What does your relationship with your body have to do with your social life?
Remember in my introductory post outlining my new ‘structure’ for my blog I noted that social would also include mental and emotional health as well.
So in that context especially, your relationship with your body is directly affected by “social” influences.
I don’t want to discount how this relationship develops or evolves for men, but I have very little first-hand information about that topic. My focus will be on ways I have seen this relationship develop for girls and women, or those socialized as women, including my own relationship evolution.
It is only recently that I have taken the time to research this topic more for myself. What I have learned and continue to learn has been enlightening, frustrating, and shocking. But if I can become more aware and educated, I can share that knowledge and perhaps a ripple effect can begin to make a change.
It is one of the reasons I want to help women who are struggling with body image. It is a struggle that has taken more than its fair share of energy and brain power in my own life.
The analogy comes to mind that was shared by David Foster Wallace in his commencement speech to the graduating class at Kenyon College in 2005.
“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
That is my experience with the “social” aspect of my relationship with my body.
The “water” in the relationship here is what society has fed women forever about their bodies.
The challenge is increased by the fact that societal standards around women seem to be ever-changing. It’s an unachievable target that leaves many of us constantly feeling that we will never be able to measure up in an acceptable fashion.
At one point in history women were the picture of health and recognized as being beautiful and wealthy because they were more curvaceous. Now we live in a world that pushes tolerance and inclusivity for everyone….unless you are in someway outside the sphere of ” typical” beauty. It could be weight, skin, hair,… who knows. But being outside of this “normal” is not to be accepted. It is a sliding scale of what is “okay” and should be tolerated.
So the waters that we swim in are the waters of objectification of our bodies both by the people around us, and by ourselves.
It is such a “normal” part of our lives that we don’t even stop to question whether it could be any different. I can find countless ways I am sold that I would be happier, healthier, or have more in my life if only I was stronger, thinner, taller, shorter, had longer lashes, the “right-sized” body proportions, better skin, no visible pores, the perfect nails, the right clothes, the right sized clothes, longer hair, shorter hair, curlier hair, straighter hair, no hair (except on my head), whiter teeth, brighter eyes, ……and on and on and on.
And when we add in the social piece of compare and despair it is always a losing battle.
I am comparing myself to someone else and I am either finding the ways that I am somehow superior (which leaves me feeling the judgment and criticism for them and inevitably myself) or I am the one not measuring up in other ways (more judgment).
But how could I ever measure up to something that more often than not is a fictitious standard to begin with? Makeup, procedures, camera angles, filters, Photoshop, and all the ways that media portrays the “idealized” standard of beauty make it impossible for us to replicate.
Until we decide that enough is enough, that beauty is in our diversity, and that our natural authentic selves are what make us each beautiful in our own ways, it will continue to be a struggle.
I’m Michelle. I am learning how to minimize my overwhelm, perfectionism, and people-pleasing and I am ready to help you do the same. I’m a certified Life Coach and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Come with me and learn how.
And in that struggle is the opportunity to develop that relationship with ourselves; to discover who we truly are and what makes us uniquely beautiful.
Elenor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
As a society we seem to have become all too concerned with discussing people and how they are or are not measuring up to the current standards of acceptable beauty; even when we are framing it in the context of a compliment.
How can we influence those around us to move forward in discussing ideas? How do we learn to shift the compliments we give others from their physical appearance to other traits and qualities that we admire?
As I continue to improve my relationship with my body I give others the space and grace to continue to develop the relationship they have with their bodies as well. When we engage in this work collectively we become a force for change in the future world that we create for generations that follow us.
Send me a message and tell me about your relationship with your body by clicking the link to “Contact Me”. Share with me how you nurture this relationship and what you find most challenging. Tell me what, if anything, you would like to be different in your relationship. If you prefer, you can “Schedule a Conversation” for a free session to discuss what you want to work towards and how to get started.
Remember…..It’s ALL good!!