How many countless other destructive, negative, shaming cultural introjects about your body have you personally picked up or been exposed to in the media? My hunch: A bunch.
Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and frankly it’s no wonder since we still largely live in a world where body shaming is rampant, fat is a four letter word, women and girls are objectified as sexual objects, one-size-fits all weight numbers determines health, media and advertisers relentlessly prey on women’s insecurities, and all genders are bombarded day in and day out with utterly unrealistic expectations of what “beauty” is and “how” men and women should behave.
It’s relentless, it’s absurd, and it can have incredibly damaging effects on the mental health and well being of girls and boys, women and men.
But there’s hope. And I truly think this is coming in the form of the growing and cresting waves of what a lot of people refer to as the Body Positivity Movement: “a feminist movement that encourages women and/or female-identifying people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being.”
As a body positive therapist and woman on her own ever-evolving, ever-expanding self-love journey, I could not be more grateful for what the Body Positive Movement stands for and hope to play my own small role within it.
In honor of body positivity, I wanted to share 55 of my favorite body positive quotes and resources with you to support you in your own journey to body acceptance and self-love. Some of these you may have encountered before but likely many of them will be new to you and I hope you enjoy them!
55 Inspiring Body Positive Quotes and Resources:
- “It makes utter sense to stay healthy and strong, to be as nourishing to the body as possible. Yet I would have to agree, there is in many women a ‘hungry’ one inside. But rather than hungry to be a certain size, shape, or height, rather than hungry to fit the stereotype; women are hungry for basic regard from the culture surrounding them. The ‘hungry’ one inside is longing to be treated respectfully, to be accepted and in the very least, to be met without stereotyping.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD
- “It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels. We don’t want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes. We want to come home to ourselves.” – Geneen Roth
- The film Miss Representation
- “When we’re awake in our bodies and sense, the world comes alive. Wisdom, creativity, and love are discovered as we relax and awaken through our bodies.” – Tara Brach, PhD
- The website The Militant Baker
- “The harder we look at our aches and ailments, the more we will be startled by the painful truths they are trying to convey about our dangerously disembodied way of life.” – Marion Woodman, PhD
- The website The Adipositivity Project
- “Stop trying to fix your body. It was never broken.” – Eve Ensler
- The book Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD*
- “It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now… with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” – Pema Chödrön
- The website (and classes of) Curvy Yoga
- “We usually do pay attention to our outer appearance, typically noticing whatever part of our bodies we are unhappy about. It behooves us, however, to get on very good terms with more than just the surface of our bodies as we grow older; for if we don’t listen to our bodies and pay attention to our physical needs and pleasures, this vehicle that we need to be running well to take us into a long and comfortable life, will limit what we can do and who we become.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
- The book Addicted to Perfection by Marion Woodman, PhD*
- “If so, why has a naturally masculine shape (broad shoulders, no waist, narrow hips, flat belly) become the ideal for the female body? Why is it that those aspects of a woman’s body that are most closely related to her innate female power, the capacity of her belly, hips, and thighs to carry and sustain life, are diminished in our society’s version of a beautiful woman?” – Anita A. Johnston
- The hashtag #effyourbeautystandards
- “We may ignore or deride the messages of the body but its rebellion demands to be heeded because its language is the authentic expression of our true selves and of the strength of our vitality.” – Alice Miller, PhD[/box]
- The website The Body is Not An Apology
- “Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” – Fred Rogers
- The book Succulent Wild Woman by SARK*
- “Treat yourself as if you already are enough. Walk as if you are enough. Eat as if you are enough. See, look, listen as if you are enough. Because it’s true.” – Geneen Roth
- The website Health at Every Size
- “An addiction is anything we do to avoid hearing the messages that body and soul are trying to send us.” – Marion Woodman, PhD
- The book Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth*
- “There was a phantom woman in my mind that I was comparing myself to, and I had to force her from the dressing room. When she was gone, I looked at my body, the body that had kept me alive for nearly thirty years, without any serious health problems, the body that had taken me where I needed to go and protected me. I had never appreciated or loved the body that had done so much for me. I had thought of it as my enemy, as nothing more than a shell that enclosed my real self, but it wasn’t a shell. The body was me. This is your real life. You’re already living it. I removed the clothes and stood naked before the mirrors, turning this way and that. I was round and cute in a way I’d never seen before.” – Sarai Walker
- “The body is like an elaborate metaphor. One may be able to taste and not swallow, like the anorexic, or to swallow and not integrate, like the bulimic or obese.” – Marion Woodman, PhD
- “Be proud of your scars. They have everything to do with your strength, and what you’ve endured. They’re a treasure map to the deep self.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD
- The website Be Nourished
- “You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.” – Geneen Roth
- The audiobook “The Joyous Body” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD*
- “Our bodies and their symptoms are our biggest allies in this endeavor, because nothing gets our attention as quickly. Our bodies are a wonderful barometer of how well we’re living in the present and taking care of ourselves.” Christiane Northrup, MD
- “Truly, we know that we cannot really subsist on little sips of life. The wild force in a woman’s soul demands that she have access to it all.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD
- “Having a body that is like a musical instrument, open enough to be able to resonate, literally resonate with what is coming both from the inside and from the outside, so that one is able to surrender to powers greater than oneself.” – Marion Woodman, PhD
- The book The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf*
- “When we give up dieting, we take back something we were often too young to know we had given away: our own voice. Our ability to make decisions about what to eat and when. Our belief in ourselves. Our right to decide what goes into our mouths. Unlike the diets that appear monthly in magazines or the thermal pants that sweat off pounds, unlike a lover or a friend or a car, your body is reliable. It doesn’t go away, get lost, stolen. If you will listen, it will speak.” ― Geneen Roth
- The book Shrill by Lindy West*
- “Even the most repressed woman has a secret life, with secret thoughts and secret feelings which are lush and wild, that is natural. Even the most captured woman guards the place of the wildish self, for she knows intuitively that someday there will be a loophole, an aperture, a chance and she will hightail it to escape.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD
- “The confusion of spirit and body is quite understandable in a culture where spirit is concretized in magnificent skyscrapers, where cathedrals have become museums for tourists, where woman-flesh-devil are associated, and nature is raped for any deplorable excuse. […] Dieting with fierce willpower is the masculine route; dieting with love of her own nature is the feminine. Her only real hope is to care for her own body and experience it as the vessel through which her Self may be born.” – Marion Woodman, PhD
- The book Body Respect by Linda Bacon*
- “Each individual woman’s body demands to be accepted on its own terms.” – Gloria Steinem
- “The body is a multilingual being. It speaks through its color and its temperature, the flush of recognition, the glow of love, the ash of pain, the heat of arousal, the coldness of non conviction. . . . It speaks through the leaping of the heart, the falling of the spirits, the pit at the center, and rising hope.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD
- “If we become juicy crones and not merely older, then this is a time when we are wiser and more appreciative of the good that comes our way, including knowing how lucky we are to be alive and healthy.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
- The website Herself
- “When you discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough to make room for it in your life.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
- “The body has a wisdom of its own. However, slowly and circuitously that wisdom manifests, once it is experienced it is a foundation, a basis of knowing that gives confidence to the ego. To reach its wisdom requires absolute concentration: dropping the mind into the body, breathing into whatever is ready to be released, and allowing the process of expression until the negative dammed up energy is out, making room for the positive energy, genuine Light, to flood in.” – Marion Woodman, PhD
- The book The Owl was a Baker’s Daughter by Marion Woodman, PhD*
- “…compulsive eating is basically a refusal to be fully alive. No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can’t stand it any longer, we binge. The way we are able to accomplish all of this is by the simple act of bolting — of leaving ourselves — hundreds of times a day.” – Geneen Roth
- “The body remembers, the bones remember, the joints remember, even the little finger remembers. Memory is lodged in pictures and feelings in the cells themselves. Like a sponge filled with water, anywhere the flesh is pressed, wrung, even touched lightly, a memory may flow out in a stream.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD
- The hashtag #wewearwhatwewant
- “Think of your body like a magical garden – always growing and changing, full of color and life.” – Christiane Northrup, MD
- “This is your body, your greatest gift, pregnant with wisdom you do not hear, grief you thought was forgotten, and joy you have never known.” – Marion Woodman, PhD
- The book Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnson*
What Would You Add?
Now I’d love to hear from you: What body positive quotes or resources would you add to this list to share with our community of blog readers? Leave your suggestion in the comments below and I’ll be sure to respond!
Or if you live outside of these states, please consider enrolling in the waitlist for the Relational Trauma Recovery School – or my signature online course, Hard Families, Good Boundaries, designed to support you in healing your adverse early beginnings and create a beautiful adulthood for yourself, no matter where you started out in life.
And until next time, please take very good care of yourself. You’re so worth it.
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