photo: Flickr

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You tell yourself that everyone deserves love and acceptance, no matter what size they are — only the acceptance stops when you get to yourself.

"Who, me?" you may be asking. "But I'm body-positive!"

I'm here from the future, my friend, to tell you that body-positivity starts from within. In fact, you may even be body-shaming yourself without even realizing (but don't worry, it's not too late to fix it!).

1

Comparing yourself to others

So your legs aren't like her legs, and your skin isn't like their skin. So your stomach isn't as flat as that person's, and your breasts are smaller than average.

So?

All people are built differently; we've all got different genes and backgrounds and other circumstances in our lives that we have no control over. So then, realistically, how can you compare? They're them and you're you, and you're all wonderful in your own ways.

2

Working out when you don't want to

You're going out for a run, but do you WANT to go for a run, or are you running because you think that's what you "have" to do? Hell, do you even like running?

If the answer is "no," then why are you punishing yourself? If you choose to work out, why not pick an activity you enjoy? Try yoga, or dance, or swimming. Exercise shouldn't be to torture yourself; it should be to make yourself feel good. Think of that the next time you put your sneakers on.

3

Avoiding mirrors

There are a number of reasons why people may avoid mirrors, but if it's because you don't like what you see looking back at you, then we've got to talk.

Instead, try facing the problem head-on (no pun intended) and giving yourself a pep talk: I am wonderful, I am beautiful, I am worthy of love.

4

Refusing to be in photos or videos

Even if it means making memories with friends or family, even if it means celebrating a milestone like a graduation or a company event, you avoid the camera at all costs because, like the mirror situation, you don't want to see what you look like in photos (and you don't want anyone else to, either).

Or maybe you do let others take your picture, but only from the neck up.

Be proud of every inch of yourself — not just parts.

5

Denying yourself certain foods

Your friend offers you a cookie, or some chips, or whatever, and even though you really want it, you politely decline.

Because you didn't go to the gym this morning.
Because you ate too much already today.
Because you ate too much yesterday.

You shouldn't have to do anything to "earn" the foods you want to eat; you've already earned them just by being you.

6

Hanging on to smaller sizes "just in case"

Some people still fit into the clothes they wore in high school or college. I don't. Maybe you don't, either. But if you're holding on to them in case you decide you want to try to get back into them, or because you think "I should be that size," take a second and think about why you think that is.

There's nothing wrong with buying clothes that fit you. In fact, you'll probably find you feel a lot better about yourself in them.

7

Keeping the lights off/clothing on during sex

Again, this comes down to not wanting to be seen — or, not deserving to be seen. But you do!

All the insecurities you may have, I can almost guarantee you, your partner doesn't see. Your friends don't see. Your family members don't see. They see you for the incredible, kind, smart, talented and, yes, beautiful person that you are, just as you see the same in them.

Don't you think you should see yourself the same way?