Everyone Is Beautiful: Why Body Shaming Needs To Stop

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I will go ahead and be the first person to admit that I am not always very kind to myself when it comes to my appearance. I’ve been known to stand in front of the bathroom mirror, pinching, pulling, squeezing, and contorting my body and face into the “ideal” places. I’m an insecure individual, and I freely admit that. But what, exactly, do I have to be ashamed of?

The answer is simple: Absolutely nothing.

Yes, I’ve got ample curves, and my body outline doesn’t resemble an hourglass. Who decided that these qualities make me less attractive than someone else? It certainly wasn’t me, but I’ve bought into the modern beauty myth hook, line, and sinker.

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I know I’m not saying anything that one hundred other bloggers haven’t said before me. But it’s worth harping on. As women, we put so much pressure on ourselves to look the way society expects us to. We have to dress, fix our hair, our makeup, our eyebrows, the way the magazines and television shows tell us to. If we don’t, we’re no longer considered attractive, but alternative, non-traditional, rebellious, revolutionary, other. And that’s just twisted. It’s not natural.

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I want to challenge you, as well as myself, to start being more kind to your body. We need to start building ourselves up, not tearing ourselves down. We need to learn to brag about what makes us great, and stop complaining about our imagined flaws. It’s not going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to be really, really hard. But we can do it. Here’s how:

  • When you stand in front of a mirror, identify five things about your appearance that you like. Even if it’s always the same five things, remind yourself everyday that those parts of you are absolutely beautiful. You can’t say that you don’t like any part of yourself. You have to pick five things. Even if you don’t believe it when you say it at first, you’re going to tell yourself that you love your body.
  • When someone pays you a compliment about the way you look, accept it! Say thank you, and smile! Don’t brush them off and tell them they’re crazy. If they took the time to tell you your outfit looks nice, or that you have beautiful skin, they probably genuinely mean it.
  • If someone criticizes the way you look, stand up for yourself! Tell that person that the way you look is none of their business, and if they have a problem with it, they don’t have to look at you.
  • Exercise. It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 00 or a size 28. The number on your clothing tags means nothing, particularly when you don’t take care of yourself. You need exercise, it’s a proven fact. I’m preaching to myself on this one too, trust me. I’m a lazy bum, I hate working out, but it’s good for me. You don’t have to train for a marathon, you don’t have to do it to build muscle or lose pounds, you just have to move. Walk around the block a couple times, play Frisbee with your dog, push your niece on a swing. Just do something. One activity every day that makes you more active.
  • Eat right. Again, this has nothing to do with weight loss or weight gain. Everyone knows what’s good for you and what’s not, but many of us continue to feed ourselves food that is bad for us. I, personally, am an over-eater. It’s really hard to tell myself that eating two enormous bowls of salad is no better than gorging myself on chocolate chip cookies. Whether it’s vegetables or candy, if you eat until you feel sick, you’re not eating right. Neither should you eat too little. If you don’t know what a good baseline is, talk to your general practitioner or a nutritionist. They can tell you what your healthy should look like.
  • Even if you do none of these things, you are still a beautiful human being. You don’t have to follow anyone’s rules or guidelines, including mine. It may sound cliche, but being yourself is always the best option. Always.

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