We all know February is the month surrounding love. In every store we walk into, we see heart-shaped chocolates, teddy bears wearing an “I love you beary much” shirt, and the giant bouquets of roses custom-made for “the one you love most.” However, it seems a lot of the time, we focus on showering others with love without loving ourselves first. It can be challenging at times to stop and think about the things we love about ourselves, especially when it comes to our physical appearance.
According to the National Library of Medicine, research found a correlation “between the frequency of comparing one’s own physical appearance to that of people followed on social media and body dissatisfaction” (NIH, 2021). It’s no surprise that when we are constantly scrolling and seeing what an “ideal” body should look like, we can get down on ourselves, instead of embracing body diversity. Body diversity is defined as “embracing all variations of the human body instead of exalting one as superior to others” (Vitale, Quail Bell Magazine, 2020). Body diversity plays such a significant role in how we view ourselves, others, and our overall health and wellness. When we begin to recognize our bodies are just as unique as our personalities and nothing to be ashamed of, we begin to love ourselves, care for ourselves better, and not grow insecurities or judgmental views towards others.
When we begin to silence our insecurities and view our bodies in a positive light, not only does our confidence grow, but our self-love rubs off on others. It can be tricky and maybe a bit uncomfortable to practice at first, but small changes make big differences over time. Some simple things we can do to start are:
- Writing down one thing daily that you’re grateful your body can do
- Looking at yourself and all your characteristics as a whole
- Wearing clothes that are both comfortable and stylish to you
- Focusing on health over outward appearance
- Telling yourself positive affirmations throughout the day
- Be kind and open minded to others!
Just as our interests, pet peeves, favorite color, goals, humor, and lives vary, so do our bodies– which, when you think about it, is actually a beautiful thing! Look at the wide variety of dog breeds there are. I think we can all agree that it’s much better than if there were only dalmatians roaming the earth. The same way we see their differences in fur, height, speed, and even slobbering, we embrace that they each come with their own journey and appearance and love them unconditionally, and it’s time we do the same with ourselves.
Body diversity opens our eyes to finding beauty in new ways and allows us to appreciate one another, as well as practice open mindedness, gratitude, and self-worth. So next time you go into a store and see all the bouquets of flowers, remember there’s a diverse arrangement, but they are all still embraced beautifully, just like you.