Happy Independence Day, to all you US of A peeps! I often write my love notes to you far ahead of time, but I’m actually writing this on July 3rd in the evening, sitting out in my screen house…and listening to fireworks in the distance. Very festive 🙂
That said, I’m writing to you today about something that is decidedly UNfestive. I was in Walgreens yesterday and came across the magazine section, and the picture accompanying this post is what I saw. As I looked at these magazine covers (and these weren’t unique), I decided that a reality check was in order, just in case you were being fooled by the mirage.
Out of the gate, these media images are one of the reasons that sooooo many people feel self-conscious about, and unhappy with, their bodies. They’re holding themselves up to these types of photos that are pushed at us, in a constant drip feed, from the media. So let’s unpack these photos a bit.
The people on the cover
First off, often the folks that grace these glossy magazine covers are under 25 years old. I, personally, am more than twice that age. And, the truth of the matter is, THEY don’t even look like that. They look like that on the magazine cover thanks to lots of hair, makeup, prep, oiling, waxing, blah blah and THEN it gets Photo-shopped.
(Please note that the male cover is 48 years old!!! I can’t even imagine what he has to sacrifice to achieve, and maintain, those results!)
How they got there…
I know the amount of work and discipline it takes to achieve these “looks,” and I want you to know too. Here’s the real deal: For the vast majority of the population, those bodies are not a natural result of eating Food Sass® and doing physical activities you love (what I call “movement” instead of “exercise”). Instead, these bodies are the result of being obsessive; ignoring your needs in many ways; and in some cases being downright abusive to one’s sweet bod. They’re the result of investing a staggering amount of time and attention to a highly rigid protocol (read: Pushing your body to the limit and not enjoying your food. Ever.). They’re the result of making your body appearance your full-time job. Literally. (Notice I didn’t say your body HEALTH.)
And, I can assure you that that woman has never carried a baby in that belly, and I can also tell you that it’s extremely likely that the man is receiving some…er…hormonal assistance…in achieving that look. ‘Roid rage, anyone?
How you would feel with that body?
There’s a saying that “A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” True dat. Happiness is an inside job. The second your happiness depends on circumstances, you’re guaranteed to spend a lot of time being unhappy. Because life, you may have noticed, can feel messy and hard and seem to have an abundance of curve balls thrown.
Joy comes from the inside. Not because you reach a certain weight or a certain pant size or because you look in the mirror and look like that young lass on the left in the picture above. Not because you have a certain sized house or a certain car or the latest fashion. Not because you hang out with a certain group of people or have fame or gobs of money or a yacht. Sure, some of those things can feel really fun, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. But if your happiness hinges on them, and/or you define yourself by them, that’s another matter entirely. Who you are, intrinsically, is far greater than any of that.
What are you willing to sacrifice?
I, personally, am not interested in having that body because the process that’s required to achieve it isn’t worth it to me. As outlined in the last section, I can have all the health and happiness and confidence I need without that, so why would I ever spend my precious physical, mental, and emotional resources on acquiring something that has no real payoff, for me? Right. I wouldn’t. I like to be healthy, to feel comfortable in my body, and be able to do the activities I like to do.
Rather than pursuing the pipe dream in this picture, I’d rather spend my precious time with my family, with my friends, working in my passion/business, spending time in nature, and pursuing my hobbies. Plus, achieving the body on that cover doesn’t mean anything unless I then maintain it. Which creates a deep fear of losing it. Especially if I place my self-worth in it.
My approach in my work with folks, helping them to create vibrant health, generates no fear of loss. It’s based on health, happiness and real-life flexibility. It’s real-life, practical, and sustainable. It’s about healthy body, calm & focused mind, and levity of spirit. It’s about joy and WHOLENESS, BodyMindSpirit. That’s not what’s being advertised in these pictures.
The media is the media.
The media outlets are free to do whatever they want. They’re not “wrong” to promote what they promote, as we live in a free country. Nobody is forced to buy their magazines. They also can’t dictate what happens in our lives or how we’re “supposed” to look. That only happens if we buy in…if we don’t see through the mirage. Hence, my hope is that this love letter to you, on this day of FREEDOM in USA, will encourage you to free yourself from needing personal validation in comparison to a magazine cover. You are so much more than that.
So, regardless of where you are in the world, your Mind Savvy® always provides you the freedom to choose, in your all-powerful mind, what you’re going to hang your hat on. I encourage you to not hang it on the images on these magazine covers!
Love & freedom,