I am sharing the article “Passing On Body Hatred” with you because one, I think it’s important for every woman to read, and, two: it is my story as well.
Being a professional wellness coach and consultant and working with hundreds of women in the area of self-worth, self-esteem and the difference between the two, I have seen lives go unlived because of “feeling fat”. Countless years of my own life were spent disliking my body and imagining myself as fat. I have finally realized that my children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews love the “me” inside, not the packaging. After growing older and wiser, I have lost my youthful beauty; after living life for all these years, I have wrinkles; and after a near death car accident, I have many scars. But nothing can take away my love for my family and my eagerness to hold each one close and tell them how much they are loved. This transition has taken some time…the important part is that it happened. And that I know my worth lives “inside” – not on the outside, following some cultural message that we have to look a certain way.
This article addresses the dangers and the deep impact “fat feeling” mentors have on youth. It is written with beauty, compassion and a resolve to break the cycle handed down to most of us (women) from generations before us. The author states that “feeling fat” is not a feeling. I agree! Feeling fat is a state of criticism and non-acceptance: at its core, it is a thought. And thoughts are just that: thoughts. They are not true. So how do we break this way of describing ourselves that so many of us have learned?
I believe that we start where we are. Right here, right now. Begin by pausing…by “being with” what is…and by owning it. This is my body: every cell, wrinkle and imperfection (I don’t even like that word, imperfection – compared to what?)…let’s say simply ‘this is my body’ and all of it is welcome here. Here in my heart. Here where I live every day. Here where I love others, give and share myself. And then, acceptance. Again, we start where we are.
When children hear a derogatory comment made by a woman about her own body several things happen. First there is disbelief. Then there is accepting the statement as true. Then there is a shift in attitude toward the adult figure. She is fat and ugly and adults don’t lie…this must be true. Sometimes there is internalization or taking on the belief oneself: I am fat and ugly or I will be fat and ugly when I grow up. This behavioral pattern can go on for generations. I know it has in my family.
This madness has to stop.
Every moment we spend worrying about our physical ”flaws” is a moment wasted, a precious slice of life that we will never get back. And as the author of the article states: “Let us honor and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs.”
Please folks: take a couple of minutes and read the article “Passing On Body Hatred“. Let’s collectively pledge to improve our own lives starting right now – and be strong, confident and loving mentors for our young women.