The Attack on Body Image
‘Angsts about the body robs a woman in some large share of her creative life and attention to other things’ Clarissa Pinkola Estes*
In our desperation to fit into the ‘ideal norm’ we have limited our ability to dream. Too much of our time is caught up in thoughts that serve our ego rather than our higher potential. In specific how we perceive our physical body image
Have you noticed that the more you obsess about your body the more your thoughts are taken away from grand visions to a miniscule mindset? A lacking, a sense of limitedness or not (good) enough feelings?
Are you finding that most of the conversations you have with people (women) are more often than not focused around weight and diet in relation to our bodies? And is anyone else freakn bored to death of it?!
We sub-consciously and often in full consciousness, mentally ‘take down’ our fellow mates. Women do it to women and men do it to men, however the latter in a less quantitative amount then the former. But all this attacking serves no one. Especially ourselves. The more your thoughts are of picking ‘flaws’ in another, the more your own unhappiness with your physical identity is prevalent. Our thoughts about another are often just a mirror about ourselves. There is a woman where I work that does the ‘look up and down’ assessment, before you’ve even shared good morning niceties. She isn’t even aware she’s doing it. I used to find it offensive, but now I realize it’s born of her own insecurities about how she see’s herself. I imagine the constant comparison must take up so much of her mental energy.
Admittedly I used to be caught up in the body-image-attack. All I could see -and judge- in others was my own perceived body ‘flaws’. I would have feelings of envy towards others who I saw as perfect – in comparison to me. I would have feelings of sympathy if I saw someone who, I thought, shared my ‘flaw’. But in reality my feelings were based on my assumption of what I thought was perfect and NOTHING to do with the physical appearance of their bodies.
Our comparison with others needs to end. Its all fake stuff we’re making up in our head anyway. And what does it really matter if someone is shorter, taller, rounder, skinner, etc. than you are? I promise you, they are looking at you wishing they had something of yours, as they believe is better than theirs. Oh and to that point, don’t compliment someone if you don’t mean it. Because they can feel the insincerity behind it. So while the words may sound good, they don’t feel good. This, I believe, is the most damaging talk that women can do to each other. We are intuitive beings, some more than others, but we all can tell when a compliment is routed in honesty or fallacy. There is another lady at work who I think has really grasped this, or more accurately, let the judging go. I often hear her say to people ‘You look really well’. She doesn’t dish it out to everyone; it’s said from a genuine place of belief that the person she’s speaking to looks ‘well’. How awesome is that! A compliment that is open to interpretation. It feeds into our own individual belief of what ‘well’ means to us. Its not hitched on a measured physical note being size, height, weight, etc. This type of statement reinforces the receiver to believe that what and who they are in that moment, is pretty awesome. That kinda compliment can make someone’s day.
So remove your judging score cards and relax the comparisons, it serves neither and damages both. Besides, haven’t we got more creative things to pay attention to?
*Quote taken from the book The Women Who Run With The Wolves pg 202.