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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bucknell chapter.

Imagine it’s your surprise party. There’s a lot of work that was done behind the scenes that you don’t understand. As you are walking through the door, everyone pops out from where they were hiding, yelling, lights flash on, and confetti/balloons start coming down, from where, you’re not sure. This is what body positivity feels like- in your face and way too loud. You want to love your body, but you may not like it, so how are you supposed to be positive? 

Body neutrality- your new best friend. 

Body neutrality is “the ability to accept and respect your body even if it isn’t the way you’d prefer it to be” according to the NY Times. To put it plainly, you don’t need to appreciate everything about yourself, just recognize that you can shift how you view yourself, even a little bit. Instead of working out or eating to look good,do what makes you feel good. If you want to just go for a walk or skip working out, do it. If you’re eating out and want the chocolate lava cake instead of the fruit salad for dessert, do it. You use stressors or energy and put that into your workouts, not the super positive surface drive you get from body positivity. If you woke up early or had a frustrating day, go to the gym and, quite literally, work it out. Apply this thinking to everyday tasks as well to get the most out of the movement. When picking out clothes, instead of wearing the ill-fitting top that is always complimented, wear something that you feel comfortable in. When someone is confident you can sense it, dressing for you boosts your mood.  This way of thinking also will help combat unhealthy lifestyles that could or have led to an eating disorder, which can be life-threatening. By only thinking of ways to enhance your body, you are ignoring one key factor in this process, you. If you are not doing what you want but doing what you think you need, this is not body positivity. 

Although we’ve realized that body positivity can be negative, we can still use it while trying to stay neutral. The neutrality in your actions lifts your spirits and with that, your happiness. Honestly, the two movements go hand in hand. It is up to you to figure out how you can mold them so they help you. Body neutrality is not isolating or detaching yourself from feelings about your body. Rather, it is the missing building block toward body positivity. Finding joy in the small things, not focusing on the big picture. 

It is important to take every day as it comes and start thinking about yourself, not in an egotistical way, but in an appreciative way. There is no secret key to happiness. It can’t exist because happiness looks different to everyone. I see it in Taylor Swift and chocolate croissants. You could see it in dogs in sweaters or painting a house. Happiness is an individual feeling that grows different for everyone. Your task is to figure out how to make it bloom for you. 

Julia is a first year at Bucknell University. Currently, she is aiming to major in Psychology and minor in Social Justices. When she is not writing she is running or getting an iced coffee. She loves cats, books, and Taylor Swift!