People tend to jump to a lot of conclusions when it comes to body acceptance or body positivity. This leads to some common myths. I’ve chosen five of them to discuss here.
1) Body acceptance is only for women.
Not true! Body acceptance is for everyone on the gender spectrum. Women tend to be the focus, because the pressure on them is more obvious. Even so, other people on the gender spectrum find themselves under pressure to conform to certain standards also. There is quite the lack of representation for them in the body acceptance movement though. I will be attempting to be inclusive, but will likely tend to lean toward addressing women and femmes since that is my perspective.
I’ve searched for some sources of info and support from other views for you:
There is a very noticeable lack of gender neutral body positivity sources. After searching for some time, I think your best bet is to search Tumblr and/or Pinterest for “gender neutral body positivity” or something similar (without the quotation marks). I will be keeping an eye out for any good links, and will be sure to update with them as I find them.
2) Accepting your body, as it is right now, means you are lazy.
Not at all! Many people think those who love body acceptance do so as an excuse to not take care of themselves, but that is not the case. Body acceptance encourages you to cultivate love for yourself and your body, and show that love by taking care of yourself. Showing yourself love includes eating food that you enjoy and makes you feel well, staying hydrated, and moving your body in ways that are enjoyable and make you feel good.
You don’t do these things with any intent to change your body, only to care for it. There doesn’t need to be any guilt over how you actually care for yourself either. Your self-care is always up to you. There is much more to this idea, but that isn’t the focus of this post. If you are interested, you will want to look into Intuitive Eating or mindful eating. If done without a dieting mindset, intuitive eating and/or mindfulness can be a wonderfully body positive way to approach food and self-care.
3) Body acceptance is only about appearance.
Absolutely not. While there is a good amount of focus on all body shapes being acceptable, that is not the only important part. We also need to be able to see what our bodies are capable of doing. Many times people are able to start by appreciating how their bodies function, even when they can’t appreciate and accept their bodies otherwise. Appreciating the strength of your legs, how your arms embrace your loved ones, how your ribs protect your organs, all these things are part of body acceptance.
4) Body acceptance can be found overnight.
I honestly laugh at this one. I feel I can safely say no one ever has. We are conditioned to hate our bodies. That message comes at us from all sides, everyday, and a single article or decision won’t overwrite it.
Being body positive, or even just neutral toward your body, takes making a decision each day, and helping your brain rewire itself in how it thinks. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you are still struggling after a few weeks. As long as you are working toward accepting of your body, you haven’t failed.
Which brings us to our final myth.
5) Once you find body acceptance, you will never struggle again. (Or you will love your body at all times.)
Even the biggest names in body positivity struggle some days. No matter how clearly you are aware of the lies in the media, these messages have still made a deep impression. This takes a long time to counter, and we are still getting ongoing negative messages, even if we take steps to adjust our “media diet”. (Media diet = what we see each day).
Of course this will lead to days where you struggle no matter how well you’ve been doing. Everybody does. But you will have tools and knowledge to help you through those days.
I feel strongly that everyone deserves to have positive feeling toward their body. Hopefully this post helps alleviate some of the reservations you may be having, or give you answers for anyone in your life questioning your choices. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com with any other questions or concerns you may be having.
A popular “buzzword” lately has been “body positivity”. Not everyone feels ready to have positive thoughts toward their body. In that case, it may be easier to try for body acceptance.
What is body acceptance?
Simply put, body acceptance is just accepting your body as it is with no judgement. It is a step toward body positivity and loving yourself without requiring any change. Another way to look at it is body neutrality. This article covers it well. Just not hating their body can be a huge step for some people.
I’ve talked before about acceptance. Self-acceptance is recognizing and accepting all parts of yourself with no judgement. You can read more here and here. Body acceptance is similar. It is being aware of your body with no judgement. It’s seeing your body as neither good nor bad, but simply a body. If you aren’t ready yet to jump into body positivity, acceptance is a wonderful place to start.
Why body acceptance?
Why be accepting of your body? Well, basically, you are living in the body you have right now, and it does you no good to hate on it. Even if you are sure that, no matter what, you want to change something about your body, you are still living in this body currently, and being negative toward yourself will help nothing. Real change can only come from a place of love, and that is what body acceptance (and body positivity) can give you.
No matter what you may find to be flaws with your body, it is important to find peace with it now as it is. Your body doesn’t have to earn your respect and care. It deserves to be treated well just as it is. It is taking care of you daily, the best it can. You can return the favor by keeping up with your self-care and being gentle with yourself.
How to start working on it.
There are a few exercises you can use to work on your body acceptance. One of the simplest, though not the easiest, is to spend time each day in front of a mirror (naked if possible). Find at least one thing nice to say about your body each time. If you find yourself having negative thoughts about your body use my method of Beating Negative Thoughts to interrupt yourself, and start turning them around. The goal may be body positivity, but it is fine to shoot for neutrality or acceptance at first.
Now make a list of things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your body. Shoot for 5-10 to start. It helps to remind yourself how much more there is to you other than your body. You have a lot to offer the world, and you should be proud of that.
Another helpful activity is to start a body gratitude journal. Spend time each day writing down things about your body you can be grateful about. Perhaps it is the way your legs allow you to go on walks, or the way your hands help you to do your hobbies. Maybe you are grateful for the hugs your arms can give, or the great food you get to taste with your mouth. Before long you will have an amazing list to read back though, and see all your body does for you.
Body acceptance is not an instant thing. There isn’t a quick fix. It is very worth working on though, and I hope you will be willing to take steps in that direction. Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their body.