As you may know I’m a huge fan of body positivity. For me, a huge part of learning to love myself came with learning to view my body positively.
Recently I stumbled across a different concept – body neutrality.
The idea behind body neutrality is that you don’t have any negative or positive thoughts about your body. Instead you take a neutral approach to it.
It’s accepting your body as it is, but not focusing on really learning to embrace and love it.
Body neutrality is recommended for people who find body positivity to be too hard. It’s touted as being more achievable.
I have mixed thoughts about body neutrality. I think it’s a great stepping stone but I don’t think it should be your final goal.
For me body neutrality is all a part of the journey.
It’s a way to help you learn to let go of the hate and to reach for acceptance first. It’s hard to make the leap to immediately loving something that you’ve previously spent so long loathing.
And body neutrality provides that middle ground.
As a self-love advocate this may be a strange thing for me to say BUT I never want anyone to think self-love is easy. At least not at the start. It’s hard but it’s definitely worth it.
Body positivity is worth the effort it takes to change your mindset and your self-esteem.
It takes time to come to a place of feeling positive within and about your body. But it’s something that’s so, so important to do.
You’re never going to wake up one day and suddenly love yourself. I know some people claim that they decided to love themselves and then immediately their whole life changed. But for me it took time. Days, weeks and months of slowly chipping away at the self-loathing thoughts.
I’ll always tell people that when it comes to self-love some days are harder than others. That even though I can wholeheartedly say I love myself, some days I work really hard on that. Some days I compare myself to other women or feel unhappy with the way I look. (And that’s ok and normal).
Those days happen but I have the tools to bring myself back to a more positive mindset.
We can’t always control how we feel about ourselves or our bodies. We can’t control those mornings when we wake up and just feel gross. The days when we feel terrible in every single piece of clothing we own. BUT we can control where we let our thoughts go from there.
We can notice the negative voice and then learn to turn it down. We can learn to change the way we talk to ourselves. We can add in a positive voice to counteract the negative one. Even if you’re aiming for neutrality, you need an alternate to the negative thought – my thighs are ok, my body is ok, my stomach is ok, etc.
Even with self-love there are parts of our bodies that we accept but might not overly love. I have parts of my body that I’m ok with having, although they’re certainly not my favourites.
Take cellulite for example. I’m ok with having it (I no longer fixate on it or feel ashamed for having a bit of jiggle) but I wouldn’t say I love it. Sometimes I’m a bit self-conscious of it, but most of the time it doesn’t really bother me.
Body neutrality is a great way to move your self-worth away from the judgement you place on your body.
If it makes it easier to only focus on accepting yourself first, that’s great.
If body neutrality intrigues you. Fantastic. Give it a go.
Let go of the goal of self-love for now and aim for neutrality instead. When self-love no longer sounds like an impossible-to-reach goal, then start working towards it.
You can learn to love yourself. You can.
Self-love is never complete. You’re never done. And you can see that as a good thing or a bad thing.
I think it’s a positive one. Because you’re not chasing perfection. You’re just keeping to your own path. You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got.
And you really can learn to love yourself.