In this blog, I want to discuss gratitude from the perspective of healing body image.
Personally, when I think about this, my mind immediately thinks of Body Neutrality.
I love Body Neutrality! Its philosophy softly & kindly reminds us that our value isn’t tied to our appearances or the ever-evolving impossible standards of beauty. Instead, Body Neutrality underscores the inherent magnificence in the body’s abilities & the daily miracles it performs.
Before getting into it too much, I’d first love to share a personal story with you.
A Recent Experience with Body Image & Body Neutrality
Last winter, I took a beach vacation with my family.
Adorned in one of my fave bikinis, I quickly became focused & aware of some changes in my body, primarily my belly, which had grown since the last time I basked in the sun in this two-piece.
Suddenly, that all too familiar self-consciousness started creeping in, & I heard that annoying critical voice whispering about how others might perceive me, how I look, should I……
I caught myself. I decided to STOP. By slowing down, I realized that it was the opportune moment to embrace Body Neutrality, instead of giving in to criticism.
Still wearing my bikini, I started to mentally jot down ALL the incredible things about my belly:
- It’s been a loyal friend, standing up to all kinds of food
- Never bugs me with nausea
- It has consistently stayed resilient even after eating some…well, adventurous… food choices.
This stomach of mine I realized, is loyal, a fortress, unfazed by challenges.
It’s hard not to swell with gratitude when such qualities are laid out in front of you.
In that moment, my journey with my body wasn’t about transitioning from insecurity to crazy, unbridled confidence, it was instead about acknowledgment & gratitude. It wasn’t about parading my belly, but honoring it, celebrating its efficiency & its role in my well-being & life.
Body neutrality, (complemented by a hearty dose of gratitude) provided me with the tools to reframe what was REALLY happening. Was the silhouette of my belly in a bikini truly the highlight or the main takeaway from that vacation!? Undeniably, NO!
I considered the bigger picture. The joy of soaking up the sun, savoring the delicious fresh seafood, having heartfelt & quality moments with family, refining my Spanish, wearing cute sundresses, & simply luxuriating in the laid-back vibes, took precedence.
My belly in a bikini became a mere footnote in a rich tapestry of wide experiences of this trip.
I gotta say, it was quite liberating.
It is possible for you, & anyone reading this to experience this freedom. When we broaden our perspective, assess priorities & focus on what genuinely matters, it acts as a balm to the societal obsession with physical appearances. It allows us to breathe & bask in the present moment, cherishing it for what it truly is.
In a world where women are too often reduced to aesthetics, body neutrality is a gift. It gives us the chance to see beyond the surface & value the essence of our being & the beauty of our experiences.
It allows us to live.
Body Positivity & Body Neutrality
Body Positivity emphasizes embracing & celebrating every inch of oneself. It’s a useful approach for lots of people, as it sincerely encourages self-love in a world frequently marred by comparison.
However, on those inevitable, difficult days when we find ourselves in a challenging situation filled with insecurity & self-doubt, Body Positivity can be unrealistic & hard.
It’s during these moments that turning to Body Neutrality becomes particularly comforting, as it’s a comfy middle ground – a place where we don’t have to love OR loathe our appearance, but simply coexist with it, accepting & respecting it for what it is.
What I love the most about Body Neutrality is how it nurtures gratitude from a different angle. Rather than emphasizing how we look, it places the spotlight on what our bodies can do.
Body Neutrality serves as a reminder that our bodies are more than what they look like. Hardly! They are vessels for us to experience what life has to offer, instruments of interaction & exploration.
Through Body Neutrality, we can cultivate gratitude for our bodies’ resilience, strength, & capabilities, recognizing that our true worth is not in how we look, but in how we live, feel & connect with the world around us.
Embracing Body Neutrality
As a female boudoir photographer, it’s safe to say I’m pretty obsessed with the beauty & artistry of the human form. I firmly believe that every curve, scar, & freckle tells a story that’s worthy of celebration. I can see that you are a masterpiece.
But, I acknowledge that this may not resonate with you or someone coming for a boudoir photoshoot.
Everyone who comes for a boudoir shoot is on a personal journey & may still be experiencing moments of doubt, self-criticism, or apprehension. That’s perfectly okay! In those moments, embracing body neutrality can be a transformative experience, extending a gentle hand of understanding & a new lens to view themselves, one that is kinder, more forgiving, & rooted in gratitude.
Can we practice it together right now?
Consider your legs. Way beyond their shape or tone, they carry you, taking you on countless journeys – from wandering in your local park to adventurous mountain hikes or strolls down unfamiliar streets in foreign places. Their function has allowed you to experience the world.
Then there’s the strength of your arms. Beyond their silhouette, they are instrumental in performing countless tasks, both mundane & profound. Whether it’s managing the enviable feat of getting all your groceries inside in one go (you know what I’m talking about!!!), squeezing a dear friend’s first child, or skillfully navigating in your car – they’re there, ready, willing & able.
And who could forget the belly? It gets a lot of hate & negativity, doesn’t it?! But, ultimately, its core function is to process your favorite foods, it’s the cozy resting spot for your sleepy pet, & most importantly, keeps you nourished, energized, & alive.
Body neutrality is incredibly helpful for newbies on their body image healing journey. But it’s just as helpful & accessible for you seasoned vets who’ve been journaling, going to therapy, practicing affirmations, dismantling internal fatphobia & racism, & even doing a boudoir photoshoot! It’s a comforting place, irrespective of where you are on your journey.
Body neutrality & fostering gratitude is an empowering journey as you begin to counter those nasty critical thoughts with body-neutral ones.
It invites us to avoid dwelling on unimportant, societal standards of beauty & instead on the wondrous capabilities & experiences our bodies afford us.
This paradigm shift not only fosters gratitude for your body, but also nurtures a more harmonious relationship to our bodies, celebrating them not just as objects of outward beauty, but as vital instruments to live a full life with many rich experiences.
Has your critical voice been holding you back from trying a boudoir shoot? Let’s change that. Fill out the form below to get started!