“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a [person] being unapologetically [themselves]; comfortable in [their] perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
In the ongoing debate about weight, fitness, and what it means to be healthy, there has been a rise in the idea of accepting yourself exactly where and how you are. Contrary to the idea of complacency or giving up, body positivity does not mean continuing negative patterns of eating and activity that keep you from enjoying glowing good health. Rather, body positivity means loving all of yourself, the perfect and imperfect parts, as you work towards increasing mental and physical health.
This can be harder than it sounds. Every day we are inundated with messages that “thin” means healthy and being young is the only way to be beautiful. We see photos of impossibly fit 20-somethings bending into dramatic yoga poses, or hard-bodied athletic millennials running across beautiful landscapes.
These curated images do not reflect the reality of the world in general and of most people specifically. The images are photoshopped, styled, and carefully presented to tell a story that may or may not actually be true.
To combat these ever-present false narratives, many turn to inspirational body positivity quotes to remind themselves that health and beauty can happen at any size and any stage of life. These quotes pair well with the four things that body positive, confident people do.
1. Body positive people associate with other body positive people
“Step away from the Mean Girls……and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks.
Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.
This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”
To begin to love yourself just as you are includes surrounding yourself with people who also love you just as you are. Body positive people step away from those who would insult or belittle them. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people makes it easier to make positive changes.
Likewise, body positive people work hard to silence the Mean Girl in their heads. They do not say anything to or about themselves that they would not say to a friend. This is perhaps a bigger challenge for many than changing a friend group, but it is work worth doing.
Loving yourself with a chronic illness can pose a special challenge. You may not be able to do things you used to do, and your body may be changing. Surround yourself with people who celebrate you as you are, even in illness.
2. Body positive people believe in themselves as whole, valuable people, not inherently flawed people who must be fixed
“You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.”
– Geneen Roth, Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
If you believe what the media (TV, the internet, and advertisements) tell you, there is only one way to look, and everything else needs to be fixed. Body positivity quotes inspire us to realize that the idea of perfection is problematic, not the body itself.
Even as you work towards being the healthiest person you can be, body positive people realize that health is a journey, not a destination. Shame and fear is not their default mode of operation.
Pain patients may feel flawed and broken, but thinking in a body positive way turns that thought on its head. You are not flawed or broken, and beating yourself up with that idea won’t help relieve the pain.
3. Body positive people feel gratitude for the countless things their bodies can do right now
“Body acceptance means, as much as possible, approving of and loving your body, despite its ‘imperfections,’ real or perceived. That means accepting that your body is fatter than some others, or thinner than some others, that your eyes are a little crooked, that you have a disability that makes walking difficult, that you have health concerns that you have to deal with — but that all of that doesn’t mean that you need to be ashamed of your body or try to change it. Body acceptance allows for the fact that there is a diversity of bodies in the world, and that there’s no wrong way to have one.”
– Golda Poretsky
Body positive people understand that different bodies are capable of different things. Some are more flexible, some are more muscular, and so on. They accept that even if they do 100 vertical leaps daily they may never be able to dunk a basketball, but because those leaps feel good, they do them anyway.
Body positivity quotes like this one remind us that diversity in size, shape, and fitness are all normal in the world. While physical health is the most important thing, the end goal should not be a cookie cutter physique. Rather, body positive people celebrate the beautiful things they can do right now as they work towards their optimal level of health.
4. Body positive people eat when they are hungry, drink when they are thirsty, and enjoy their food
“The path to healthy body, and happy soul is based upon self-study, mindfulness, love and awareness. Understanding our relationship to eating cultivates a lot of insights and helps us start living our highest potential.”
― Natasa Pantovic Nuit, Mindful Eating: Exercises with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes
In the U.S. we have moved away from conscious, mindful eating and listening to our bodies when it comes to food. Food is instead used to comfort us when we are upset or occupy us when we are bored.
Body positive people eat only when they are hungry, and they savor every bite. It may seem a small thing, but taking the time to slowly enjoy each meal and snack from preparation to consumption can actually help improve your diet.
This mindful eating can help pain patients to better understand their bodies and what helps them feel better. Taking the time to eat delicious food, lovingly prepared, is a deeply nourishing act that can result in positive steps towards loving yourself more with every bite.
Are there any body positivity quotes that speak to you? Share them in the comments!