Social media is inundated with posts about body positivity. While body positivity can be helpful for some people, it still inadvertently places emphasis on appearance as a measure of self-worth and promotes the idea that we need to love our body in order to love ourselves. There is nothing wrong with loving our bodies, but it can be hard to love or even like our bodies when we are starting from a place of negative body image. Simply put, body positivity can feel like an impossible feat for many people.
With body positivity, there is a lot of pressure to think positive thoughts about your body. What if you don’t believe the positive affirmations that you are saying to yourself? This can lead to more distress and feelings of guilt for not being able to truly love your size, shape, or appearance the way the body positivity movement is telling you that you should.
For many people, body neutrality can be a more realistic and attainable goal. Body neutrality promotes the idea that we don’t have to love our body to accept it. We can simply accept our body for how it is while focusing on its functional abilities rather than its appearance. For example, you might choose to focus your attention on what your body can do – move, breathe, think, feel, and experience a full range of emotions – rather than how it looks.
What are some ways that you can practice body neutrality? For starters, you can listen to your body without assigning negative or positive value to it. This can look like eating the foods that you want and incorporating movement into your day in the ways that you enjoy. It can also be helpful to practice replacing your negative thoughts with more neutral ones, rather than trying to force yourself to entertain positive ones. For example, it can be hard to turn “I hate my body” into “I love my body.” Instead, try turning “I hate my body” into “I appreciate my body because it helps me get from place to place and experience the world around me.”
It can take a lot of time and effort to change the way you think about your body, but body acceptance can lead to a happier and fuller life. Remember to give yourself grace as you embark on your body neutrality journey.
What are your thoughts on body neutrality vs. body positivity? In what ways can you practice body neutrality? Let us know down below!