I. Just. Can’t.
I Just Can’t Even….
I just can’t get into one more body/body part disparaging conversation with another woman.
I. Just. Can’t.
Haven’t we all done this at some point? Either to connect with someone, or ‘beat someone else to the punch’ of pointing out or judging your (oh so obvious) flaws, or to ensure that they don’t think that you don’t think you’re better than they are, or that you think you’re perfect?
I so have. So many times. And I’m so over it.
I. Just. Can’t.
I just can’t promote or encourage or participate in any more body disparaging conversations. I can’t even. It does no one any good.
When we do this–talk about our saddle bags, or squishy bellies, or our cellulite, or how we have ‘X’ amount of pounds to go until we feel good, we devalue ourselves. When we engage in this kind of talk with each other, we break down our value into that of body parts, we objectify ourselves, making our worth equivalent to only that of how ‘good’ this piece or part of ourselves looks. When we talk this way, about ourselves and to each other, we promote feeling badly about ourselves, we promote shame, we promote feeling unworthy–and I can’t be a party to this any longer.
We wouldn’t want our dearest friends to talk about themselves in a way that made them feel less than worthy. We wouldn’t want our mothers to talk about themselves in a way that made them feel less than worthy. And we definitely wouldn’t want our daughters to talk, think or feel about themselves in any way that made them feel ‘less than,’ or ashamed of their bodies and themselves. It would break our hearts into a million pieces.
The human body is so beautiful and amazing, capable of great feats of strength and endurance, adaptation and growth. Having a healthy, mobile, fully-functioning body is cause to celebrate, not denigrate.
So much more can be accomplished when we focus positively on our gifts, talents and blessings. So much more comes out of viewing ourselves as a total human–mind, body and spirit, and appreciating that amazing package.
We are so much more than just a body part,
or the sum of our collective physical bits and pieces.
So from this point on, I just won’t. I won’t participate in conversations where body parts are disparaged, I won’t talk about my own body in a negative, devaluing manner. I won’t condone those conversations when they happen around me. I won’t listen to family, friends, clients use negative language about their bodies.
I. Just. Won’t.
I hope you won’t either.
“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
– Kristen Neff*
It’s a hard habit to break, such a socially accepted conversation (among women, generally), but one that’s worth the effort to tackle. But imagine the relief if you stopped pointing out all your ‘flaws’ and started point out your strengths. Imagine how good that would feel. What a giant weight might be lifted from your shoulders, or lump of shame removed from the pit of your stomach. Imagine how much more you might be able to accomplish feeling good, feeling positive, working towards goals and dreams rather than against fears of not being good enough and feelings of body shame.
Let’s do this thing. Together. Let’s take this pledge:
This is how we effect real change. This is how we begin to free ourselves and others of body shame. This is how we grow into our greatest selves. Together.
*Kristin Neff, Ph.D. is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, being the first one to define and conduct research on the topic over a decade ago. In addition to her pioneering research into self-compassion, she has developed an eight-week program to teach self-compassion skills.