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Why Do We Need to Accept Our Bodies to Accept Ourselves?

Body shaming, body positivity, and now body neutrality. It seems like the whole world is telling woman that in order to feel confident and love who you are, you have to love the skin you’re in. The whole idea places more value on what we look like physically than who we are inside. On one hand, it’s sad and superficial. But it is also the reality of the world we live in, causing a lot of women to deal with low body self esteem overall confidence issues.

Body positivity is idea that all bodies are great bodies and no matter your size. The concept is that you should just simple love your body unconditionally. Seems easy enough, right? Sure in an ideal world, it would be amazing to wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and love absolutely everything you; but in reality, simply telling myself that I love my cellulite doesn’t make it anymore true. It would be the same as saying “I want to have a dream job” or “I wish I was eating a sushi” and expecting either to just show up without taking the steps to apply for the position or order from your favorite restaurant.

It takes a lot for a woman to simply just love herself the way she is, especially with the imagery that surrounds us everyday. Instagram feeds are full of filters, Photoshopping, aspirational influencers selling fit teas, body shaming in comments, and even the opinions of other women. To tell a woman to just embrace her body and love it is really easier said then done.

Then comes body neutrality, the middle man between body shaming and body positivity. In a nutshell body neutrality is saying to embrace the journey of getting to a place where you love your body and feel confident in it. It’s okay to not love your body where it is right now, but doesn’t mean you have to hate it, either. Body neutrality is a more realistic idea of women increasing their body self esteem and getting to a place of more confidence by taking it day-by-day.

Body neutrality is something that real women can work towards in their journey not of body positivity, but self love. To me, body neutrality allows women to stop looking at just their physical appearance and look at what they love about who they are as a person. We all look in the mirror and see things we don’t like, whether it’s stretch marks or places you wish you had some extra weight. Having these feelings is okay (and totally normal BTW). It doesn’t mean that you hate yourself. Because for every morning like that, there are also days we look in the mirror and love everything we see. You appreciate your freckles; you are proud of your legs.

“Our bodies have been given to us to live our lives, not define us,” Christine Morgan, the CEO of The Butterfly Foundation, in an interview with ELLE Australia. At the end of the day, it’s not about comparing ourselves to rest of world. It’s about using our bodies in our journeys to living, experiencing, learning, and loving ourselves.

(Photos via Jaida Brinkley)

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