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Body fascism - as practised upon ourselves, by ourselves

…. and what impact it has not just on us, but on the next generation. Read Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin … Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbon. Read it and tell me you didn’t think “I do that” or “I remember my mother doing that”.

I know a gorgeous woman – but one who has never been skinny. She has curves, she’s womanly, feminine and beautiful. Her hair is long and dark, she has perfect peachy skin with just the right amount of freckling, and lovely big almond shaped eyes that she makes-up to perfection. She has beautiful hands with long nails, perfectly shaped and painted, she is always exquisitely turned out. But she worries … all the time. She hears her mother’s voice telling her than thin = beauty. She finds fatness almost sinful, bordering on disgusting. No matter how hard she tries, she believes it should be kept hidden, no attention should be drawn to it. She learned all these things not just at the hands of society, but at the hands of her mother, for whom beauty was everything, all a woman had, and upon which she would be judged. What a burden to bear …

Today as she approaches her 80th birthday, she is still gorgeous and looks years younger, but still she worries.

Even when we try hard to avoid passing on negative messages, we do it unconsciously: the grimace in the mirror at the big nose, the insistence that we need to cover up the less than skinny thighs, passing comment that our boobs are too small, our bottom is too big, how we could do without the muffin top … the list is endless. Most of us would never judge another’s body in the same critical manner as our own. We actively seek out the positive and we praise it, yet we’re hard on ourselves. The problem is that our daughters hear us, they see us, they take it in whole, and it becomes part of their belief system.

The only way to break the cycle is to be kind to ourselves. Sorry, but it is. No-one is perfect, we all have bits we dislike or would rather were different. The thing is to stop obsessing about them, to stop giving them our focus and our energy. To do that thing we do with our friends – to look at our bodies, seek the positive and praise it. No, I’m not asking you to shout about it in public, but to make regular affirmations to yourself – and to keep making them until you believe them.

So, start today with the self-love and make it part of your self-care routine for life.

© 2015 Caring Coaching originally posted 1st June 2015