After working with clients over the past few years, I often see the same misinterpretations of body positivity pop up over and over. The harm in these “myths” is that they set false expectations of what being body positive is all about.
In preparation for our upcoming retreat (The Reclaim Retreat… keep reading for more details), Sarah Vance and I wanted to flip the script and bust 3 body positivity myths that need to die.
Myth #1: Being body positive means you “love your body.”
This one eats me alive from the inside like a bad mussel. It’s easy to believe this when you see mainstream body positive videos and images that portray this idea that being body positive means you shake your booty and “love your body.”
Truth: Body positivity is about having a core belief that ALL bodies, including yours, are valuable and worthy.
It is rooted in feminism and fat acceptance.
When you embody this belief, you don’t really think about your body anymore and your energy can be diverted to more useful things, like standing up to the subtle sexism in your workplace or making cinnamon buns.
We’ve been told over and over that “being beautiful” is a badge of honor that we should all be striving for, so it takes a while to get comfortable with being a beauty-chasing dropout and to get to know the soul underneath your exterior so she can take centre stage.
If I were to describe who I am, I would say that I’m a perfect blend of adventurous and introverted and that I value comfort, adventure, authenticity, freedom, connection and justice.
However, I didn’t know or own these things about myself for the longest time because I believed my body defined who I was. Freedom, connection and authenticity were all dampened when I was obsessing over food and making my life’s purpose to fit my thighs into smaller jeans.
It wasn’t until I let go of who I thought I “should” be and started standing in who I was, that I was able to express these parts of myself and experience things like freedom and connection on a deeper level. When you do that, you don’t really think about your body anymore.
Myth #2: Being body positive means that you’re all good all the time.
Believing that you’re good enough doesn’t mean that you think you’re all good all the time and putting that kind of pressure on yourself is a recipe for criticism and doubt.
We’re made up of different parts that we like and that we may not like and accepting all of those parts of ourselves is imperative to believing that you are worthy.
Perfectionism makes us strive to like every part of ourselves and this has set us up for feelings of inadequacy and failure.
Truth: Acceptance is about accepting the wide range of what makes you who you are, not just what is deemed as good.
I am optimistic, compassionate and non-judgmental. But, I’m also contemplative (have the worst time responding on my feet), shy, impatient and will most definitely curse in my car at an elderly person J-walking.
I may not like these things about myself, but I accept them and embrace the fact that this is what makes me a complex human being.
Discovering all the different parts of yourself and learning to welcome and accept them (even the icky parts) is imperative to body positivity.
Myth #3: Self-care is all about bubble baths, indulgences and pretending you’re Mariah Carey.
This one really needs to die.
Self-care is about nurturing and preserving who you are. It’s a way of respecting and honoring yourself. It’s looks different for everybody and it’s not something strictly reserved for one day of the week.
Truth: Self-care isn’t always glamorous. It doesn’t always feel good. It’s not a coping mechanism, nor is it a band-aid for emotional discomfort.
Sometimes I really don’t like doing acts of self-care (like talking about feelings…ugh), but I know they are absolutely necessary to my mental and physical well-being.
Self-care is about self-preservation and doing the things you know you need to do to feel recharged.
These are 3 core concepts that Sarah Vance and I will be exploring in depth to help you reclaim your worth and rock your life at the Reclaim Retreat happening this May in San Diego. We have 5 spots open and registration ends Jan 31st.