Written by: Michaela Shaffer, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I had the pleasure of being recently interviewed for a college essay on body confidence and diet culture; one of the questions stuck out to me in particular. She asked me “Is there a difference between body acceptance and body positivity?”
Yes, absolutely there is! Just a few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a colleague regarding body image and self-worth and this exact topic came up. My colleague was telling me that body acceptance, to her, meant that you didn’t necessarily have to love every single inch of yourself but you had the ability to accept yourself as you are in that very moment. Whereas body positivity was about being able to express your body shape and your pride for your body as a whole.
Though they’re both in the realm of body confidence and self-love and are both integral parts of the journey at any time, each has a different purpose. Body acceptance is here to highlight our relationship with our bodies, it doesn’t mean we have to love every single part of ourselves. For instance, we may never love the stretch marks on our skin but we can come to terms that they are there. They’re not harming us and they most definitely do not take away from our beauty or sense of self-worth. They are simply a mark that has been created from a variety of circumstances: pregnancy, weight gain/loss, muscle growth… Seeing the mark (or whatever it is) and understanding it is simply a feature we possess, we are able to come to terms with our body in any given moment and accept ourselves fully, in that given moment. And any moment from there on out!
Acceptance is not a way of throwing in the towel and saying “okay, this is me forever I guess I’ll deal with it.” Rather it is a practice we can utilize to bring ourselves to the present moment, be with our body and understand that this is how it is right now. It can change but we first must be able to come to terms with who we are right now. Then your evolution can come.
Body positivity is a movement focused on the acceptance of all bodies and simultaneously challenging present day standards of beauty. Once we understand and practice the art of acceptance we can then better participate in body positivity and bask in the glow of our own confidence. Body positivity allows us the space to show up as we are unapologetically; on social media, in our relationships, in our lives! Again, this doesn’t mean we have to be infatuated with every part of ourselves but we are better able to love a majority of ourselves and express it to the world! We gain comfort in expressing ourselves through our “imperfections” by shining a light on them and understanding that we are more than just bodies. We are an impeccable soul having a human experience, and through that human experience, we are blessed with a body. It is part of our human journey to be one with that body and body positivity allows us to do just that.
We are all unique. We all have different genetics, backstories, bloodlines, lifestyles, shapes, colors, sizes, preferences...the list goes on forever. But all those differences make us who we are and we should celebrate and be celebrated for all of it! Body positivity is a movement we can all get behind no matter our age, gender, ethnicity, background etc. This is a movement where we can celebrate our beautiful selves and each other. Say goodbye to diet culture and its BS rules, restrictions and “guidelines” and forge your own path towards love, health and acceptance.
Michaela Shaffer, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Michaela Shaffer is a Body Image Coach who helps women ditch fad diets, destructive eating habits and negative self talk to embody a life of health, happiness and utter confidence. Before she became an expert in the relationship to the body, she too battled negative body image, mindset and destructive eating habits. For years she tried to attain the "perfect" body, going to extreme lengths to try and change her appearance, size and weight so she could then be accepted, loved and found worthy. However, things took a turn for the better when she formulated a proven holistic way to heal her relationship to her body, mind and even her emotions to find worth from within. As a result she became the happiest, healthies and most confident version of herself. With these proven steps in her online programs, "Sassy, Sexy & Confident" "Nourished Soul Collective" and "Back to Basics" she's been able to serve women and help them break free from diet culture, false beliefs, negative view of self and guide them to a life of freedom, confidence, health and happiness.