How I used existentialism to become body positive

Guest post by Minerva Siegel
Photos of Minerva by Cayan Ashley Photography

I’m a body positive activist and plus-size model, and people ask me daily for advice on how to become comfortable with themselves. My approach to body positivity is a perspective that I’ve never really seen talked about in-depth in body positive circles. And it all stems unexpectedly from existential nihilism.

So, you want to love yourself? Here’s how I used existentialism to become body positive…

Think cosmically and atomically

Honestly, what helped me get over my negative body image the most was putting things into cosmic and intrinsic perspective.

Atomically, all we know to be real is to be comprised of just a bunch of vibrating particles too small to be seen; everything is an illusion created by our poor human eyesight. We’re all made of the same cosmic, everlasting stuff. We’re infinite. We’re magic. We’re nothing and we’re everything, all at once. Our whole lifetimes are cosmic blips — blinks of an eye to the universe.

Why waste the preciously minute time we have here worrying about anything other than being compassionate, incandescently happy people? Why waste time worrying about jiggle or stretch marks or crooked teeth or scars? How silly and small body image issues seem when thought of from cosmic and atomic perspectives. Life is unpredictable and meant to be lived. Don’t waste your life fretting about perceived physical imperfections, because they literally don’t matter.

Recognize your own mortality, but in a celebratory way

Tomorrow isn’t promised to you. That’s a simple fact that no one ever seems to want to think about, but I do every day. Rather than depressing me, it empowers me. Acknowledging my mortality makes me want to live an impassioned life in the pursuit of pleasure and happiness.

Your body is irrelevant in so many ways; it’s just a vessel through which you experience this reality, and it’ll be dust soon enough. Don’t waste the time you have hating your body; don’t spend so much mental and emotional energy on those kind of useless, negative thoughts. Live your live, and be courageously present for it.

Human diversity is amazing

Another thing that really helped me become positive about my body image was realizing just how incredibly diverse we are as a species. There is no one singular definition of beauty, despite what companies trying to sell you products would have you believe. There are so many different, amazing physical traits out there — a seemingly infinite combination of them.

Celebrate your unique diversity! No one out there has just the traits you do. Rather than being upset by this and trying to force your body to fit some sort of narrowly-defined beauty ideal, embrace your own special beauty.

You are SO much more than your body

You’re a universe of ideas, emotions, depths, and heights. Your physicality is literally the least interesting thing about you, and that’s amazing. We are all so unique individually, with unique thoughts and perceptions. You have so much more to offer the world than your appearance.

Worry less about fitting into someone else’s definition of beautiful/handsome, and worry more about being kind, compassionate, intelligent. Worry about speaking your mind and making yourself happy. Worry less about what others think of your physicality and more about being a good person. Think about making your short existence on this space rock a positive one, not only for yourself but for everyone in your life.

Whenever you’re feeling down about your body, get outside of your head by thinking cosmically and atomically

Realize the unpredictably short amount of time we’re alive, and spend it celebrating your existence and living a positive life. The human race is comprised of people who have so many varied, amazing, unique physical traits — diversity is beautiful, not something to be feared or hated. Remember, babes, you are so much more than your physical vessel. You are an intricate mess of vibrating space particles held together by a universal magic. Don’t waste time and energy on negativity. Live an impassioned life filled with compassion and happiness.