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Feeling body positive when you have a disability

A positive body image is a major confidence booster and vital for a healthy state of mind. Regardless of what type of disability we have, we should look after it and appreciate the many things we are able to do.

Few among us are happy with our bodies. Most people would like to be thinner, or taller, or have a smaller waist size. For a person with a disability, the negativity from the world at large can lead to even greater self doubt or criticism.

To begin with, accept yourself and the way you are regardless of how others look at us or say to us. Mumbaikar Pankaj Somnathe, believes feeling good about yourself and accepting who you are is really the X factor behind looking good.

I believe that adversity make people give their best in building their lives. Challenges are a means to test the mettle of a person. While most people can get bogged down in the face of challenges, some come through them and shine. I feel people who face struggles and win have a more meaningful life as compared to those who can't handle the pressure. Keeping the faith and staying strong is important. - Pankaj Somnathe

So, how does one develop a positive body image? Here are some tips:

  1. Understand that no one needs to look perfect to be happy.

  2. How we look on the outside is just a small part of our personality and we are so much more than superficial appearances. Love yourself, take care of your grooming, wear a smile and be confident.

  3. Instead of brooding over looking a certain way, focus on your interests, hobbies and things that make you feel fulfilled.

  4. There might be some particular triggers that make you feel bad or insecure about your looks, such as fashion magazines, social media, some people etc. Understanding these triggers will help you avoid being in a negative state.

  5. Avoid comparing yourself with others, as you are a unique individual.

  6. Be grateful for what you have and think positively. Focus on your abilities and qualities instead of on outward appearance.

  7. Take part in activities that keep you physically and mentally active and ensure that you are taking care of yourself.

  8. A good attitude can help you cope with life and add a spark to your personality and help you wade through the tough times.

Nisha Gupta, a wheelchair basketball player, who has ambitions of becoming an actress in the Hindi film industry, says the strength and will to live life fully comes from within.

"The most important factor is accepting yourself the way you are", says Nisha. "Understanding that you are the best motivator in your own life helps move forward. Instead of looking at others for support and encouragement or approval, believe in yourself and stay happy.

Be proud of your life and yourself, a healthy sense of self-esteem is more important than impressing others. Remember that your loved ones will always love you for what you are and not what you look like.

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