I do not consider myself a feminist. In fact I personally have never felt less then a man, or felt the need to prove that I was not. I give credit to my father for this, for he raised my sisters & I with a pride that bordered on being egotistical & to my Grammy Brown who was one of the most powerful people I have ever known. That being said, I do get worked up when I think of the negative way in which many women see themselves and the influence the media has on their opinion. I am not writing this from a perspective of never been there…for I struggled as a teenager with an eating disorder and can honestly say that the damage caused by it crept around the dark corners of my mind for many of my adult years. The need to be perfect in appearance is one drilled into women from such a young age that often the damage is done before our minds are old enough to realize we are being brainwashed. We are bombarded with images in movies, magazines and television of what it looks like to be perfect. All the while never conceiving that what we are seeing isn’t even real. Even before the magic of digital editing existed their were plenty of other forms of illusion used to create the ideal woman. The irony is not only are we bombarded with images of what it looks like to be beautiful, sexy and desirable, but we are simultaneously told that to dare present ourselves as scantily dressed as the sensual mavens of glamour we would be indecent. Now I am not saying that one must be scantily clad to embrace their own sensuality or power. I am simply trying to point out the paradox in which women are suppose to exist & how this paradox systematically steals the delight and joy that living in a body has to offer.
Many religions and philosophies speak on the importance of honoring the body as a temple & from a scientific point of view quantum physics has proven that thought matters…what we think-we create. When we continuously tell ourselves we are fat, ugly and generally not good enough we are programming our minds & bodies to believe this is what we are. The reality of it is folks we need our bodies, they are a necessary part of existing in this realm. Yet most of us, particularly women spend an excessive amount of time telling our bodies how much we hate them & then wondering why they don’t want to cooperate with us. We treat our bodies as if they are the enemy, not a life partner we should cherish. I know I wouldn’t want to do any favors for someone who constantly told me I wasn’t good enough. If we were to spend half as much time thinking thoughts of love to ourselves we would be stellar. Take a moment and think how many times a day you insult yourself & then how many times you compliment yourself. I am willing to bet for most people this number is way out of proportion. We need to start changing the way we speak to ourselves in our mind and out loud. No one comes into this world thinking they are not enough. No child just learning to talk says “I’m too fat”, “I’m too skinny”, “my nose is too big”. These thoughts are learned behavior, and like all learned behavior it can be changed.
Change is hard and often we need help, I highly recommend working with a mantra. The word ‘Mantra’ means-a sound, word or phrase that is repeated in prayer or meditation. It is a simple grouping of words infused with spirit that can be a powerful aid. Mantra’s are most effective when kept simple, a few words or short sentence that you stick with. In meditation you simply repeat the mantra for 10-15 minutes a day while sitting comfortably. They can also be used continuously throughout the day to counter bad programming…when the negative thoughts pop into your head start repeating your mantra (5-10 sets at a time is usually good). Mantras work by reprogramming the brain, or countering the bad programming your brain is already spewing out. The programs we pick up are brought about by repetitive exposure and eye contact. Parents, teachers and peers are all part of the programming we’re exposed to daily. However media has proven to be one of the most powerful tools of propaganda, as Nazi Germany so clearly proved to the world. When we consider how much exposure the average person gets to media it is no wonder the effect it has on our mindset. The worse part is most people go around unaware they are being programmed. I would like to say it is all accidental, but I am afraid the cynic in me does not believe that. I believe that unhappiness breeds consumerism…for there is always a product to make you more beautiful, thinner, smarter, happier, just plain better.
I invite you all to change your programming. Start whispering sweet nothings to yourself on a regular basis. Better yet start saying them out loud to yourself while looking in the mirror…use that eye contact for your benefit. Remember you are good enough, and the body that is serving you is to be cherished. Start researching the digital manipulation that is used to portray beauty and you will see that what the media calls beauty doesn’t even exist. It’s all smoke and mirrors my friends, smoke and mirrors. Real beauty comes from the soul & sexy is a state of mind….it is owning your own sensuality. Namaste-the light in me salutes the light in you.
*I would like to point out that even though I wrote this as a love letter to women, men too can be the victim of bad programming. I have great love and respect for men and realize they too have roles and expectations placed upon them that are not only unhealthy but unattainable.