Unconventional body affirmations that will make you feel good
“Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top,” lyrics that are almost unavoidable at this point, buzz in my ears even when there isn’t a radio in sight. Whenever I hear that line from “All About That Bass” I get a little happier, because words that truly celebrate the body are such a rarity in our body-hating culture. But when I’m looking in the mirror, about to hop in the shower, I find it to be a sentiment that applies to everyone but me. It’s so easy for me to tell someone else they’re beautiful, because it’s so much easier for me to see the beauty in others than in myself. I can go on and on all day about all the feminist reasons why I believe a woman should love her body, no matter the size, shape, or color, but when I turn that lens on myself? It’s a lot harder to live up to. And I feel like many of us feel the exact same way. It’s not easy to feel 100 percent confident about our bodies, let alone shower them with compliments.
The problem is that when I try to apply the regular beauty affirmations to myself, they don’t really hit home. I like to think of myself as being a pretty confident woman, and I know I have come very far. I remember the crippling (literally, crippling, because it led to a struggle with an eating disorder) insecurity I had about my body in high school. I used to walk down halls and wish fervently that I could just disappear. My most frequent wish about my body was that I could make it completely invisible, and that’s what I tried to accomplish for a few years. Looking back now, I can see how much better I am, how much stronger and confident in myself I am now.
So why do I still have a hard time accepting affirmations like “every inch of you is perfect”? Probably because, like anyone else, I still have struggles with loving every inch of myself. I no longer list the things I want to change about my body on a daily basis, but if you asked me to, I could still provide them all.
I don’t have any fool-proof methods for dealing with body anxiety, but something that’s helped me lately has been coming up with my own body affirmations. Things that have a unique twist, the things I like about myself that defy conventional standards. One of the boldest moves a woman can make is to take something that society says is “unappealing” and declare that, to her, it’s the best thing about her body. In that spirit, I’ve collected a few of my favorite unconventional beauty affirmations here. They apply to how I feel about myself, but I encourage you to adopt and modify them as you see fit.
So you have a belly. But that belly is excellent for many things, such as resting your laptop on in bed while you fulfill your life’s dream of being a writer (or just while you’re watching Netflix). Thank you, Belly, for being a support.
Am I pear-shaped? No, not really — I’m more like a sort of lumpy apple, with a few bites taken out of the middle. But who the heck compares my body to food, anyway? And if I have to be a food, I want to be a pizza. Hello, pizza body. You look delicious.
I have a kaleidoscope of stretch marks, in different colors and streams across my hips, stomach, thighs. They are rivers that tell the tale of how I have changed, how I have grown, how far I’ve come. They’re etchings on the cave walls that tell my life without words. They’re unique to me, and while I have loathed them in the past, they are now an emblem on a flag that says I am human and I grow.
It’s hard to ever be confident about acne, especially if you’ve got cystic acne like I do (hello, not only unseemly, but also PAINFUL). It’s difficult to embrace the scarring on my face, the piece of skin that the world tells me is my most valuable currency. But it’s here, it’s part of me, and while I’ll struggle against it for as long as it continues to plague my existence, I won’t hide under my hair, ashamed of something I have no control over. It’s a part of life, an unsavory one, but a part of me all the same. And there is nothing to be ashamed of — having acne doesn’t indicate you’re a bad person. It just means you’re a human person.
I work in a coffee shop, and I used to be insecure about my upper arm flopping a bit as I shake a drink out of a blender. I used to wear shirts that specifically covered it, because I didn’t want anyone to see and mentally mock me. But my arms are part of me, and they allow me to earn a living. I appreciate the soft curve of my shoulders as they roll back when I stand straight. They are soft and supple and beautiful, no matter how much they might jiggle.
I think, no matter how skinny someone might be, that rolls of skin or fat will always appear when the body contorts in a specific direction. But that’s okay, because it’s a body, and it holds us, and cares for us. Having a few stomach rolls under my shirt isn’t the end of the world, or the end of my body, or the end of anyone else loving my body as it is, either.
I am me, no matter how much space I take up in this world — and I deserve to take up as much space as I need.