2 min read

In the realm of cognitive flexibility, without humility, it is impossible to admit to wrongness, to an attachment to a flawed idea. You become your thought, your narrative; you equate anything challenging it to a challenge of your very self. The task, impossible at times, is to dialectically hold two uncomfortable truths: that people who have been exposed to indoctrinating narratives most of their lives are not at fault for that, and that they are simultaneously responsible - assuming exposure to free information and accessibility - for examining the validity of those narratives.  To consider what voices and historical perspectives have been offered, hold them up to the light, and evaluate their truths.


HALA ALYAN


We are not responsible for the messages about 'beauty' we're exposed to as children.

I love the words from Hala Alyan above. They speak so well to what I’ve been through with body image. It was not my fault that I bought into inhumane, toxic beliefs about how people ‘should’ look and what constitutes beauty. 

The indoctrination started when I was a young, impressionable child. And it continued throughout my life without me being aware of it for decades. 

Until I started to wake up to what was going on. And at that point, I started to bear responsibility for what I did next.


As adults we become responsible for the beliefs we live by, and convey to others.

By this time, I was an adult pregnant with another innocent child. And I had to start acting like a grown-up when it came to what I was choosing to prioritise. I needed to recognise the fact that the way I thought and lived was now playing a part in creating the culture in which we live, a very tiny part maybe, but a part nonetheless. 

I had a duty to examine the validity of the narrative about attractiveness that I’d been buying into because it was hurting me, and so many others. And what hurts one of us, hurts us all. Because it dulls the light we shine in the world. And goodness only knows how much we all need one another to shine our light as brightly as we possibly can.

As soon as you realise that you are holding a belief that is harmful to humanity - something that makes people feel excluded and undeserving of the full gamut of what life has to offer - you can drop it, and thus make the world a better place. 

It’s a wonderful opportunity.


You have the power to change the world by taking responsibility for the way you live your life.

You don’t have to wait for other people to do it first. You can lead by example.  If you’re finding that hard, please know that you don’t have to do it alone. We can help one another wake up to the truth of who we truly are and become more open to letting go of any beliefs that get in the way of love.


Conclusion

  • As children, we are not responsible for the toxic messages about 'beauty' that we receive. 
  • However, as we grow up and become adults, at some point, we must take responsibility for the ideas that we are endorsing about the way bodies are 'supposed to' look.
  • As soon as we recognise that we have become a part of the problem, we become responsible for becoming a part of the solution.


And now it's over to you.  Tell me about your perspective.

  • Do you blame today's so-called 'beauty' standards for the suffering you endure when it comes to your body?
  • Do you see that the problem now lies within your own being, that you have internalised these messages and keep them alive with your attention and respect?
  • Do you believe there comes a point when adults have to take responsibility for their lives and stop blaming other people and outside forces for their beliefs and actions?  When does someone reach that point?
  • Do you recognise your own power to endorse or reject today's so-called 'beauty' standards?  Or do you see yourself as a helpless victim?

Let me know in the comment box below.  I'd love to hear about how you see this.


Reach out if you'd like support

As social creatures, it can be hard to reject social norms by ourselves.  And it can be comforting to have solidarity as we make the journey to a life of greater authenticity and integrity. 

If you'd like some support breaking free from today's unhealthy so-called 'beauty' standards, check out my free resources or find out how you can work with me.


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