Body Positivity (Bo-Po) appears to be a major goal for all of us. We should all be able to feel more comfortable in our skin, I 100% agree. But making the jump from body-hate to body–love? Difficult. And so I have a suggestion for you…
Now, today – just as a little disclaimer- I’m not getting into the whole “Is praising X/Y/Z body type healthy/dangerous?!” thing. Anybody can have underlying health issues, at any size. Yes, some body types are more susceptible to certain diseases- but your doctor will be able to run tests to ascertain if you have such conditions. Moreover, I think we’re all able to identify little signs that tell us if something is wrong inside our body, for ourselves. If you struggle to walk for long periods of time, your bones feel weak, you get dizzy etc. then they’re sure-fire signs something is wrong. Guess what? I had those feelings when both over and under weight. Those feelings can happen in any body type, and for a range of reasons. Equally, feeling full of energy, strong, and mentally content can happen with any body type. Skinny or lean doesn’t automatically equal healthy. So, let’s get back to discussing Bo-Po- because who doesn’t want to be a god/goddess? Or rather, a-hem, accept that they already are?
I’ve already said that Bo-Po is a major goal, and that’s just it: its something you have to work at, and that takes time. I am personally not positive about my own body. I am working on it. Because it can be a very hard thing to achieve if you’ve had any mental disorder surrounding appearance- hell, its hard for anyone.
I am here today telling you that you don’t need to go straight to Bo-Po. I know, shocking. I’ve found that the best starting point for me has been body neutrality. So, not looking at my body and making nasty comments on it, basically. Or, if they come letting them go- just letting them slide through my mind and not responding, the same way a cloud gets moved along in the sky. I’m not (usually) going to chase a cloud, because I have better things to do. Similarly, I am not going to obsesses over these thoughts. I may think “I wonder where that thought comes from? How true is it? Hm…I know it isn’t true, and its coming from my feeling X/Y/Z about A/B/C”. And then I move on. I’m neither viewing my body with extreme love, or hatred, but rather a “meh, this is how I look, don’t really have an opinion on this, lets get on with my day and being awesome”. This has two major advantages:
- Before you can rebuild you need to remove. I am removing the bad thoughts slowly, moving through body neutral, and into (eventually) Bo-Po.
- I am not placing undue focus on my body, as I feel that for me desperately trying to find things I love about it would create another problem. Instead I am focusing on things outside of how I look.
Body neutrality is basically a stepping-stone that I am finding very, very helpful. In a way, it remind me of what children do (the time we’re usually least conscious about our bodies): they look at their body and see…a body! Then they go run around or dress up the dog or climb a tree.
And do you know what? “Bad body days” still happen, but since letting myself off of the Bo-Po hook and being neutral I’m suddenly discovering something: removing the pressure has made it easier to sometimes be body positive. Yesterday I looked in the mirror and thought “wow your thighs are getting big…”. And then, instead of going “meh”, came the: “yeah, that’s because you squat with 30kg now- its strength you’ve got there” – before I could stop it. I automatically turned what I initially perceived as a negative, into a positive.
My point is this: you don’t have to go from hatred to love overnight. It takes those people on IG who are Bo-Po Warriors a long time to get there, and its a mental battle. Take it a step at the time. For some, neutrality is more comfortable. You can always just go from there, or even stay there.