, we have the potential to form an even deeper, richer form of beauty—if we take the time to appreciate it.
In short, spread the word about body positivity. Talk about how being positive about yourself and your body can lead to an overall positive outlook on life. Challenge your friends to join you in loving their own bodies and their lives. Be a source of positivity to others, and they (hopefully) will do the same for you.
Tell us: What do you love about your body right now? What do you think about this challenge of loving your own body this year?