It feels like every time I scroll through social media, I get an interesting combination of “love your body” and this is my “dream body.” Everyone promotes self-love and body positivity, but then back hands it with photos of their goal body. They still follow fitness accounts on Instagram and buy magazines that share their “secrets” on how to lose those last five pounds.
I’ll admit that I don’t love my body. I haven’t jumped on the body positivity train yet. I could definitely eat healthier. I say I want to eat healthier a few times every week, but don’t change my habits because I genuinely enjoy quesadillas, queso, and beer. There’s always the tomorrow that never seems to come. I work out a healthy amount as a college athlete, but I could always be in better shape.
Instead of body positivity, let’s consider body neutrality. That is what I’ve come to terms with. Like I said, I don’t love my body completely. I know there could be improvements, but I don’t hate it. It has done me well and has kept me healthy so far. I have reached a point of acceptance with it. I won’t lie and say that I don’t wish I was skinnier or more fit, because like many, I do wish those things. I also know I could be those things if I stopped letting personal choices get in the way of me and my goals. If I said goodbye to ice cream and picked up some carrots or if I ordered a salad instead of French fries for a side. I know what I have to do, but right now the will power isn’t always there.
So, I’m advocating for body neutrality.
I’m advocating for women and men like me, who are okay with where they are in terms of their bodies. It is unrealistic to expect people to go from hating their bodies to loving them over night. At some point you have to hold off on striving for perfection and take smaller steps of acceptance before love.
I’ve seen people of all ages, races, and sizes flaunting what they’ve got and I think that is awesome for those people. I’m happy they’ve got the positivity that the rest of us crave but for those of us who just aren’t there yet, I’m asking you to come to terms with acceptance.
Accept that your body is yours and no one else’s. Understand that this body is yours forever. No matter how many pictures you scroll past of fitness models, their bodies will forever be theirs. Their bodies are unique to them and reflect their choices. Just as your bodies reflects you and your choices. You have to accept that.
I think body neutrality is more realistic for everyone who hasn’t been able to reach body positivity and doesn’t know if they ever can. This is the stepping stone needed to close the gap between body hate and body love. It’s going to lead you to the decision between chocolate chip pancakes or egg whites with spinach in the morning. It’s going to lead you to decide if you want to go for a run after work or watch a movie.
Body neutrality will help you decide it’s ok not to wear a crop top even when everyone else in your group might be, because you feel comfortable in a V-neck shirt. It will help you feel more comfortable in a bathing suit of your choosing. It will help you find your line of sexy and cute.
Body neutrality is making yourself happy above anyone else. If you want to order pizza for dinner because that is going to make you happy, then go ahead and order it. It’s not about aiming to please everyone else; it’s about making yourself happy and being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about accepting yourself. You have to become friends with yourself, before you can fully love yourself. Start with the little things and accept who you are, then without even realizing it, body positivity might not be so far out of reach.
You deserve to love yourself. Body neutrality is just a pit stop on the way to body love. Be proud of who you are and know you have the power to change your life everyday. You just have to believe in yourself and remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, so put yourself first.
Featured image via Unsplash