Self-love and body positivity

*CW: Mentions of body issues, food intake*

Dearest lovely readers,

Isn’t the weather getting lovely? I’m seeing more sunshine. I was actually able to go for a couple of walks after months of not being able to. It was wonderful! Hoping to get out again soon. Spring is coming. Now onto today’s topic…

The concept of self-love and body positivity are very important topics. Currently in the UK we are seeing a rise in eating disorders and body image issues, something I’ve always struggled with. Self-love is also at a low. Self-love comes many forms. According to the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation, they define self-love as a state of appreciation of oneself. It grows from how we treat ourselves and the actions that sustain us physically, psychologically and emotionally. It is about putting yourself first and not setting yourself on fire to keep others warm. Self-love is finding ways of keeping your well-being at the highest quality and priority. Self-love can mean different things for different people. It can take presence by caring for yourself and dealing with yourself compassionately. It takes root by truly loving every part of yourself physically and mentally.

For me self-love is shown in many, many forms. Ultimately, I tie myself to love through body positivity. I have some days where I can’t love my body, other days I caress it gently and see nothing but positives. I used to hate who I was as a person, but I’ve grown and now see the wider context. I never loved myself, and felt worthy of nothing. Now, I know I deserve better. I make time and space for my feelings, for my well-being, for me. Self-love starts by you accepting who you are, a declaration to yourself saying you will do better by yourself. It is about reacting appropriately to you and your body’s needs. Self-love is a radical act to see yourself holistically.

This is the thing.

Self-love is radical. In a world filled with media of people hating others, media and beauty industries telling you how to better yourself, it is radical to step out of that and see what it is you truly want and need. Self-love in a world of berating is a beautiful thing. It shows that there is more to be positive about, that propaganda and narrow minded views aren’t reality and that we are capable of more. That our unique selves are worth more than we are told.

Body positivity is thrown around a lot. I have brought it in with self-love because a lot of people equate self-love to our bodies, and yes there is more to self love but body positivity is important. Body positivity isn’t about shaming others, it’s about celebrating all bodies no matter the size or ability. Because no one should be concerned with what another looks like. We are all unique and divine regardless. Being body positive reduces shame as sizes and abilities become more accepted in the norm. And this is the right thing to do. It astounds me how so many people are okay mocking others for what their body may look like, I say to them:

Why are you so concerned? It’s not your body and it’s not your life.

Leave people be.

My personal story

My history is complicated. Following panic attacks occurring regularly at 10 I started restricting my food intake to cope, it lasted a few years. I ended up being so concerned over the space I took and developed unhealthy body image. I then started binge eating from 15 following my first breakdown as a teenager. My body shape has changed drastically over the years. And I had a preoccupation with it. People take it upon themselves to hate on me for my shape, assume I’m lazy and it’s my own fault. I have tried changing but will power limits itself eventually as it does for many. I didn’t care for my body a lot of the time, I didn’t love myself enough to care for it. I tried exercise but end up in pain. Then I read Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon and it opened my mind to the truth. I won’t lie, it was a healing read. Over the years, more from around 2019 I started to take better care of myself and find ways to heal years of damage. I am now of a higher weight due to medications but I have a lot of positive health habits. I am slowly healing. As I have tried to take care of my body and my mental health in more productive ways, I have learned to love myself. I see myself as a person worthy of love, respect and care. Some days are harder yes, there are days I don’t really want to look in the mirror. But that is just a part of it. Compared to 2018… I am in a far better position.

This is a call to love yourself, love your mind, love your emotions, love your body. You deserve it.

L x

P.S. The next few weeks will be focusing on a series of positive psychology posts 🙂

A little word on body image…

Good evening my lovely people, How is this Sunday treating you? I have attempted to help cook a lovely soup my family and I had for dinner but I am quite terrible in the kitchen. I have also enjoyed some time away from the screen by reading and planning out an application. Now I am here! I have noticed I have some new followers here, so welcome welcome do make yourselves at home! Please feel free to message or comment, I am hoping to foster a lovely community here. I would just like to quickly let you know that as this blog will now feature posts around mental health and mental illness ,I will be placing a new page on this blog full of useful information and links over the coming weeks which will be added to over time. It by no means replaces professionals and will always encourage you to seek professional help if you are at all worried about yourself. Now, on to today’s topic body image. Self-image encompasses not only our body image but also our views of our personality and our abilities. As much as I would love to delve into the psychology of each one and give an account of my experiences, I will stick with body image today given it is so heavily reported on. I have witnessed firsthand the terror a toxic body image can unleash. This is because I have battled in a long, draining war with my body image for gosh 14 years, since I was 10 years old. Now I will admit, my restrictive eating habits formed as a way of being able to control something, anything. It was the only thing I could control when I was having nearly 5 panic attacks a day. But around 18 months later it morphed into more. I went to secondary school. I was called fat by a group of young girls older than me despite me being underweight at that time. That was when I really started looking in the mirror. From then, I have never felt comfortable in the skin I was in. My episodes bring the worst of that out. I started a lot of unhealthy habits and such negative coping mechanisms that I am struggling to untangle the web. Due to binge eating and many medications I am the highest weight I have ever been. Yet it is now I choose to start a journey of self love. I am tired, so tired, of these unrealistic images perpetuated every single place I look, every corner I turn onto. I am tired of tying my worth to images of what society deems an acceptable body type, of bodies we cannot afford to look like. I have got to learn to love my body as common as that sounds. My body has been through thousands of panic attacks, thousands of mood swings, hundreds of episodes, 11 psychiatric medication changes and so, so much more. Yet I show it very little gratitude most days. I am sick of the rhetoric. I am sick of the hatred I show myself. I have a very long road ahead but I will be damned if I spend another day hating what I see in the mirror. Because that is not who I am. I am a kind person, full of love and passion which I always show to others. It is high time I stop being a hypocrite and start practicing what I preach. L x