The world’s self esteem gets kicked up a notch.
France, the global fashion industry icon, has officially banned the super skinny model. Websites that incite excessive thinness are also banned. Lawmakers propose the new law will protect – from various eating disorders – not only the health of the models but also the health of all the young fans that want to imitate their look.
It’s also possible that, as ultra-thin body images become less prevalent, individuals who are suffering from low self-esteem tied to their body image, will find they feel better about themselves.
But this law may be a drop in the bucket when it comes to addressing the ills of poor self-image. Across all countries, studies show that more than two-thirds of women believe the media sets an unrealistic standard of beauty women can’t ever achieve. And men are not excluded – the ‘six-pack abs’ profile has spawned the male counterpart to chasing the ultimate ‘bod’ look. The mental health and eating disorders associated with body image and self-esteem are no respecters of gender.
Experts have weighed in (sorry for the pun) on the subject – weight loss to achieve a certain body image does not make people happy or content. They acknowledge that a preoccupation with food and weight that impacts health, but does not produce a satisfying self-image, suggests a hunger or need that cannot be fulfilled on a physical level.
Is it possible for us to escape this effort to seek some unrealistic, media-induced image of ourselves to find and maintain a sense of self-confidence and contentment – a sense of true self-esteem?
It is. Here’s how one young woman did it.
When she was in high school, Laura suffered from low self-esteem and felt like a “geek” as a result of the unkind comments made by her peers about her eating habits and weight. She began to believe that body image and one’s relationship to food were connected with her identity. She severely cut her food intake and developed all the symptoms of an eating disorder.
Her mother had herself found solutions to a number of health problems by seeking a better understanding of her relationship to the Divine. The Bible describes our relationship as created “in the image and likeness”.
This led her to encourage Laura to understand that her worth as a person was not dependent on her physical appearance and to look for her true identity as a creation of God. She also shared with her this statement by an early renowned expert on the spiritual nature of health, Mary Baker Eddy,: “The eternal Truth [God] destroys what mortals seemed to have learned from error and man’s real existence as a child of God comes to light.” (pp. 288-289)
Laura writes, ‘As I realized more fully the worth inherent in my spiritual identity, my focus began to turn outward, away from myself and toward the world around me with its boundless opportunities.’ She goes on to say her weight gradually stabilized and her self-esteem grew to the point where she had the courage to ask a boy to the prom (and he said yes!).
Christiane Northrup, MD, a leading authority today in the field of women’s health and wellness, states, “Each of us has within us a Divine spark… Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is within, and we can make this spiritual connection through our inner guidance. We need go no further than ourselves to find it.”
Inherent self-esteem begins with connecting with the divine source of your identity and well-being and is strengthened when we turn away from peer or media-driven images. This sense of satisfaction does not fluctuate with a weigh scale or a mirror’s image.
Read this article in the Metroland York Region news edition here.