There are a million blogs and a million posts on the internet that all relate to the modern body positivity movement. It can be difficult to know where to start and even I’m positive I don’t have the perfect answer. However, I believe the journey towards body positivity is less about following a specific path and more about picking the direction that best suits you and seeing where it takes you. Speaking from my own personal experience, I believe a pretty good place to start on the journey of body positivity is looking at yourself in the mirror each morning and saying “I love you.”
Whenever it was time for bed and I would turn out the lights, I would always try to fall asleep as quickly as possible. This wasn’t so I could get as much rest as possible, but rather so I could avoid the places where my mind goes when it is left alone in a dark room. For me, a dark room and a comfy bed is the perfect environment for all of my insecurities, doubts, and worries to manifest themselves. Better to try and fall asleep quickly and deny my mind its opportunity to make me miserable.
However, on one particular sleepless night, when my mind was running rampant with negativity, a thought jumped into my head and a little voice asked me, “Andy, do you dislike yourself?”
Of course I like myself. I have all my needs reasonably met and family and friends that care about me. So then the voice asked, “So why have you never said the words ‘I love you’ to yourself.”
The answer to this question seemed a little more elusive, but the best I could come up with was this. From kindergarten circle time to the dramas we watch on TV, many of the ideal love stories we are taught about and consume are always based around what we can do for other people and seldom about what we can and should do for ourselves. Off the top of my head, the only piece of media I can remember consuming that emphasized the self before anyone else is from the airplane safety demonstration videos that say:
In the event the cabin loses pressure and oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, be sure to secure your own mask before helping any dependents.
With so few good examples of positive self-love, it wasn’t any wonder that I had never said “I love you” to myself in living memory. So I decided to humor my own little voice and gave it a shot. I said the three little words “I love you” to myself in the dark. It didn’t cure my insomnia or fix any of the rest of my problems, but it did feel incredibly nice to hear. I had not realized how starzed of self-affection I had been up until that point. Now, I try to make it a habit to try and tell myself “I love you” once a day.
At the end of the day, I can’t tell anyone what their journey towards self-love and ultimately body positivity will look like, but I can advocate for the practice of saying “I love you” in the mirror. The sensation of knowing that there will always be someone in your corner to love and appreciate you is a feeling I cannot advocate for enough and I wholeheartedly recommended the practice to anyone reading this post.