body positivity + mindfulness

body positivity and mindfulness

You know how once you become aware of something -- like the 2015 Honda Civic in blue or Trap Queen -- you seem to encounter it everywhere? I've been extremely aware of the negative body talk all around me lately and I can't believe I never noticed before how rampant it is. Sure, I would hear my girlfriends lament about their thighs if shopping for shorts came up in conversation, but the way all the women around me speak about eating, exercising, and existing in their bodies is so devastating.

Being body positive is something I really have to work at. It requires so much more than just saying I love the way my body looks just the way it is. I have to be compassionate towards myself both in private and in public in regards to my body because otherwise the damaging body-negative language will infiltrate and send me into a sad body spiral. Part of the way I've been more mindful about body positivity lately is by shifting the language I use to talk about my body. I wanted to share a few key phrases that have been really helping me in hopes that you'll embrace a little body celebration instead of body shame.

What I hear: "I've been so good/bad this week." I hear this phrase more than anything and it's really shocking how self-shaming it really is when you think about it. Eating shouldn't be seen as something we do that is right or wrong or something that should be rewarded or punished when we do it a certain way. Not only is this an unhealthy way to talk to yourself about food, but consider how it makes the people around you feel when you talk negatively about food choices that they might have made too.

Change the conversation: "How can I nourish myself right now?" Re-focusing the phrase from whether or not food is good or evil to thinking of it as something that energizes you is not only a more positive mindset, but will help you make healthier choices too. Your body doesn't always need a salad -- sometimes it needs protein, iron, or potassium. Getting in touch with what your body needs to be strong, focused, and productive is way more "right" than denying yourself certain foods because you've eaten salad four days this week.

What I hear: "My stomach will never be as flat as hers." Comparing your body to someone else's is natural in the society we live in, but it's also pretty irrelevant. There are so many factors that make her body the way it is and that make yours the way it is. Really, it's like trying to make your fingerprint look more like someone else's.

Change the conversation: "I love the way my shoulders look in this blouse." Admittedly, it can be tough to say you love a part of your body 100%. We're just not raised to do so. But, if you can take a baby step and throw yourself a compliment about the way you look, you'll start to appreciate other parts of your body too and won't feel as prone to comparison. I think the comparison burns the strongest in me when I'm focused on how pretty/successful someone else is and I'm not considering myself at all. If I spent 5 extra seconds a day complimenting my own unique beauty, I'd be a lot less likely to put myself down when I encounter someone else's.

What I hear: "This dress makes me look like a sausage." Comparing your body to sausage isn't very nice, especially when your body did nothing wrong. It's not your body's fault the dress doesn't fit right. Don't fault your body for the laundry list of faults of the retail industry.

Change the conversation: "This dress isn't worthy of my body." Instead of shaming your body for something that it didn't do wrong, put that energy into shaming the retail and fashion industries for not making clothing that fits a whole range of sizes and shapes. Or, if that advocacy isn't your style, just use the energy in hanging the dress back up and moving on to the next one feeling optimistic that a worthwhile dress is out there and will make you look and, more importantly, feel amazing.

What are some ways you've replaced negative body talk with body positivity?

11 comments

  1. I have also been struggling with this lately. I'm a long-time advocate for body positivity and self-love - at least when it comes to the people around me. But I don't do a great job of applying that thinking to myself. I catch myself speaking about my body in ways I would never say about anyone else or let my friends say about themselves, something I hope to change this year. I really appreciate these tips and your openness about self-imposed body shaming. Great post!

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  2. I love the idea of changing the conversation--this is something I need to start doing. I get so frustrated shopping, it's easy to blame myself and hard to remember--my body is NOT the problem!

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  3. This is fascinating, and I am so guilty of using each of those phrases! I try to generally be very confident (internally, not like, an asshole) because I know the reality is I have image issues just like everyone else. Very well-written, Nicole!

    ♥ perfectly Priya

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  4. I always use that line when I personal shop with people because it's true and it helps people stay focused on the mission: finding a dress that IS worthy!

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  5. I definitely have to give myself a pep talk in every dressing room so I don't direct my frustration with the clothes onto my body. Having a little shopping mantra -- or even listening to some fun music on the way to each store -- might be a good way to change the conversation just within yourself!

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  6. This is such a great post, Nicole! I am prone to comparing my self to others. Instead of allowing myself to be insecure about my appearance (or talents) I constantly repeat to myself "That woman's beauty is not relevant to my own". That is to say that whether or not someone else is beautiful or attractive or gifted has no bearing on the value of your beauty or your gifts. This mantra has really helped me stay positive about my body.

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  7. I love that so much! I constantly remind myself that 'her success is not my failure' but I hadn't connected it to body comparisons. Someone else's body existing beautifully doesn't make mine less beautiful or valuable.

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  8. thank you. thank you. thank you. Focus on the good things - food is there to fuel and make you feel better, not to reward or punish. I agree that we look at it as a reward or punishment and that is not healthy!

    xo, Maddy

    http://cassidylou.com

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  9. I love this, and these conversation (with others & with myself) shifts are something I am definitely being more mindful about lately. And honestly, since I tend to be more self-conscious in the summer with more of my limbs showing, I try to limit my mirror time. Because once I've walked away, I just don't worry about it.

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  10. LOVE this! Flipping your internal scripts is so key, whether it's body image, money mindset or general self-esteem. I think women in general tend to have a harder time with this, both because we're usually tuned in to the more emotional parts of our brain as well as because of the cultural stereotypes that most of us grow up around regarding what a woman "should" and "shouldn't" be. Becoming more mindful of your internal dialogue and changing the words that you use to describe yourself and your actions are SO important.

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  11. This brings up so many good points. I've recently had one of my close friends tell me that "I need to work on my upper body strength". Literally those are the words that came out of her mouth, not only that but she said it about 5 times that night. Granted she did have a few drinks (I wasn't drinking because I was the DD) but it really shocked me and threw me for a loop. For one, I really didn't know what to say after she said it because I knew that she had had a few drinks and was loose lipped but I have some major "hang ups" about my body image and I would never ever tell another woman what she needs to work on or improve on. I thought about it for weeks afterward and told my Husbear how upset I was about it and found myself looking at my body (that I have recently worked so hard to get back into shape over the past year) and images of myself and found myself picking them apart. Agreeing that I DO need to work on my arms and feeling that there are still things that I should be working on to improve myself and that's not right. I need to be happy with who I am right now and was very hurt by the suggestion that I perhaps need to change or workout even more than I already do. I haven't told my friend about how I felt that night and honestly don't even know if she rememered what she said to me and how it really effected me. I don't ever want to let someone else's negative throughts get to me and am sad that I did let it effect me so much.
    xoxo
    Taylor

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