Body Positivity vs. Body Neutrality

When Body Positivity Seems Impossible, Aim for Body Neutrality

By Grace Kim, Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia 

The idea that a woman’s body should look a certain way has been reinforced through social media, movies, magazines and even our parents. This concept doesn’t only apply to women, but men as well. Societal standards have pressured individuals, particularly the preteen to young adult population, to conform to a particular way of looking that has created lasting effects on their mental health. It is time to transform to a newer, healthier way of viewing our bodies—through body neutrality.

If body positivity focused on appearances, body neutrality focuses on acknowledging what your body does, not what it looks like. Body neutrality is a “middle ground” approach to viewing our bodies, rather than a “black and white” approach. When you stand in front of the mirror every day and repeat positive affirmations to yourself that you don’t actually believe, they can backfire. The subconscious mind will reject this and make you feel more stressed and resentful of your body.

Body neutrality addresses the question, “If I can’t love my body, how can I choose to respect it?” It’s about focusing on how your body functions, how your feet allow you to get from one place to another. How your stomach allows you to digest the food you swallow. If we can get to a place where we learn to respect our bodies, recognize and be grateful for all that it can do for us, we wouldn’t give too much energy to negative thoughts about it. The relationship with our bodies has always been a little complicated. Hopefully embracing body neutrality can be the avenue that works for you in order to repair that relationship and improve your mental health along the way.


About Grace Kim: 

Grace Kim is a Resident in Counseling providing services at the Woodbridge location and is a Qualified Mental Health Professional for Children (QMHP-C) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Grace received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Master of Arts Degree with high honors in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South University. 

With extensive experience in providing outpatient counseling services to children, adolescents and young adults, she also has sufficient experience working with adult clients with longstanding substance abuse issues. She is an individual who has had her own share of mental health challenges and with the help of those around her, she has been able to overcome obstacles and barriers in her life. Grace believes she is still growing, learning and in some ways, healing and wants to work with individuals to provide the hope and support she was given in her darkest times. Grace recognizes the barriers and restrictions that minority cultures often face when dealing with mental health issues. It is Grace’s passion to work with such individuals of various minority backgrounds to confront these challenges and experience breakthrough and acceptance. Grace is ready and willing to work with you or your child to explore any latent issues and improve your daily functioning in a healthy way. To learn more about Grace, visit HERE

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