Body positivity has become more and more famous over the last few years, it implies that we should love our bodies no matter what. It screams at our faces that no matter what we have gone through, we should feel positive about our bodies. It has turned into another goal we need to achieve. But lets be realistic here, although body positivity can be an incredible thing and of course it is amazing to love our bodies, for most people, it is not achievable all the time. And that is okay.
That is why today I would like to introduce to you the term ‘body neutrality’. Body neutrality unlike body positivity changes the narrative and focuses on appreciating and respecting our bodies regardless of how we feel towards them at any particular moment. It lets us focus on the things our bodies allow us to do rather than how they look. This can be difficult to do since most of us have been taught to focus on the physical aspects of our bodies most of our lives. But to go from disliking our bodies to being madly in love with them can be a difficult and long process and the last thing we need during this time is feeling shame about not being “body positive”.
Practising body neutrality can teach us that regardless of how much we like and love our bodies at any given moment, we can still appreciate what they do for us and subsequently show them respect.
This respect can be implemented by moving our bodies in ways that feel good (dancing, running, walking, etc.) and nourishing our bodies instead of punishing them for not looking a certain way or because we need to “burn off” whatever we have eaten that day. It can also be practised by buying clothes that fit instead of trying to make them fit.
But how exactly can we practice body neutrality? It can be tricky at first but just like anything else, it may take a bit of practise to get used to. Here are some examples to get you started whenever you hear that negative self-talk.
- My body allowed me to dance around the living room with my daughter today and that felt amazing.
- My arms let me hug the people I love.
- My legs let me walk my dog today.
- My weight has nothing to do with my worth.
Moving away from focusing on how our bodies look and instead focusing on our strengths as human beings can take away the shame around not loving our bodies at all times and allow us to respect our bodies no matter what.
Author: Bogomila Tosheva