In some ways, body positivity can sometimes feel like a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have the mainstream media and all you've ever known telling you to hate yourself. On the other, you have the activists telling you to love yourself. And somewhere in between, you have yourself. Probably unsure of how to sneak body positivity into your everyday life because "loving yourself" isn't just a magical button that you decide to press one day.
The messages of self-love we're starting to receive from body posi proponents, bloggers, activists, social media users, artists, and more is truly remarkable. But sometimes, the road to body positivism is left a little vague. And then you might end up feeling even worse than you did 10 minutes ago because you just can't seem to look in the mirror and love what you see.
Body positivity might be a buzzword these days, but it's not simple. Most of us have been conditioned for years, decades even, to feel badly about the way we look. To compare ourselves to others, or wish we had "her legs" or "her ass." To put off traveling until we drop two sizes or to have sex with the lights off so our partner can't see our flabby bits. Getting over that stuff takes some serious re-programing. But it doesn't have to be impossible. Personally, I've found that it's the little things that count. Like sneaking body positivity into my everyday life in small, easy ways. Here's how I sometimes do so.
1. Have A Sweet Treat
Nothing makes me feel like I'm giving my body a gift more than some organic peanut butter cups and a side of Ben & Jerry's. Heaven incarnate, guys.
2. Or A Green One
Similarly, your body might revel in the taste of guacamole or kale. To each their own.
3. Buy A Little Something, Something
Divine Filth No. 5 Sweater, $55, etsy.com
If finances allow, why not decorate your body a little? Nothing says "I love you" like a picture of Divine's face.
4. Close Your Eyes
Just close them. Take a minute to breathe. Tell yourself it's OK. You're a fucking star.
5. Do Your Makeup
There are loads of humans who find empowerment in the form of a makeup brush. If that's the case for you, take some time to get dolled up. Even if you're just chilling at home, you'll probably feel like the luxurious goddess that you are.
6. Don't Do Your Makeup
Conversely, why not ditch the makeup altogether if that's more up your street? Choose to revel in the wonders that is a bare naked face in its most natural of states.
7. Look In The Mirror
Maybe even smile to yourself while you're doing it. Say, "Hey there pretty thing. You are glorious. I just want to kiss your cheeks," or whatever derivative of that feels most appropriate to you.
8. Set Aside Some Solo Playtime
Don't underestimate the powers of masturbation. You can give your body some loving in one of the rawest ways there is to do so. And you'll probably feel a rush of endorphins afterwards, so that's something.
9. Or Joint Playtime
Sometimes work and commuting and stress and anxiety can get in the way of making time to have sex, be it with yourself or a partner. But I promise: Making that time will send your body some of the loving feels it deserves. And, let's be real, seeing someone swoon over the stupendousness of your body won't hurt either.
10. Browse Etsy
Chubby Mermaid Pin (Or Magnet), $20, etsy.com
Even if you don't buy anything, immerse yourself in the transformative powers of art. Etsy is filled with the coolest shit, including paintings and pins and jewelry and T-shirts all made with messages of self-love behind them. Immerse yourself in that world, and maybe start figuring out that you deserve to love yourself as much as this badass mermaid loves herself.
11. Wear Your Comfiest PJs
I don't know if this is just me, but slobbing around in my favorite pajamas is one of my favorite ways to unwind. I don't feel like I'm "wasting time" or like "I could be doing so many more productive things." It's a chance to detox, reconnect with my body after a long day, and remind myself that I'm a star.
12. Wear Your Glammiest Outfit
But, sometimes, there's just nothing like putting on a full face of sparkly makeup, the raddest matte lipstick, and an outfit that's on fire. I've gotten myself glammed-out to the max just to sit around watching Netflix. And I have no regrets.
13. Wear No Outfit
Please spend some time with your naked body. I don't just mean masturbating. Sitting or lying naked, getting to know your curves, coming to understand all your eccentricities and uniquenesses... all those things will serve as reminders to your body that it deserves affection.
14. Move Around While Naked
And once you're naked and you've come to learn about the texture of your rump, start moving around. Put on your favorite song, do the dishes, vacuum the rug, eat a cake pop. Whatever you do, you'll hopefully feel free and at one with your body. Just make sure you close the curtains if you don't want your neighbors to sneak a couple peaks.
15. Find A New Signature Scent
Your body is a garden of wonders. Why not let it smell like one?
16. Or Lipstick Signature
I don't know what it is about lipstick. But man, does a bold red lip make me feel ready to take on the galaxy. Sometimes it makes me feel ready to take on the galaxy while simultaneously making me feel like a wicked femme fatale. All good things.
17. Go Outside
Don't forget that your body needs fresh air. It needs sunlight. It needs changes of atmosphere. I know the deal: Work is work, and when you're sitting at a desk for eight hours a day with 12 hours worth of paperwork to get through, stepping outside doesn't always feel like a priority. But trying to set aside at least 15 minutes a day to separate yourself and get that fresh air might just make you feel more comfortable in your body for the rest of the day.
18. Do Nothing For 10 Minutes
I mean it. Nothing at all. We rarely ever treat ourselves in the ways our bodies deserve. It's always rush, rush, rush; work, work, work. STRESS. STRESS. STRESS. So take some chill time. Sit with your eyes closed and do nothing. Your brain might be going a million miles a minute at first, but just stick with it until you feel more relaxed in the mind and body than you did before you started.
19. Visit Your Favorite Blogger's Page
Sometimes seeing people openly loving themselves or treating their bodies with care and attention is enough to remind yourself that you should be doing the same. If you have a favorite blogger who you know has values rooted in body positivism, their self love will undoubtedly inspire your own.
20. Change Your Social Media Topics
Stop subscribing to any channels or hashtags or accounts that only bring negativity to your life. Be it a thinspiration Instagram or a fat shaming group, just don't click. There are so many voices, bodies, lives, experiences to learn and grow from. Why choose to only focus on the ones making you feel worse?
21. Text Someone Good
I truly hope that most folks have at least one person who always talks them out of a bad day. One person who always makes them feel beautiful. One person who understands why body positivity matters. Get in touch with that person!
22. Put On Your Fave Dance Tune
And go nuts! Dancing is one of the best ways to release steam, show appreciation for your body, and maybe even laugh the stress of the day away.
23. Smoke Up
If you notice yourself loving our body when you smoke, then don't fear indulging from time to time. For a lot of humans, weed is a ticket to reduced anxiety, increased sex drive, or the desire to cuddle. And you know what? Cuddling yourself is kind of awesome. Especially when stoned.
24. Pour Yourself A Glass
If wine is something that makes you happy, why not make some one-on-one time with a hefty glass? Sometimes showing your body positivity is just about doing the things you know fill you with joy.
25. Tell Yourself There's No Such Thing As A "Cheat Day"
There really isn't. That cookie does not make you a terrible person. Just eat it, and move on please.
26. Or A "Bad" Body
Contrary to what you've probably been fed since Day 1, bad bodies don't exist. Everyone's interpretation of beauty is different. Everyone's preferences are unique. And every body — no matter what it looks like — is spectacular.
27. Read Inspirational Twitter Feeds
When I'm feeling weird about my body — overcome with anxiety or stress or feeling flawed as a human — I know I can turn to inspirational Twitter feeds. Sometimes the simple acknowledgment that we are all imperfect is enough to make me feel a little more self-loving.
28. Buy A Button
A Super Rad Button/Tiny Punk, $2.50, etsy.com
Buttons are small and usually cheap and they're a great way of spreading a body positive message. If you pin it on your handbag or favorite coat, you'll get a little dose of self-love every time you pick it up.
29. Check Out Some BoPo Art
Leg Hair Don't Care Body Positive Feminist Illustration Print, $5.93, etsy.com
Art is powerful, guys. One day I plan on decorating my entire house with unique body positive artwork that will always be there to tell me how great I am even when I don't believe it.
30. Find The Nearest $1 Pizza
Show your body some love by treating yourself to god's gift to the planet while keeping to your budget.
31. Feel Yourself
Tell yourself over and over again that your body is worthy of acceptance — that there is no way you could ever look that would change that fact.
32. Feel Yourself Again
Maybe do it literally this time. Give yourself an actual pat on the back, a tummy rub, a nice one-on-one hug. Anything to show physical love for your body.
33. Snap A Selfie
Tons of people find heaps of empowerment through the selfie. It's a method of self portraiture that allows you to present in exactly the way that you want to do so at any given moment. That autonomy is definitely conducive to body positivity.
34. Put On A BoPo Netflix Show
Get Orange Is The New Black or Broad City on ASAP. Both offer enough body diversity to prove that looking like yourself is often a better plan than striving to look like anyone else.
35. Pick Up An Empowering Book
Books are actual magic. Like, magic exists. And it's called books. Pick up a body positive novel or memoir and revel in opinions and experiences outside your own. In the long run, it'll probably make you appreciate your own opinions and experiences and even aesthetic just a little bit more.
36. Take A Bath
I am a religious taker of baths. The time set aside every night to soak my muscles and alleviate anything physical going on always transcends into the emotional.
37. Create A Safe Space In Said Bath
Add some bath bombs, sea salts, face masks, or oils into the mix and feel like the queen that you are.
38. Exercise (In A Way That Feels Right)
Fitness doesn't have to be about weight loss or dieting. It can just be about getting your heart rate up and showing your body that its abilities — whatever those abilities are — are something to be thankful for.
39. Make A List
It might sound like $10 therapy, but making a list of the things that could make you feel happier or more self-loving is a great way of getting your thoughts organized. Ask yourself what's preventing you from feeling body positive, and see what comes out onto the paper.
40. Write A Note
Now that you have your notebook out, I highly suggest writing yourself a little love note. It can be as succinct or detailed as you like — whatever's enough to make you remember that you are a goddess.
Intersectional Rosie The Riveter Print, $12, etsy.com
If you consider yourself (or hope to consider yourself) an intersectional feminist, it's crucial that you start being mindful of your privileges. Most of us have them, whether they come in the form of our skin color, our weight, our class, our physical abilities, our gender identity, or our sexuality. While we should use our platforms to help those more marginalized than ourselves be heard whenever we can, I've also found that the more I learn about identities different to my own, the more I grow to be appreciative of the wonderful diversity this world has to offer if only we let it.
42. Deactivate Your Accounts
Sometimes taking a step back from Internet trolls and body shaming social media accounts is the best way to go. Use your time offline to relax your mind and do something that reminds you of how much you love your body. Remember that no one can take that away.
43. Lather Your Bod
Take a nice, long shower. Use all your favorite soaps and foams. Cover yourself in head-to-toe bubbles. Just have fun with yourself.
44. Wear Lingerie For No Reason
Just a little exercise in enjoying your sexiness.
45. Then Take Pictures While Wearing It
And immortalize your sexiness.
46. Send Your Friend A Picture Of You Wearing It
If you're comfortable doing so, sending a photo of yourself that makes you feel body posi to a friend might serve as a reminder for both of you that living with a bit of vanity is actually a pretty healthy thing.
47. Try A Trend You've Always Wanted To
There's no reason not to!
48. Or An Alternative Style You Were Scared Of
No matter how "alternative" it is, you deserve to wear it. You deserve to feel good.
49. Listen To Activists
The world is filled with body negative voices. But you can choose to tune them out, and focus on the ones that yield only empowerment.
50. Vocalize Your Mantras
Think that sweater makes you look precious? Obsessed with your high waist shorts? Does your face glow like the moon? Say it aloud!
51. Listen To This
I mean, how could this not make you feel the self-love?
52. Don't Compare
Whenever you catch yourself about to compare your body or appearance to someone else, just stop. Everyone's allowed to be their badass selves, in their own individual ways.
53. Pay A Loved One An Unexpected Compliment
Because nothing says body positivity like sharing those feelings with other people who need them, too.
54. Pay A Stranger One Of Those Too
And you just might make someone's day.
55. And Pay Yourself One
But don't forget yourself. Never forget yourself. At the end of the day, no one person can teach you how to be body positive. It takes a lot of independent work, and immersing yourself in the voices of a ton of remarkable, radical humans. It's hard. And it's messy. And sometimes it'll hurt. But you'll come out of it believing that you are, in fact, glorious. And once you do? Life's going to get a hell of a lot more bearable. Maybe even fun.
Want more body positivity? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle's YouTube page for more inspo!
Images: Marie Southard Ospina (2); Pixabay (3); Andrew Zaeh (3), Bianca Consuji (4)/Bustle; nigeriandescent, firmbee/Unsplash; Fotolia (2); Giphy (1)