Wednesday, February 23, 2011
“We live in a culture that worships thinness.
Media images establish what it means to be beautiful in our society. It doesn’t matter that the vast majority of us don’t look like the people we are taught to adore.
We are taught that our souls will only feel as good as our bodies look; that we can never be happy unless we reach physical perfection.
Our obsessions with eating and weight mask the deeper needs of our spirits. We are looking for a way to maintain peace, order, and security in a world that seems out of control.
We want to be happy and healthy, to feel accepted and connected within a larger community. We need to sense that our lives are meaningful—that we have a greater purpose.
The traditional way to manage these kinds of spiritual yearnings has been through religion.
Many people have adopted “The Religion of Thinness”. This religion teaches us that controlling our weight will gives us a feeling of control over a lives.
It offers us the hope of health and happiness through the idea of the “perfect” body, which we believe is attainable through diet and exercise. It teaches us to feel morally superior if we “eat right” aka less and connects us to a larger community of women who are trying to lose weight. It gives us rituals, such as counting and burning calories, that create a sense of order. And it includes a plethora of icons and symbols in the form of models and actresses whose image we are encouraged to recreate ourselves.
Perhaps most importantly of all, it gives us an ultimate purpose—the “salvation” that comes from being thin.
But in the end, its promise are hollow. The Religion of Thinness cannot fill the emptiness we feel inside ourselves.
It cannot satisfy our deepest hungers—our hunger for love and acceptance. It cannot undo the past or solve the problems that exist in our lives. It is merely a distraction. The hope it offers is an illusion, one that we have been fed by the media and other sources, and one that many of us have consumed with a religious-like fervor in our quest for meaning and purpose.
The truth is that our happiness and worth is not dependent upon being skinny.”
-Michele M. Lelwica
We can derive a sense of purpose not from trying to make our bodies thinner, but rather by simply being who we are and doing what we love.
Find a sense of purpose in being a mother, father, a daughter or son.
Find it from being a student and working hard towards a goal and a dream.
Find it from a job or hobby you love.
Find it from making other people happy.
Find it from surrounding yourself with people you care about and love.
Find a sense of purpose simply from the fact that you are alive, that you are breathing.
That you have a voice, an opinion, a mind.
Our weight and appearance are such a small and insignificant part of who we are.
You are so much more than a number.
You are full of meaning and purpose.
You create it every moment.
You are unlimited.
Set yourself free.