Lately, all those ads that show up at the beginning of every new season (the current phase called the beginning of the new year is the most extreme one, but spring and the beginning of summer sadly aren’t much better) at all kinds of places so it’s basically impossible to escape them have been badly triggering me again, and because they make me feel this way, they also make me wonder.
Why is it such a huge deal for our society to pressure ourselves to slim our waist when something supposedly new shows up in our lives? Why, instead of focusing on what’s coming for us and trying to make the best out of it, do we reduce important matters to the shape of our tummies and put ourselves down so long that we start to feel like we aren’t enough anymore?
And why do we make something like the number the scale shows a more important matter than our happiness and health? Or maybe I should ask a different question: Why have we convinced ourselves that we need a certain dress size to be able to be both genuinely happy and healthy?
Whether it’s Instagram, YouTube, Google, the extra pages in the overpriced magazines, the billboards at the local subway station or the ad breaks on TV: Weight loss seems to be more important than anything else when starting into the new year. The variety of options, methods and advice are endless, but one thing is for sure: If you want this to be a good year, you need to get thinner.
And we believe it.
Trying on some shirts at H&M the other day, I overheard girls as young as maybe fourteen years talking about having to lose that holiday belly they’d gained, wishing my neighbor a happy new year, I got to hear about her being in desperate need to ‘finally’ get rid of her baby fat since her child is now already several months old, and going to the restaurant, my companion chose the ‘low carb’ options because that’s the only way to ‘get back on track’.
And yes, these things left me triggered and very self-conscious, but also puzzled.
Why do we make something as trivial as the amount of our body fat the center of your lives and the seemingly ultimate key to success in life?
It’s funny how we all tell each other how beautiful we naturally are and that we should love ourselves the way we are, but talk about weight loss strategies on the next page.
Is that really our life’s purpose? Isn’t that quite tragic when you think about it? That an image in the mirror defines how the world thinks about you, and even worse, how you think about yourself and whether you’re worthy or disgusting?
We’re constantly degrading ourselves to a level that it shocks and amazes me at the same time.
Yes, I do it too, but I wish I didn’t. This is not the way you should live your life. Desperately trying to change your shape to fit into a social construct of purely fictional perfection only gets you to one place: desperation.
I’ll never ever be good enough if I continue to let others determine whether I am.
It’s an unfortunate fact, but it is one.
This is a new year, and I won’t live it in self-hatred because I can’t acknowledge my own beauty and prefer to listen to sick voices telling me how to destroy myself for good. This society, these thoughts and these disorders are trying to take me down to make themselves feel better, and that doesn’t make them any better than another playground bully in middle school pushing around first graders to feel like a big man.
I need to end this before it ends me; I realize that now, and everyone else should too.
We. Are. Enough.
Downgrading ourselves just to belong at a sick place is not a mindset we should continue to raise our children with.
To quote one of my favorite online newspaper articles of all time I today finally printed out to finally give it its well-earned spot on my wall:
“Losing weight is not your life’s work, and counting calories is not the call of your soul. You surely are destined for something much greater, much bigger, than shedding 20 pounds or tallying calories. What would happen if, instead of worrying about what you had for breakfast, you focused instead on becoming exquisitely comfortable with who you are as a person? Instead of scrutinizing yourself in the mirror, looking for every bump and bulge, you turned your gaze inward?” – Lisa Turner
And now that I’ve finished my little thinking session, I need to get back to Netflix and my new KISS playlist on Spotify. Think about it, though. Ask yourself these questions. I sure will.
And before I leave… Read this (it’s not that long and you won’t regret it): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-turner/body-image_b_1431566.html