I think most women who struggle with loving their bodies have thought that if they were smaller, they’d find success. For years, I suffered from this mindset, further creating a barrier to loving my body in its present state. But lessons from my mom have changed my lens to one; that is being body positive.
I began a self-acceptance discovery last year that uncovered the poor beliefs I had about my body and their origins. Knowing I had lots of inner work to do, I compiled a list of the negative remarks I’d heard or said about myself, as well as the positive things. What I found was that my mother played a much larger part in the process than I’d given her credit for.
As long as I can remember, she’s been a beautiful plus size woman. Never shy of confidence and a great sense of humor, reflecting on the way she’s loved her inner woman through the years, has been my saving grace. From her heaviest size of 24 to her current 16, my mom still encourages me to live the life I want now instead of later.
Body Positive Lessons From My Mother
Self-love isn’t always an easy thing, but it is something I am committed to mastering. Seeing my mom continuously live her best life at any size reminds me that happiness is something you create and control, no matter what society thinks you should have. Here are 5 body positive lessons I learned from my mom and how I apply them daily.
Work with what you have
My stomach isn’t as small as I’d like it to be, but it fits my body. My full boobs, hips, and legs compliment my body well, so I gravitate towards garments that accentuate one or all of them. On the contrary, I tend to avoid those that focus on my stomach.
A few of my favorite things are skinnies, rompers, cotton dresses and tops. My biggest mistakes are times when I wear things that work against my body, thus making me look and feel uncomfortable. Focusing on what works also reinforces my appreciation for those areas of my body.
Buy clothes that fit your current body
Fact: Wearing clothes that are too big make you look bigger than what you are. They can also be uncomfortable, require tailoring, and be more expensive. Focus on finding clothes that are a great fit for your current body and watch your confidence explode.
Be kind to yourself
Positive affirmations have single handedly helped me achieve inner peace. Find an exercise that forces you to acknowledge the self-loathing thoughts you might have created for yourself. Think about where they came from. Did you create them or did a relative or co-worker instill them?
Disrupt those thoughts with these positive affirmations:
- My body sustains me every day.
- I am beautiful on the inside and outside.
- I am more than enough.
- My body is healthy and beautiful.
- I love my body because it is mine.
- Nothing can make me disrespect my body ever again.
Live the life you want now
Have you ever declined or postponed plans because you’re embarrassed of your body? Do you think that more doors would open for you if you looked differently than you do now? Have those things convinced you that you can’t be happy until you are smaller or curvier? As a former victim to all of these things, I know firsthand this isn’t a healthy way to live.
Reminder: Your self-worth is not tied to your size.
Your life shouldn’t stop because you’re not living the fantasy in your head. There is so much for you to experience and enjoy right now in the place you are. Preventing yourself from doing so is a dangerous way to remain in the unhappy place you may be in now.
Did you know that you’re worthy of a full life, including love, success, adventure, good food, and a fabulous wardrobe? Oh yes, you are… we all are.
Have you struggled with loving the body you have?
What lessons have helped you in falling in love with yourself?
Ariel C. Williams is a writer and founder of SlayCulture.com. She runs DanzyBird.com, a consulting and copywriting agency dedicated to helping new businesses and creative entrepreneurs establish themselves online. Her debut book, The Girl Talk Chronicles, was published in 2014. Today, you might find her guzzling dark roast coffee while working on deadline for any given project.