There’s been a lot of talk in our culture about “body positivity”, and what that looks like. In the ideal, body positivity promotes celebration of your body, no matter what it looks like, and self-love. “You have to love yourself above all else and don’t worry about what other people say or think.”
The message seems to be super supportive and loving, in and of itself, but when you take a closer look, it’s not actually changing our mindsets.
For example, I was scrolling through my Facebook the other day and came across an article with a headline that read something like this: “15 Celebrities Who Claimed to Love Their Bodies and then Lost a Ton of Weight.” The main point being if you claim body positivity, why would you want to change your body?
Seriously? So, these people who are body positive and are promoting that message get slammed because they made their bodies better? If you love your body just the way it is, does that mean you aren’t allowed to work out or try to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle? Should you just not care about trying to be healthy because you might change your body and that would apparently go against your body positivity campaign? Ridiculous… Obviously, if you love your body, you’ll realize it is something that you should take care of.
Also, when did body positivity become only about people who are overweight? What about people who have an unhealthy body image who have eating disorders? What about people who just don’t like the way their knees look?
We are at a point now, where nobody can win. Either you are fat-shamed because you are overweight, or you are shamed for losing weight because “you should just love your body the way it is”. Neither promotes a culture where everyone’s body is accepted.
Finally, as a Christian, I have a very hard time when I hear people promoting “self love”. No where in the Bible does it say “you should love yourself”. “Love God“, “love your neighbor as yourself”, yes, but not “love yourself”. Know why? Because we already love ourselves too much.
Does this mean that the Bible is against body positivity? Not necessarily. It just looks different. A Christian should still work to have a healthy image of their body, not because we need to love ourselves, but because God made us in His image and everything He made was declared perfect. He didn’t make a mistake when He created you and when you hate the way your body is made, you are doubting God’s goodness and perfect creation.
The other side of that coin, though, demands that we take care of these bodies we have been given. So, yes, workout, eat veggies, and do everything you can to have a fit, healthy body that is going to bring glory to God. But also realize that no matter how many sit-ups or push ups you do, or how many miles you can run, there will be things about your body that you can not change, and that you just have to accept.
So the answer is not to “love yourself”, but to love others. Because, maybe if we all focus on making somebody else feel loved, instead of criticizing them at every turn, we will all be able to create a culture that is truly body positive.