Affirmations for Body Neutrality

April 16, 2023

In the past decade, there’s been a huge influx of people pushing self-love as a crucial step to well-being. “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself,” as the saying goes. But what about when self-love just isn’t possible?

That’s where body neutrality comes in. Body neutrality is the idea that nothing in, on, or about our bodies is good or bad–it just is. It’s a possible pathway to self-love, but it also does well as a replacement for self-love if you’re not the kind of person who wants to romanticize your own body. If that’s you, here are some affirmations to get started.

  1. “I may not love this body, but I can appreciate what it does for me.” 
    Your body gets you up every morning, gets you places, and works for you because you tell it to. Whether or not you like it, its resourcefulness and helpfulness is undeniable.
  2. I can respect the way my body feels and attend to it accordingly.” In that same vein, your body sends the brain signals to let you know when it’s in need of maintenance. Even if you don’t feel like tending to it, this is an important step to self-acceptance that can gradually improve one’s relationship with the body.
  3. “I happen to have [acne], [stretch marks], etc. These aren’t good or bad; they are merely things that exist.” For certain physical “flaws,” imagining these things as assets or as “beautiful” is next to impossible. But that’s okay–they don’t have to be good, and you don’t have to view them that way. It’s okay for your body to just be.
  4. “Human bodies cannot be perfect, so I will let go of that expectation for myself. Bodily perfection is a myth.” Even if you spend hours every morning taking care of your physical body, you can never please everyone. Accept this. The “perfection” you’re striving for doesn’t exist.
  5. “My body does not need to change. I look how I look and that’s okay.” Filters and plastic surgery have their place, but sometimes it’s just easier to learn to appreciate yourself as you are. You aren’t beautiful or ugly–you’re just a person like anyone else.

Body neutrality is not just helpful for ourselves, although it certainly improves our relationships with our bodies. It also shines a light on the shallow nature of body expectations and the cultural idea of looking “right.” While self-love is certainly a radical and resisting movement, body neutrality can also be an effective act that teaches us that we don’t have to look good or “pretty” at all, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In that way, everyone is neutral and even, because beauty is a false idea anyway.

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