Photo by Jade Destiny on Unsplash

Although we’re moving toward a more diverse, inclusive, and accepting world, sometimes it seems this is happening at a snail’s pace. Body image, in particular, is a primary topic in the discussion about what’s keeping us divided.

Unfortunately, society has conditioned many of us to attach our self-worth and self-esteem to the number we see on the scale. As a result, we’re allowing the way we look and the comments others make about our weight and bodies to define who we are. And that’s just not okay.

Fortunately, we can change the narrative by embracing our individuality, promoting body positivity, and adopting the mindset that every one of our bodies is beautiful, complex, and worth appreciating.

Here’s how to embrace individuality through body positivity.

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Learn to Accept Who You Are

The core of body positivity is accepting who you are. But we must consider how forcing acceptance of one’s physical body can actually be harmful.

For example, the body positivity movement can potentially neglect a trans person's desire to change their body to align with their gender identity. Instead of saying that we should accept what we look like and move on, we should encourage each other to step into who we are, even if that means changing our bodies to align with our gender identities.

You might also want to get cosmetic surgery, change your hair, wear makeup, switch your style up, or something different entirely. Whatever you have to do to accept who you are, do it. That’s how the body positivity movement must evolve.

Next, if you’re considering embarking on a weight loss journey, be sure you’re doing it for yourself.

Lose Weight for You

Weight is an all too familiar subject in the body positivity conversation. Unfortunately, unrealistic beauty standards influence so many people to lose weight for the wrong reasons and in an unhealthy manner.

In addition, it seems that losing weight would have a primarily positive impact on anyone, from boosting self-esteem to healthier sleep to pain relief.

But weight loss can also have adverse effects on our mental, physical, and emotional health. For example, you can start to feel like you didn’t quite get the results you thought you would, or your anxiety and fear could flare up so much that it causes an eating disorder.

Bottom line, if you want to lose weight, do it for yourself and no one else. Work on embracing all stages your body goes through during a weight loss journey. Make the best decisions for your health and wellness goals and forget about society's thoughts.

You can also embrace your individuality through body positivity by focusing on your mindset and emotional health.

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Focus on Your Mental Health

Nurturing your mental health is critical when embracing individuality through body positivity. Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community means navigating unique challenges and experiences that influence your feelings about yourself.

To come out of those difficulties and experiences positively, you must take care of your mental health. What we put out into the world reflects our internal dialogues and how we feel about ourselves.

So, make sure you’re filling your head and heart with good things to help you become even more comfortable with who you are and how you view your body. Enlist the help of mental health professionals to get the tools and support you need to strengthen your mental and emotional well-being.

Lastly, surround yourself with others embracing their bodies and individualism.

Surround Yourself With Others Embracing Individuality and Body Positivity

If we’re honest, our support systems are integral to how we survive and thrive in this world. When you have a circle of friends and family that support you being you, it makes a difference in the way you view yourself and your place in this world.

You can use social media platforms to grow your support system. Join groups and connect with others embracing individuality through body positivity. You can also attend events, engage in activities, and socialize in person to deepen your relationships with those that want to build a body-positive, inclusive community.

Your professional relationships should also support your individuality and push for body positivity. For instance, see if you can get a trans-affirming doctor as your primary care physician. They aren’t talked about enough, but there are various resources for trans people seeking primary care from a physician who genuinely supports and has experience caring for individuals in the LGBTQ+ community.

Ultimately, the people you’re around the most influence how you think, feel, and behave. Be sure your circle is full of people embracing their individuality and promoting body positivity that extends to every branch of the LGBTQ+ community.

Conclusion

Embracing individuality through body positivity is one of the best things you can do for yourself and those around you. You’ll never truly know peace until you become comfortable in your own skin, accepting of your flaws, and overjoyed with every part of who you are. So, embark on your life’s journey with the utmost love for your body and individualism.

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This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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