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  • Writer's pictureDianne Lange

Body neutrality - eliminating a lifetime of unhealthy body image lessons

As women, we're surrounded by a society obsessed with body image, particularly with the perception of how the ideal female should look. Maybe you can identify with this too?

Why is the world so focused on bodies and how we look? Because for much of our lives, we've been exposed to and virtually brainwashed by media, other people's opinions, friends, movies, television, magazines, advertising, social media and even our mothers and fathers, to think that as women, how we LOOK, more than how we actually are, is a big deal. You may say, "That's not true!" but it really is when you think about it.

Take this example - when you meet someone for the first time in ages, one of the first things you say is, "You look …great! …amazing! …fit!"…and so on. The operative word here is "LOOK". Hearing this repeatedly, you become accustomed to the idea that people respond positively to how you look. It's no wonder that we, over time, become very aware and sometimes obsessed by the way we LOOK.

What if we instead focused on our own positive attributes - or everyone's positive attributes for that matter? You may not have the slimmest thighs, but damn, they're so strong you propel yourself down a steep black ski run like an expert! Your face might have wrinkles, but it's a face of a thousand priceless experiences that comes with the age you are.

It's actually about time that we are seeing body positivity become a mainstream topic. It's a reinforcement that demonstrates it doesn't matter what size, shape, colour or race our bodies are.

BUT, why does it have to be about our bodies at all? Why should bodies be the focus? Of course, I understand that the first thing you notice about a person is their appearance, but it shouldn't be the main focus.

I'd rather love to share the concept of "body neutrality". This fabulous idea celebrates that EVERYONE has something they dislike about their bodies. They learn to accept it, get over it, and move on to more important qualities, such as generosity, patience, determination or creativity. As long as our bodies are healthy, it shouldn’t matter how they look.

At the age of 52, I have decided to embrace my body. It has scars from my childhood and adulthood that remind me of happy and sometimes challenging times. It has "housed" and birthed my three amazing girls. It continues to change over time, getting softer and rounder with crinkly wrinkles from smiling throughout my life. I appreciate it for its strength, health and ability to continue to accompany me as I gracefully grow older.

I've taken the liberating decision not to dwell on negative thoughts of my body anymore. It has taken me this far, so I now have the deepest respect for it and accept it however it looks. After being surrounded by negative body image messages over my lifetime, I deserve to be free of these toxic thoughts. As long as I am healthy, my body will keep me going so I can focus on my adored family and valued friendships and continue to live life to the fullest being true to myself.

Has this struck a chord with you and you want to learn more about body neutrality? Instagram has some very inspiring body neutrality pages for you to get you on the road to feeling great about yourself. Check out these Instagram pages:

  • bodyneutralitymovement

  • bodyneutralityy

Or leave me a comment!

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