Friday, December 9, 2016

Neutralizing Your Response to Your Body

     There are thousands of messages in the world that tell us that we are not perfect enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough. Most of these messages originate with the media. The media has been shaping our cultural norms for decades. The media preys on our humanness, our desire to fit in, our desire to worthy of being loved, and our desire to be attractive to others. The media conditions us to not like our bodies.  The media has changed our perceptions about what we should look like, and what we should act like. Most women and men receive more messages from the media than any one person in their lives.

    critical thinking These messages from the media that thin is best are all around us.  Because this corrupted information becomes the norm, society continues to believe, accept, and spread these negative messages. With the media constantly barraging us with images of models that are deemed perfect– only after they have been photo-shopped, it’s hard not to feel self-conscious about your weight, shape and appearance.

     Changing our cultural norm does not happen overnight or with just one person.  It will take decades to undo the corrupted information. But there are things you can do now:

1. Start with deciding to define who you are and who you want to be. Pilot your own plane, drive your own car, be your own   person, chart your own path, don’t accept the unrealistic image that the media tells you to be.

2. Don’t make comments and judgments solely on a person’s appearance.  Be mindful of your own self criticisms and don’t criticize others.

3. Find a person to admire for what they have done, not for how they look. Challenge others to stop making comments about others’ appearances.

4. Learn to identify the messages that depict women and men only as one dimensional based on appearances.

5.Watch television shows and movies that show men and women with the total depth that they are and with characteristics that you can admire.

6. Be an educated and discerning consumer of mass media. Learn to question the messages advertisers send. Harness your power as a consumer! Spend your money on products that don’t perpetuate the myth that thin is best.

     Remember also that acceptance involves making a choice to accept yourself. You don’t have to love all your body parts, but don’t let your body image or eating disorder keep you from doing the things you love and living a full and meaningful life.

Accept Yourself, Accept others!

Laura Discipio, LCSW

ANAD Executive Director

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