As a kid growing up in the 80s, I would steal a furtive look at my sisters’ magazines and absorb the seemingly glamorous world within. Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford, Paulina Paroskova and Elle McPherson were the role models, the ones who truly had it all. In the 90s as a teenager I had my own magazines and the era of the super model was in full swing. Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Linda “I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000” Evangelista, Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington. None of us put up the slightest resistance to the impact they had on our ideals and dreams.
The problem was not a lack of goals, but misdirected goals of wanting to be slimmer, more glamorous, tanned, “gorgeous”. Eventually in the late 90s Anita Roddick had a self esteem campaign for The Body Shop that reminded us “there are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do”. The problem was, we still saw the message as “those 8 are more beautiful”. I loved Anita’s campaign and I have gratitude for it also. We needed this voice of reason. In hindsight, though, I see that the message I craved was not “you can never reach the heights of the supermodels” but rather “the pinnacle of a life well lived is not a certain waist circumference. The reason to love your body is not a bra size.” In fact, the purpose of our body is not to be found in the mirror, on a set of scales or via a tape measure at all.
Our bodies are not decorative objects. We as women are not aspiring arm candy. Our bodies are the sacred vessels that we experience life through. When our favourite meal makes our taste buds sing, when we long for the embrace of the one we love, the exhilaration of dancing to a song that can’t be ignored, the warm balm of spring sunshine on our faces after a long winter…this is the nature of our body.
So make a vow to yourself to be the conscious observer of the thoughts and attitudes you hold towards your body. When you catch yourself chastising part of your body, remember that you are seeing it in a reductionist light that misses the point entirely, and switch your attention to the real dreams of your life.
Be the example you hope the daughters and nieces in your life follow. Rejoice in what your body allows you to experience. If you hope the young girls in your life will always look in the mirror with benevolent eyes, then do the same yourself. If you hope their minds will fill with academic challenges to triumph over rather than counting of calories or obsessing over thighs or a dress size, then turn your focus to a worthy thought first. And if you dream of that young girl being deeply loved, spiritually fulfilled and inspired by life… then don’t reduce your self to being merely a number on a scale. What you are cannot be measured. What you are is Love.
ANd now I’d like to hear from you – how are you committed to showing your body kindness? Let me know in the comments! I would love to welcome you to cosy and kind community of open-hearted women… if that sounds like you join your Sisters With Heart here.