January 14, 2019 – Gabrielle de Guzman
I hardly think that there is anyone who could enumerate precisely how body positivity should be. So before reading this, I want you to know that there are many ways to think about what body positivity is for you. This is just one of many.
I remember the very first time I became aware of my body. I was in high school, and I had such a bad self image. At the time, I thought that was the norm and I was always seeking outward validation. So when anyone would tell me that I had gained weight, or when a certain dress wouldn’t fit, I would break down crying and would end up harming myself in more ways than one. There was a point when I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror because I didn’t like what I was seeing.
I never really realized that I carried this feeling of self hate and self pity with me all throughout my college years, and it started affecting other parts of my life. It started overflowing into how I thought people see me, how I saw myself, and ultimately how I viewed my self worth. I spiraled into a state of depression and I started looking for my worth in all the wrong places. I unnecessarily attached myself to things that gave me instant gratification: food, shallow relationships, unhealthy habits, etc. And all of these came crashing down by the end of it all. I ended up hurt and alone.
But I realized I needed this time for myself. After being diagnosed with depression, I took my meds, went to therapy, and slowly started re-building my self and destroying the beliefs I previously had about myself. Part of this process was discovering why I was seeking my worth outwardly. I realized that all of this was because I never really thought about what makes a person worthy. I started looking at the people that I loved, and I realized that I don’t cherish them because they looked “perfect.” I cherished them because they were generous and kind and strong and smart!
body more for
and less for
says it should
PHOTOS COURTESY OF GABRIELLE DE GUZMAN
And after much contemplation, I started applying this same philosophy towards myself: At the end of the day it mattered more to me that I was doing good things, and honing strength by challenging myself and trying to bring joy to others. Being a certain size or fitting into dresses suddenly mattered less. And this is precisely my philosophy when in comes to body positivity: it’s more about realizing that the “body” is not the end all and be all. It’s not just about looking at your body and evaluating it at face value. It’s recognizing that each person is more than just their body. It’s seeing that each person is so dynamic, and so unique that their worth is manifested in so many wonderfully beautiful ways. It’s recognizing beauty in words, actions and many other intangible things.
And this is a constant struggle. I don’t think there is anyone who feels confident 100 percent of the time. I still have days when I really just don’t feel good about myself and that’s okay. I realize that I have to give myself space to feel certain things, but I always remember what actually matters to me, and what truly makes me happy, and work from there.
Body positivity could mean different things for different people, this is just one take on it. So maybe today, try to sit down and do some mental housekeeping and think about what your philosophy about your self image is. You might discover something new about yourself.
P.S. The “The Power Of Vulnerability” TED Talk by Brene Brown was also one of the talks that really changed my perspective about my self worth. I highly suggest you watch and listen to it!