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It is a common misconception that it is a failure in one’s personal body positivity journey to have a specific part of their body that doesn’t fill them with joy and love. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps the confusion comes from calling it a ‘journey’. Let’s be honest: body positivity is not at the end of a yellow brick road. Instead, picture yourself walking through a forest you have never visited before. There will be times you get lost. There will be times you turn back on yourself without realising it, and you’re going to spend twice as long as you’d hoped trying to get yourself exactly back to where you were before. Sometimes it will be dark and cold, other times the sun will beam down on you. There will be times you feel scared and threatened, and times you feel like climbing trees or laying out your picnic blanket. No two trips through that forest will be the same, and there are so many different routes out of there.
Realistically, there is no endzone. But there will come a point when you realise there is nothing left to dislike about yourself. I’m not saying you will be head over heels with every inch of your body but instead you will alter the way that you think about the things which once made you flinch.
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Talk to your body. Instead of criticising, find reasons to compliment. Apologise for the years of abuse and make promises for how you will behave in the future. Describe the body parts you dislike and then challenge your own descriptors. Slowly but steadily you will change your first instinct when you catch sight of that body part in the mirror. Instead of feeling embarrassed at that photograph of your double chin, you will focus on how much you were laughing in the picture and be so thankful of the memento of such a happy time.
To finish this article, I would like to set each of you a challenge. Say hello to that part of yourself that you don’t quite love yet. Do it now, nobody is looking. Look down at yourself, or look in a mirror, and offer that body part a beaming smile. There: you’re on your way to getting to know that one last place to love. Best of luck!