BODY NEUTRAL VS. BODY POSITIVE
I am going to be very honest with you. I try to be positive, loving and caring with my body every single day. Does it work? No. I wish it would, but it’s not as easy as the media projects it. Because a lot of people struggle with being body positive all the time, there’s a new movement in town: Body neutrality. But what does that actually mean?
In a world where we are on the one hand told to love ourselves and on the other hand to hate ourselves (just look at things like diet tips, clothing that makes us look slim, diet teas etc) it is tough to stick to a positive mindset. At the moment for example, I have a cold - hence I can’t work out at all, which is the worst for me and my mind. On top of that, I’ve eaten more junk that I was planning on last week.
So no, I do not feel great about my body at all at the moment, in fact, I try to avoid a mirror, because I just feel like a big junk of cookie dough right now. But hey – it’s ok.
I still don’t hate my body, talk negatively or worry about it. Why? Because in those times I am actively trying to jump on the body neutral movement. But does that work for me?
Let’s unwrap that term. Being body neutral does not mean you don’t care about your body. It simply means acknowledging that you don’t love it to the fullest every day – but that you also don’t hate or talk bad about. It it’s normal to feel insecure about the way you look (yes, because that’s what society taught us and it’s so damn hard to fight it). Being body neutral is a term that comes to my mind on those days, when I don’t feel particularly sexy or like I have the best body ever. It’s ok for me to wish that that little donut around my belly button would magically disappear – but being body neutral is about knowing that this is simply not important. In this movement/feeling, it counts what your body can actually do. It can travel to places, meet people, it’s able to do these things, regardless of the way it looks. And I have to admit, that is damn powerful (and a big ass privilege).
Some say being body neutral, aka focusing solely on the ability of your body and see beauty in that is healthier than trying to be body positive as much as possible. And they might be right.
But - do I want to be body neutral all the time? My answer is, in all honesty, no. I want to reserve being body neutral when I feel my literal worst. Why? First of all, my looks are more important to me than they probably should (yes, and in the meantime I am fighting the beauty standards society is constantly putting on us, even if I unfortunately mostly follow them myself). Second of all: I love self love! I love body positivity! I love working on myself! I love celebrating myself and other women and how fabulous we and our oh so different but amazing bodies are. Even if I don’t love myself all the time, I want to love myself most of the time. I want to be happy about my body and the way it looks. Self love is a journey but I’m so willing to live this process and get better every day, because I truly want to love my body – which I do passionately 85% of the time.
Accepting it is just not enough for me. It’s like settling for a mediocre romantic relationship. And who would want that?