College is the time in which teenagers become adults, which consists of them discovering new possibilities, learning new things, and becoming themselves. Body acceptance and confidence in college are still a hot topic. Thankfully, more people are speaking out on the topic. These six college students show that body acceptance and self-love is possible, and the best thing that you will ever do for yourself and your body.
Know you’re more than a statistic
The statistics are through the roof – when it comes to body confidence and acceptance, it is shown that 91% of women are not happy with their bodies, and 58% of college women feel that they need to be a certain weight. However, the “ideal body image” is constantly changing, it’s not the same as it was 10 years ago, and it won’t be the same in 10 years from now. Thus, people are beginning to love their body not on how they look compared to other people, but how confident they are with their body.
As one student noted, “I realized that everyone is different, and it’s our differences that make us beautiful.” The journey to accept and love the body that you, and only you, have is often difficult, but every single person has their own unique body and soul. Everybody is different, and you are the only, well, you.
Know that every single part of you is beautiful
Drucilla James, at UNF, talked about her realization of the lack of confidence that women tend to have with their bodies, “Seeing how unsatisfied other girls were of their bodies made me want to learn to love my body. I’ve heard stories of how far they would go to alter their looks and I didn’t think it was worth it; so I started seeking happiness from within.” By doing that, she started to love compliments instead of hating them. Drucilla taught herself and learned from loved ones that “everything about me is beautiful.”
Another student, Savanna, adds that it helps to “understand that flaws are more beautiful than a warped view of perfection.” Joining a club at school led her to meet a group of girls that “taught me that each and every person is beautiful and should love their body for what it is, not what it could be.”
Have something to do that makes you feel good
Have something that you love doing, and that makes you feel amazing while doing it. Whether it’s a hobby, sport, or job, an influential aspect in your life can lead you to learn to accept their body.
Samantha Fehd, a University Sophomore, credits her love for dance to be one of the main factors that lead her to love her body. She learned to “finally (see) food as fuel rather than something to ‘work off.’” As a dancer, Samantha was able to see her body “by its capabilities rather than aesthetics,” she began to “eat more and nourish my body,” thus being able to perform her best and become the best dancer that she can be.
Similar to Samantha, another college student credits running to his journey to body acceptance. Discussing his journey as a whole, he states, “For many people, how their body looks really doesn’t matter. Body image issues aren’t rooted in the body, they are rooted in the mind.”
Celebrities can be an influence, too, and in a good way
Celebrities have come into the spotlight to change the way that people think of body acceptance and to encourage people to have confidence within themselves. Stars, such as Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga, Adele and Lena Dunham are advocates for body awareness.
Due to their status, they have a strong voice to fight for popular media fairness and acceptance of body image, and to end body shaming. In popular media, it’s the ongoing battle to feature models who have not been photoshopped. As Drucilla stated, “They Photoshop the hell out of those models!” which is one of the biggest complaints about popular media.
Due to the increase in awareness, companies, such as Aerie by American Eagle Outfitters, have opted to not photoshop their models, thus their #aeriereal campaign has received praise. These celebrity advocates and un-photoshopped models have helped to change popular media, as stated by a student, “I think the media has gotten better, but I think women need more positive role models who promote body positivity. We need to see more shapes and sizes in the media.”
Always remember, you’re a beautiful puzzle
As discussed previously, the journey to love and accept your body can be influenced and guided by outside influences. However, as said by Maddy Bucher, “no one can love your body for you… YOU need to love your body.”
She concludes that “hating my body wouldn’t make me skinny, it wouldn’t make other people love my body.” Every day she works on loving her body, realizing that her “body is so amazing in so many different ways.”
Her advice to learn to love and accept your body is one to remember – “Everyone is a puzzle. Everyone has pieces, edges, corners, patterns, etc. Sometimes, our puzzles may not look like we want them, too – we might not like the color, or the shape, or the way some of our pieces fit together. But every puzzle makes a picture and every picture is unique and beautiful in its own way. Sometimes we have to put the puzzle together on our own, sometimes we have to ask for help, and sometimes we have to do both. No matter what, this puzzle gets built and no matter what, every puzzle is amazing.”
Always remember: “You are a puzzle, a truly beautiful and exceptional puzzle. Don’t forget that.”
A special thank you to everybody who helped with the article. The responses that I received and read were some of the most beautiful statements about self-love that I have ever read. You all are amazing and beautiful people. Much love to you all.