We receive thousands of messages a day which instill ideologies about our body image. These messages tell us how we should feel about ourselves, which is usually some form of negative perspective. We could always be better. We can always do more. We should be better and we should be doing more in order to be better. Consequently, we never feel like we are enough because we don’t feel like we are doing enough to feel good enough about ourselves. The result has been generations riddled with eating disorders, poor self-esteem, body image issues, and complex mental health problems.
The body positive movement which has steadily been rising on social media platforms is a long awaited and necessary revolution in body image. Rather than promote negative messages, the body positive movement promotes positive messages of acceptance and self-love. However, the movement does make an assumption: that we should love our bodies and that loving our bodies is better. On the one hand, the assumption is logical. Positivity and self-love must be better than negativity and self-criticism. There is a place for both. Truly holistic living understands that there is a balance between both, embracing both the yin and the yang. Should we be told to love our bodies. Arguably, what we should be hearing is to meet ourselves exactly where we are without any kind of aversion. Perhaps we don’t have to be negative or be positive but recognize the fact that we are being– and that our being happens within our physical form.
Body neutrality is a budding buzz term for the body image movement. As cited by New Zealand’s Stuff, cllinical psychologist Bryan Karazsia explains that “Body neutrality goes a step further [than body acceptance] to as an important question: Why all the fuss about the body?” Instead of focus on being body positive as an antidote to body negativity, body neutrality means practicing equanimity. Equanimity is a largely Buddhist concept which broadly means creating a foundation from which you cannot be shaken by either good or bad. Being present in your body can mean mindfully acknowledging moments which feel either negative or positive, but do not let either define how you feel or see your body. It is easier said than done, however, it isn’t said enough by advocates for transformational body image.
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