Our bodies are wonderful landscapes. On our journeys toward becoming more comfortable in our own skin, we often focus on the characteristics we think are our "best" ones, like our eyes or hair. There are grosser things about your body you should learn to love too, though, if you want to build a complete foundation of acceptance. The truth is that no part of our wonderful, hard-working bodies is truly gross in the regular definition of the word — but often times there's a lot to fully understand before we're comfortable with everything. When you really love yourself and your body, you don't just love it when you think it's magazine-ready and decked out in cute outfits. You also have to love and appreciate it when it's looking a little less picture-perfect.
If you take the time to do these investigations of parts of the body that some people consider gross, you'll have a full appreciation of exactly who you are, warts and all. No hiding. No pretending. It's kind of like learning to love a new partner. You love unconditionally. You don't just love him or her when he or she is all decked out for date night or killing it at the top of his or her game. You also have to love that person when they're vomiting from illness, stinky after a workout, or suffering from a weird, gross rash. Doing the following will help you gain a higher knowledge of your body so you can fall even deeper in love with your whole package.
1. Examine Your Vagina
You gotta get up in there. You just do. Not only does having an up-close and personal relationship with your lady bits help you identify potential health problems, it also helps you know what you like sexually. According to the Feminist Women's Health Center, a vaginal self-exam can be an empowering and transformative experience. Vagina love is at the center (literally) of a love affair with your own body.
2. Let Your Body Hair Grow Out, Or Don't
How can you truly love your body if you don't really know what it looks like? Hair is just hair. While you or your partner might find hair in certain areas unattractive, the truth is, where hair grows on your body has absolutely zero to do with who you are as a person. Having said this — if you're into wanting to explore your natural body a bit more, why not let it grow out and then take a good look at yourself in your full, natural glory? Then run to your waxer if you must, but because you want to and not because you feel like you have to.
3. Look At Your Anus In The Mirror
This is the part of your body you probably see the least. But guess what? Your sex partners probably see it all the time, even if you don't have anal sex. Shame about the natural appearance of our back doors has spurred an industry of bleaching and waxing. You have no shame. And, not to be crass, but if you can love your own b-hole, you can love anything on your body.
4. Skip Your Daily Shower Once In Awhile
Don't let yourself be shamed into unnecessary body rituals because you believe you will somehow be gross otherwise. According to dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch in an article for Essence, showering every day can dry out your hair and skin and isn't really necessary to maintain good hygiene. If you're clean and you smell good, why not sleep in?
5. Skip A Few (Or All) Steps In Your Beauty Routine
If you're sick, running late, or even just feeling lazy, give yourself permission to look it. You're not defined by how you look, and part of being body positive is accepting and loving your body in all circumstances and expecting those around you to respect your choices. If you try skipping a few steps in your beauty routine just for the heck of it, you may discover that you feel just as confident as usual without all the prep work — and if you don't, then maybe that's worth some personal soul searching to figure out why that is. You're fabulous no matter what.
6. Wear Something That Shows Off Your Body If You Want
I wish I had a dollar for every time I saw a woman who doesn't fit traditional beauty stereotypes wearing something even slightly revealing, only to hear or read a comment about how gross she looked. Screw it. Be "gross." Because gross in this instance actually means "fabulous." Having the confidence to do you in spite of potential haters is something we should all practice at any size. Wearing something that shows off your body may make you feel uncomfortable, or it may be right up your alley. Either way, it's important to remember that nobody tells you what you should or shouldn't wear. Forget that. So if you don't want to wear something revealing, that's totally fine, but again, this is worth asking yourself some questions. Do you no want to wear that crop top because you just don't like crop tops... or because you feel like society wouldn't approve?
You don't have to do all or any of these things to be body positive. And if you do them, you don't have to necessarily enjoy them. My point is, true self love and real body positivity doesn't just apply to your A game.
Images: Giphy (6); Pexels