Updated: Sep 7, 2019
Yesterday I went to a function hosted by the Hungarian community center with my family; Mom, Dad, my sisters and my nieces. When you go to anything Hungarian, you can be sure that there will be a ton of food. Be prepared to eat and eat and eat. If you don't eat, they think you hate their cooking, you hate them and it is a direct insult. As expected there was a lot of food on the table for the family but my one niece was just not interested. That was quite unusual as she is growing still and has a good appetite. My sister and I started talking and it turned out that on that day, my niece only had a granola bar and a slice of bread because she thinks she is fat. She is 12.
Now this idea is obviously not hers. Even if we don't directly tell our kids that they are fat, when we criticize our bodies, we show them what is good and what is bad. Kids soak in through listening and also by observing.
It made me so angry that someone whos happiness and self worth is tied into how she looks was so careless as to influence a fragile 12 year old by bitching about her body.
This goes for other areas as well; money, love, possessions, status, etc. We hear "I will be happy when ...", and that day never comes because who that person is will never change. We also hear "be grateful for what you have" ties into this exactly too, because if you don't have grace for yourself and the things you already accomplished, how will you see value in more? This of course doesn't mean that you stop striving but love where you are and celebrate your journey.
My kids are adults now and super comfortable with their bodies, not thanks to me, because I was no different as a young mother. They developed a healthy body image despite of me because they were involved in sports - I did one good thing by involving them in physical activities.
My anger is not really directed at the person really but the cycle we continue to pass onto our kids. By the time they get over this body image bullshit they already had their kids and passed it onto them.
How do we stop? How do we break this cycle?
People come in all shapes and sizes and that is how we were created. It is probably the older generation that has to start campaigning for the younger ones. Send the message, make them understand that they are whole and complete and beautiful as they are.
If you are part of this tribe, start speaking louder with words and actions.
Let's stop the self judgement cycle.