What travelling Asia has taught me about body positivity

Body positivity doesn’t come naturally to me. When I log into my Instagram and see thousands of perfectly posed images of beautiful women, sporting perfect six packs, it certainly makes me feel a bit self conscious of my wobbly, slightly misshapen stomach. When I walk past magazine covers in supermarkets that are graced with beautiful women sporting flawless skin, it gets me a bit down about the blemishes, spots and large pores I’ve been battling with since having children. Body positivity isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but it is something that I work hard on each and every day.

 

I recently posted a photo on my Instagram of me at the poolside while in Bali, drinking a cup of tea. My hair was scraped up in a messy bun, I wasn’t wearing any makeup and I looked knackered from a lack of sleep. I faltered about posting it to be honest. I pulled apart every part of the photo and thought to myself, ‘Ugh, I look so ugly in that photo’. I then realised that I had just spent far too much of my time pulling apart how I look. I quickly realised that I would never say any of those things to another person and therefore should be more mindful of the messages that I give to myself. I noticed that while I often talk about boosting other people, other women up, I don’t always practice that in regards to myself. From that moment I decided that instead of letting my insecurities overpower me, that I would begin to accept them as a perfectly, imperfect part of me.

My journey of body positivity

 

The thing is, the beauty industry as a whole works on creating insecurities and then selling a product to counteract those insecurities. From wrinkles to stretch marks, there is some form of product that is advertised as a ‘solution’ to the beauty ‘flaw’. When in the UK, I walk down the beauty aisles in shops to find myself faced with tanning products, because we are sold the idea that sun-kissed, bronzed skin is beautiful. Yet when I walk down the beauty aisles in Asia, I am faced with whitening products, because in Asia women are sold the idea that paler, whiter skin is beautiful. What is quite disconcerting though, is that a number of these completely different and opposing products are made by the same companies.

 

This difference in societal beauty standards across continents has really made me sit and think about what it means to be body positive. On one hand, I feel like I need to fight against the hypocrisy of it all, but then another part of me realises that my journey with body positivity is actually a lot less about the unattainable societal beauty standards and is more about being okay with the fact that I don’t always match them.

 

Body positivity for me, is about seeing the unique beauty of all women. It is about seeing our differences and celebrating them. Body positivity for me is about making a mental note about the negative thoughts I have of my own appearance and then overwriting them with a positive acceptance of my flaws. Body positivity is largely about self acceptance, but it is also about feminism and a connection to other women. Ultimately body positivity is about celebrating beauty in all of its unique and wonderful forms and that is why I will continue to work on it every, single day.

My journey with body positivity

 

What are your thoughts on body positivity? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow me on Pinterest.

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38 thoughts on “What travelling Asia has taught me about body positivity

  1. Great post this! With the nice hot weather we’ve been having I’ve been seeing more and more people worrying online about their level of body confidence!

    1. It isn’t always easy to be body positive, but I’m really hoping there is a gradual movement that helps people feel more comfortable in their own skin.

  2. I have never thought of not thinking/saying that about another person so why do we think things like that about ourselves? You are so right! You will rarely see me in any photographs (apart from the fact I am the photographer in our family), I hate pictures of me! I have a 13 year old daughter though, and I am so careful about the messages I send across!

    1. I’ve found it to be such a great way of altering my mindset and attitude about body positivity and self acceptance. There is a great campaign run by Kerry behind the blog ‘Kerry Louise Norris’ called #beinthepicture – definitely have a look into it and get in the picture!

    1. I’ve found changing my mindset and focussing on celebrating all forms of beauty has really helped me to accept my own flaws. Sending love for you on your own body positivity journey!

  3. Great post and I agree absolutely. Body positivity is something I have always struggled with, and no doubt always will. I battled anorexia for 20 years and although I am “better” I will never be someone who is confident in my own skin. I wish I was!

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your battle with anorexia. I’m happy to hear you have come through it. Always here as a listening ear if you ever need someone to talk to! Sending love x

  4. Great advice, we all need to feel better about our bodies. The media and society’s messed up ideas and expectations of beauty have a lot to answer for! Good luck on your journey.

    1. Thank you for your comment! Hopefully over time there will be a strong movement that sees a shift in mindset that allows people to feel better about themselves and be more body positive!

  5. What a wonderful message. I now I have struggled so much since having my twins. I went from a size 8 to 22 and didn’t “snap” back – even 4 years on. I’ve learnt I need to just love for me and do what makes me happy as I want to be a positive role model for my kids.

    1. Thank you for your comment and sharing your story. I absolutely agree that it is incredibly important to do what it is that works for you and make your happy. Hopefully a change in mindset will help future generations be more body positive!

  6. Love this post. I have always had struggles with my body weight including an eating disorder as a teen. I am forever complimenting other women on their appearance but putting myself down which is a real shame.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Body positivity isn’t always easy, but I really hope that there is a shift in mindset and attitude so that people begin to celebrate differences, including their own. Wishing you luck on your own body positivity journey.

  7. That picture of you with the cuppa tea is beautiful – natural and gorgeous. Not always easy to be body positive at all, something that I struggle with a lot du to weight issues but this was inspiring to read. Go you – you’re beautiful 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I hope there is a movement and a shift in mindset that enables women to celebrate differences (including their own) and become more comfortable in their own skin.

  8. I can relate to this! I used to be so self conscious of my body image. I have a portwine stain down most of the right side of my body but since having my kids I have actually gained confidence. My body has stretchmarks, scars and sag… but I have birthed 4 beautiful children, and for that I am proud 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so happy to hear how confident you feel in your own skin and I completely agree that we should celebrate the wonderful things that our bodies can do. That is such a wonderful mindset!

  9. I recently was proud of myself for posting a pic in a swimming costume and messy swimming hair but it was a lovely moment and decided I should share regardless of how I looked

    1. I completely agree. I hope that a movement towards sharing those natural, everyday moments leads to people all over the world becoming more comfortabel in their own skin!

  10. Body positivity is something I have struggled massively with since having my kids. I have wobbly bits and awful skin. Worst for me was developing alopecia following the birth of my first. I was quite confident in my appearance before kids but I now constantly struggle with the fact I won’t ever be that person again! xx

    1. Thank you for your comment. I definitely struggled more with body positivity after having children but I’m really working on changing my mindset and accepting myself now. Similar to you, I struggled with the changes such as my hair and skin being more oily and my weight being much more difficult to control. Wishing you luck on your body positivity journey because different still means beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I think society as a whole hold beauty to one ideal and in reality beauty comes in so many different forms. Sign os age have been sold as ‘not beauty’ when in reality life and life experience is a really beautiful thing and the marks on our bodies that show it are beautiful as well!

    1. It isn’t always easy to be body positive, but I’m hoping that with a shift of mindset and a gradual movement that more people feel more comfortable in their own skin.

  11. I don’t think any woman is truly happy with how she looks (actually I think I can include men in this too!). Even those we see as being perfect, gorgeous, incredible… no doubt there’s a part of them they dislike. I know I don’t look great. I’m honest about myself, it has nothing to do with what I would say to someone else because I would also be honest with them too. (Have you never hesitated when someone asked if they looked ok and they didn’t? Would you tell them they look great?) Yes, I agree with body positivity but that doesn’t mean I’m going to start telling myself I look great when I know I don’t. For me body positivity is about what I CAN change of the bits I don’t like, e.g. my weight. Being positive about myself means me saying “I can look better than I do. Just because I’m unhappy about how I look, it doesn’t mean I can’t change that.”

    1. I’m not really sure how to respond to be honest with you, but I’ll try to address what you’ve said best I can. I don’t think my post implies people aren’t allowed to have parts of themselves they aren’t fond of and that they shouldn’t have the option to make changes about themselves if they so desire. My post is about celebrating differences and supporting other women in their voyage of body positivity regardless of what form that takes. I eat well and train to maintain my weight and tone up, but I can do that and also be body positive about the fact my body has changed since having children and my stomach will never be the same as how it was before children. In answer your question about my thoughts on other people, if I’m asked about a jumper a friend has bought that I don’t like I will say it isn’t to my taste but I don’t have to wear it. I can’t say I walk around thinking poorly of other people based on their aesthetics though in all honesty because as my post says, I think beauty comes in all forms and should be celebrated as so. Wishing you luck on your journey of body positivity in whichever form that takes.

  12. My mummy has learnt to be body postive after having me. Celebrating what she has and being confident in her own skin and not giving a damn what people think. Even though her body has changed since she was younger, she’s proud of what her body has been through and happy. Good luck on finding your confidence x No one is perfect but everyone deserves to be happy and different.

    1. I’m so glad you have been on your own body positivity journey and feel comfortable in your own skin. It is wonderful what our bodies are capable and we should be proud of what they have achieved.

  13. It’s great to hear your travels have helped you reflect on your own body confidence too. We all see totally different things, as I think you look amazing in that pool picture, genuinely. Mich x

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. It is interesting how people see things so differently and just goes to show how objective and personal the ideal of beauty are.

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