I was working from home the other day and had the television on in the background just for noise. Another one of those endless “infomercials” came on and broke into my consciousness. Apparently, a “noted dermatologist” has discovered a new body part for us to focus on with shame and hate….Our necks. Are you kidding me? Don’t we have enough to worry about with all our dry frizzy hair, crow’s feet, pucker lines, sagging derrieres…etc…etc…etc.? Now it’s necks! His point being that we spend billions of dollars on facial products but rarely do we apply those products to the all too vulnerable neck and décolletage. He proves his point by showing pictures of women’s necks asking people to guess the age of the individuals. “Necks only” scored high…very high. 60 years of age to 75 and up were the estimated ages. He then showed pictures of the women’s faces who had owned those necks and the estimates of age dropped like rocks. The guessed ages dropped 25 to 35 years in most cases. WOW. Who knew? WE SPEND SO MUCH TIME LOOKING AT OURSELVES FOR FLAWS ... THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY Okay…so we missed a spot. Or maybe we have been sticking our necks out too much. Whatever the cause…it’s time to concentrate on a new body part and spend, spend, spend. No, I didn’t go running for the phone to get his miracle neck cream. But it did get me thinking. When did we get so hyper critical about ourselves? How deep do we dive when it comes to negative body image? What’s bugging you about your body? I asked that question to friends at lunch the next day. Everyone had an answer as individual as they are. To get things rolling I went first. “I hate my elbows. Not always, just from when they became so dry and rough. Nothing seems to fix them.” Another dear friend had made a habit of going to sleep without taking out her stud earrings. Over the years this has caused her earlobes to flatten out and now her earrings look like they are falling out. She can get this problem solved with a quick and expensive trip to a plastic surgeon. “Remember when I broke my little toe last year? Well now that it’s healed it’s twice as big as it was and all my shoes hurt now” complained my sister-in-law. Her podiatrist said that the bone could be shaved down, but that sounded even more painful. No way! It looks like new shoes will cheer her up. My little anecdotal survey yielded a mother-load of new body parts to hate. Elbows, earlobes and baby toes may be just the tip of the iceberg. Ask around. I bet if we all asked four friends what body part would they like to change about themselves we would come up with a veritable “Gray’s Anatomy” of examples. All negative! Wait a minute, isn’t that the way we all look at things lately? Our hyper-wired, high-speed, super-connected universe is full of negative images. They are everywhere and we can’t seem to look away. No wonder we spend so much time looking at ourselves for flaws. There has got to be a better way. In the words of that earlier mentioned Infomercial: “But wait, there’s more!” I have a much better idea. Instead of asking about body parts we hate. Why don’t we ask each other about the things that we love about ourselves? I am sure we can all come up with some fabulous examples of things about ourselves that make us proud. And won’t that be a much more enlightening and uplifting conversation? If you still can’t come up with things you love about yourself, I am sure that you friends will come up with those wonderful things for you. After all, what are friends for? In the meantime, I have decided to use those creams I already own on my neck and give myself a little break from self-criticism. I may even try to kiss my elbow.