I’m a big fan of neutrality over positivity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to optimistic outlooks and affirmations. But I think the idea that we’re supposed to feel good all the time and be happy all the time is the source of so much dissatisfaction at the normal variances in day to day life.
In the recovery circles I move in we have a saying that I love: “life on life’s terms.” I interpret that to mean that basically I’m not in charge of the universe. Sometimes it will dish up stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily choose. These unexpected happenings can be what would ordinarily be regarded as setbacks, or they can be amazing little miracles that fall into my lap unplanned and unanticipated.
So that’s a nutshell background to set up my latest plug for body neutrality. I’ve blogged about this before. See my post “Here’s an idea: body neutrality” It seems I’m not the only one who thinks this. I came across an article recently called “People want to replace body positivity with something more relatable.”
What’s that more relatable thing? Body neutrality! The author, Lauren Gordon, says:
While Body positivity preaches unwavering self-love, body neutrality is almost indifference. It is the acknowledgement that your body exists in its current state and your reaction to that is more factual than it is emotional.
This really speaks to me. One reason it does is not that I find it difficult to preach unwavering self-love for my body (though I do), but because I’m not even sure that’s a thing worth preaching. This brings me back to my thought that the whole idea that I should love my body seems totally over-reaching to me. Why not just have it? Live in it? Experience it? Feed it? Move it in ways I find enjoyable?
Some people argue that body neutrality is a cop-out, a way of dissociating from the body rather than trying to love and accept it. I disagree. Being neutral rather than judgmental has long roots in all sorts of spiritual traditions. We cling to all sorts of judgments, opinions, and ideas that set us up to be constantly disappointed.
To me, the goal of body positivity is one of those things. When I wrote about body neutrality last time, here’s what I said:
But something more attainable [than body positivity], and certainly a step up from body hatred, is a neutral attitude towards our bodies. For me, I feel best when I’m neutral. Why? Because when I’m neutral I’m not passing judgement either way. It just is.
I would rather just be comfortable in my skin than basking in my body’s awesomeness (which basking is not a likely scenario for me). I’ve just come back from two weeks of wearing a bikini every day. And I have to admit, I don’t find that the easiest thing to do.
I just can’t get behind the idea that I’m falling short if I don’t love my body. It’s just another kind of pressure.
So here’s to body neutrality. I’m still a fan!