This week is World Harmony week, culminating in today, World Harmony Day.  The theme of this week and day is that everyone belongs, no matter what your race or ethnicity.  But I would like to take it one step further and talk about inclusion or belonging, no matter what your size or shape.

With the rise of social media, there has been a similar rise in online bullying and those famous nameless trolls that hide behind their computers and mobiles, shaming those mere mortals that are not “perfect”. Additionally there has also been a rise of body shaming and body attacking.

The growing fascination of the Kardashians and other celebrities who post their ever perfect lives on our screens daily, only serves to exacerbate that sense of exclusion and not belonging.  It widens the gap between those that fit, and those that don’t.

But as I write this blog, I ask the question, who is the person or persons who sets the standard and gold mark for that ideal? That perfect look? That ideal shape or size?  And why do we have to aspire to that? Who says we have to be like sheep and follow?

It has been argued that the lack of belongingness and sense of inclusion can cause various negative effects, such as a decrease in the levels of health, happiness, and adjustment.  Furthermore, it is argued that people who lack belongingness suffer higher levels of mental and physical illness and are more prone to a broad range of behavioral problems, ranging from traffic accidents to criminality and to suicide.  When we don’t fit in, we are apart, we are made to feel different, not good enough.  

So I ask you to consider this. Weight is just a number, not a behaviour. What is a number? It doesn’t define you? You are more than a number.

Size and shape are not a measure of a person’s personality, kindness or sense of humour.  Size and shape do not measure abilities, perserverence, or diligence.  When we put weight on the back burner, and redirect out energy to finding commonality and the like, we cultivate inclusion and good feelings.  This behavioural change benefits all individuals of all shapes and sizes, and benefits society at large.

Remember, we are all loveable, no matter what our shape and size.  It is important for us to be grateful and appreciate our body. We only get one.  

Self acceptance is empowering and rewarding.  If we accept ourselves, we can learn to be more accepting and tolerant of others.  We are all made of different sizes, shapes and colours. That’s what makes humanity beautiful and rich in diversity.

Happy World Harmony Day.