When you love yourself, it is a rebellious act against a society hell-bent on making us insecure about our bodies. Body neutrality is the concept that has been generated after years of hate towards oneself. This allows us to accept our body for what it is and respect it.
The concept was necessary as it shifts the focus from false positivity about one’s body, which one may find to be problematic. The latter is body positivity which was loudly and proudly accepted by people oppressed by the society’s standards.
It is important to appreciate the abilities of our bodies as it shifts the perspective from physical appearance. Basically it is being “at peace” with your body. A confusing concept at first for many, this article aims to address the concept, helping you navigate it and if you want, master it.
How Did We Get Here?
Just when we were accepting the concept of body positivity, we have a new concept at our doorstep. While discussing the topic with my friend Joe, he shared what the majority of us have been going through- “Didn’t we just start feeling positive about our bodies?”
I thought, yeah, he is right, we just started feeling positive about our bodies and accepting that whatever we have- it is good. It just naturally begged the question “why do we need body neutrality?” So, in an attempt to answer this for all of us, I have begun with this article.
The cause of several mental health issues, the beauty standards of the society are unrealistic. That’s a given. When I was first made to realize that there is something wrong with my body, I was in my elementary school.
This was different from what I had been surrounded by my whole life till that point. Just so many other individuals, I started feeling less of a person and more of a worrier. I would worry if I am looking ‘presentable’ while stepping out.
Thinking back, I am in awe of how much I missed out on just because of the ‘fear’ that I wasn’t good enough. In retrospect, I notice how many teenagers went through the same thing as me and how many still face this.
Why Is It A Topic Of Discussion Now?
On an online forum I had recently joined, an individual in his early twenties shared that he was insecure about himself. He added further that people around him made him feel uncomfortable about his boy. Commenting on it and telling him to change his ways of living.
This instilled this idea in him that something was wrong with him. Which wasn’t the case. Which isn’t the case for anyone who has gone through it. It is appalling that people give into the urge of sharing their opinion on someone’s body and appearance.
And just as I am writing this down for you, “Who says” by Selena Gomez plays. This song was one of the biggest support for me when I was feeling quite low on self-love. Since then, her songs have been my go-to! A perfect role model for anyone, in my opinion.
The fact that so many of us have gone through the same thing, so much so that even celebrities and pop stars are not spared. I exclusively added them to the list due to the idea that have- “celebrities do not have any struggles” you must have heard someone say or were the one to say it.
A rise in body positivity which is accompanied with the rising negativity towards people accepting their bodies, mandated neutrality. This is where body neutrality stepped-in to save the day.
What Is Body Neutrality?
The first time I heard of body neutrality, I was perplexed as I just began loving myself, repeating all the affirmations. “My body deserves immense love and care” became my morning mantra. But then comes this idea of detaching from the physical appearance of my body.
“How does that work?” I found myself wondering, but as I started researching, it hit me like a bus! This is the best- we remain neutral on the appearance of our bodies. This concept was simple, no positive or negative image should be associated with our bodies.
This may look like a fairly tough feat to achieve, however, it’s clearer as you get closer to understanding it. The idea of a mindset that does not allow us to rely on physicality but shifts it to the abilities. And also other non-physical aspects which makes us who we are.
Being neutral about our bodies allows us to not force love towards it. It’s repetitive- with the affirmations and pushing away negative thoughts or self-talk to promote only positivity. Though it has been helpful in building a positive outlook towards our bodies.
It is tough to keep up the habit when you do not believe it to be working. This is a natural feeling that comes with it. Body neutrality removes forced positivity, so that it does not become toxic body positivity.
In a nutshell, body neutrality is what lets us accept our bodies as it is. Recognizing the vitality of our organs, such as the thoughts that make us ‘Us’, and how kind we are. All of it allows us to become gentle and respectful towards our bodies as well.
Only when we have accepted ourselves as we are, can we develop the ability to accept others where they are. I believe it to be one of the most important aspects of being kind towards ourselves.
Body Neutrality Vs. Body Positivity?
So what was wrong with body positivity? You wonder as you read pages after pages on body neutrality. Well, to be honest, nothing really was the matter with it apart from the people making it toxic. Especially when people were forcing others to accept the concept, pushing them to the sidelines. This is when a neutral stance on the body was born.
Many advocates of body neutrality exist, however, the first ever prominent figure to express their support was actress Jameela Jamil. Her support acted as a head turner for people who were tired of false positivity.
Not sure if it was body positivity OR toxicity?
Where positivity was feeling forceful, neutrality is like a breath of fresh air that does not let you suffer from overthinking. The idea behind neutrality has been to decentralize objectification of bodies by eliminating the correlation between one’s worth and appearance.
This makes neutrality the winner of the race towards absolute self-love. Helping us reach a good quality of life through mental and physical wellbeing.
Why Is Body Neutrality Important?
The concept is important due to the acknowledgement of the body’s natural process of going through ups and downs. The importance of this concept comes from the respect that is promoted over love. This concept also prioritizes the way our bodies allow us to experience the world, rather than focus on appearance.
How To Practice What Has Been Preached?
Body neutrality is an easy concept to accept and incorporate in your life through the help of body neutrality affirmations. The following statements are a start to accepting this concept:
Body Neutrality Statements
These following statements should help you accept the concept and promote its acceptance within your life:
- My body helps me grow as human
- My arms allow me to hug my favorite people
- My hands let me high-five my best friend
- My feet take me everywhere
- My body is growing and I am grateful
- I love my legs because they help me swim and run
- I love my eyes as they let me see the beauty in everything
- My shoulders help me carry my bags
- My body looks good in this dress
- I am happy the way I am
These statements and more, helped me shift myself from toxic positivity to body neutrality.
The most important part of body neutrality is taking away any connotation from your body and replacing it with neutral thoughts. It is an important concept to incorporate as you are worthy irrespective of your physical appearance.
Moreover, this idea allows us to stop drawing comparisons between ourselves and someone else. The concept stops us from forcing positivity which can become tiring, making us hate the process.
Lastly, it is important to note that this is a process which requires time to be achieved completely. Being patient will help you in the long run.