You only have one body. Your body, your one and only body, is the house of your brain, mind, soul, and spirit. Without bodies, we could hardly exist. Though who we are is absolutely more than our bodies, it is important to treat our bodies with kindness, love, respect, and care. However, in the age of Instagram, Facebook, and other mass media, it often feels like an individual’s appearance is constantly being judged, liked, or scrutinized. Our friends, the media, and ourselves can all become sources of negative self-talk about our bodies. Just look at any magazine cover and you will probably find some message about how it is time for you to change your diet, how you exercise, or some other aspect of your appearance. Though everyone seems to be talking about how should look, very seldom do people celebrate the body!
Despite having only one body, many people are often convinced by the bully that is the media to wish they could have a different body. You may, in fact, be thinking right now that you wish you had a different body, or can recall a time where you had wished your body was different. When we compare ourselves to others, it becomes increasingly difficult to practice self-love. Luckily for you, the Body Image Peer Educators (BIPE) are here to help. BIPES can be found all over campus at various events advocating for positive body image. Here are a few tips from the BIPES on how to increase your love for your body.
Question Expectations From The Media
Recently, and historically, Victoria secret has been under fire for completely photoshopping out a models butt cheek and chuck of her right arm. This glaring error somehow made it to press, and highlights how twisted the media’s perception is of what bodies should look like. Indeed, 100% of magazines are photoshopped in some way. If you’re interested in learning more about how the media is influential in our cultural in how it impacts concepts of body image, health, influences eating disorders, and body satisfaction, check out the film The Illusionist coming to Towson University on November 18th at 6:00pm. Be sure to RSVP online!
Be Your Body’s Biggest Fan, Not Its Enemy
One of the best ways to practice self-love is to think of your body as a friend. Before engaging in fat talk, or negative self-talk, consider if what you’re saying to yourself if something you would say to your friend. If not, maybe reconsider what kind of message you’re sending to yourself. Some days we might feel badly about our bodies. On days like this, remind yourself how much you love your body by putting notes of affirmation on a mirror or somewhere visible. Remember, you are worth more than your appearance! Keep a list of the things you like about yourself (not including your appearance). Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.
Get To Know Your Body
As busy students, we often forget about our body’s needs. We might eat on the go, or event forget to eat. We might sit in the same position for several hours studying or writing papers. We might lose sleep over assignments. All of these are unavoidable in our college years, but it is possible to practice small steps that allow us to be good to our bodies. Be sure to be kind and to listen to its need without judgment. Stretch, and listen to the part of you that needs a break from school work. Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Learn about how YOUR body works. One of the best ways to becoming more in touch with your body is through meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. Stuck on campus? Campus Recreation Services often offers yoga classes, Zumba classes, and other fun options to help you get in touch with your body. The Counseling Center also offers a meditation room with an audio guided meditation available.
Loving our bodies can be difficult. When I am struggling with loving my own body, I remember a few words from an old song
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own
Visit the Counseling Center for more information on Body Image Peer Educators. And remember, love your body, love yourself!