Body Acceptance: How Body Positivity Creates Pressure & Stress

Body positivity. 


A few years ago, this idea was all over social media: special hashtags on Instagram, related topics trending on Twitter- and I remember thinking, “finally, loving yourself is trendy!” 


For those of us who have struggled with self-confidence or body image, it felt like we were being given permission to finally stop criticizing ourselves. We could love ourselves! What a truly radical, freeing idea. 


Or, so we thought. 


Because it turns out, being positive about your body all the time is really hard. Sometimes, it feels really fake to look in the mirror, give yourself a hug and say, “I love you, body!” when you don’t believe it. And what happens then? What happens when we don’t always love every part of ourselves? 


What happens is, the “shoulds” start to come flooding in. I shouldn’t feel this way about myself. I should love my body. And because I’m not doing or feeling the things I “should”, something is wrong with me (hello, shame).


You begin to think, how have I failed at being body positive? I can’t even love myself correctly! 


But here’s the truth: you haven’t failed. Your body is worth loving, and you do deserve to feel at peace with your body. It’s just hard sometimes, and that’s okay. 


So, how do we call a truce between the parts of ourselves that know what we are worthy of, and the parts that make us doubt ourselves sometimes? 


Introducing: body acceptance. 


Body acceptance means I still acknowledge my body’s worth, regardless of how I happen to feel about my body that day. Despite my “flaws”, and how loud my bad body image thoughts are, I understand my body’s worth is constant and unwavering. 


It is understanding that your thoughts and feelings about your body changes, sometimes daily. Your worth does not. 


Body acceptance is: my body is worthy of love and respect on the days I feel confident.


Body acceptance is: my body is worthy of love and respect on the days my self-esteem is at an all-time low.


Body acceptance is: being worthy right now, even if I am still working on loving certain parts of myself. 


Body acceptance is understanding that my self-worth is not impacted by my mood, my self-esteem, or other’s opinions. My body is worthy of love and respect, PERIOD. Not just on the days I feel like it is. 


If you are interested in a simple way to implement body acceptance into your life, try practicing positive affirmations, but with a twist: replace “I am” with “I am working on believing”. 


Take, “I am beautiful”, for example. It would be great if we could all believe that about ourselves all the time, but sometimes we don’t, and that’s okay. 


Try instead: “I am working on believing that I am beautiful, even on the days when it is tough for me to see that”. 


You have permission to work towards making peace with your body. The work is ongoing and imperfect, but it’s real. And you don’t have to do it alone. I would love to work with you- schedule an appointment at Love Heal Grow Counseling today. 

Katie smiles at the camera. She is a Sacramento therapist that offers online therapy in California. Contact an online therapist for support today!

Hi, I’m Katie Woodson, therapist for individuals and couples at Love Heal Grow Counseling.

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