So at some point in time or other, we all get these body image issues. Too fat, too thin, not enough boob, too much boob, jiggling in the wrong places … you name it, either you got it or someone you know does. What doesn’t help is the media portrayal of women who just look too damn perfect! Perfect skin, hair, make-up, figure.. everything is just too perfect!
It’s enough to cause bulimia and anorexia in teenagers. It’s enough to cause any women, regardless of age, body-image issues. In fact, if we could take our mental picture of us and compare that side by side to how others see us… we would be startled at how beautiful people think we are and just how critical we are of our flaws – real or imagined.
Everyone has some feature that others envy. Trust me! Sadly, I have yet to meet a woman/girl/teenager who thought they were perfect the way they are. What does that tell us? So here’s a ted talk from someone who is PERFECT! really! she is! She’s smart, beautiful and has a rocking body. She’s been a model for 10 years now. She’s literally admitting her privilege and pointing out both the biases and superficiality of the fashion industry (which can severely affect the body and beauty image of young girls everywhere) and the way people judge others based solely on physical appearance (RACE, gender, weight, hair color etc).
The first part to fixing a problem is letting it be known – in this case that happens to be that ‘LOOKS’ aren’t everything 🙂
And here’s a talk that shows the surprising impacts of low body and image confidence—from lower grade point averages to greater risk-taking with drugs and alcohol. And then shares the keys things all of us can do to disrupt this reality.
This post is related to another one I wrote on girls & images: Caught in between lies & half-truths.
This semester at the university, I had a course “Gender & Development” and for the term paper, my group of 4 and I decided to do our paper on “LGBTQI & Development”. The paper itself was interesting to put together but far more interesting was what I learnt along the way of secondary research.
As a die-hard romantic, somewhere deep down, I truly believe in all the Disney portrayal of love and relationships. This despite the fact that I also laugh at how dysfunctional those relationship would be in real life.
Now imagine my surprise, despair and distress at having to immerse myself in the difficulties of same-sex love, relationships and the screwed up institutional bias against the same. If ‘everything is fair in love and war’, then what’s wrong with this love?
Who says that only a man and a woman can be in love with each other? Who decides who your heart will fall for? Which logic dictates how you get to conduct your love affair?
Love for me is a very intimate affair between two people, the state, the law, the society, has no business butting their nose in there. As long as it doesn’t harm anyone else, why should anyone else have a say in it?
I understand parents loving their children and wanting the best for them. But I don’t understand it when parents & families kick out their kids because they are LGBTQI or when society/family pressures drive these people to take their own lives.
This doctor in the UK chose to take his own life, despite the fact that he was in a relationship for 13 years & was professionally successful. His mother told him to seek treatment to cure being ‘gay’ and I guess the pressure got to the point where it didn’t make any sense to keep fighting his family. So he ended it. Whose loss was that? Given the choice, would his family really choose to have him dead, rather than being gay?
While the doctor’s family is muslim, this gay teenager who committed suicide had devout christian family, who performed an exorcism on him to cure him of his ‘gayness’. Below is quoted from his suicide note:
‘My pain is not caused because I am gay. My pain was caused by how I was treated because I am gay.’
‘To my friends you gave me life and love, never think this was your fault…To Lady Gaga, you have been a fearless relentless proud LGBT advocate…’
These cases are far too common, in fact, the opposite is rare. To be able to come out to your family, to be accepted for who you are, to be celebrated for the person that you are, instead of being persecuted is rare. So rare in fact that the news below became quite a sensation.
The world is screwed up, society is screwed up. We need more lovers and less war. Love and relationship are not guaranteed happiness for heterosexual couples. I cannot even begin to imagine how much more difficult it must be for homosexual people. So why can’t we all just take a chill pill and relax and be supportive … after all … All is fair in love & war.. right?
At some point in time, during our presentation to the class, I may or may not have, cheekily stated that while my first reaction to being ‘bi’ or ‘gay’ would be ‘yayy… more fish in the sea for me’… this wasn’t in any way meant to discount the anguish & distressing experience of thousands of people who had to ‘come out’ to their family or the society around them. However, if you are reading this and if you belong to the LGBTQI community, I want you to know the following:
YOU are beautiful exactly as you are
YOU are enough for yourself
No one and I really mean no one, no religion, society, family, is worth more than YOUR life
God doesn’t care.. he wants YOU to be a good person inside, in your actions, in your intentions.. I doubt that there’s any loving God who will denounce you based on your sexuality. He created us. If we were not what he wanted, you wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have free will. Period.
So if I may… “live long and prosper” … and leave the naysayers in the dust where they belong. Enjoy the holidays, kiss the person you are in love with and love truly and deeply.
Recently I joined a meditation retreat. It was more like the halfway house of meditation retreat. All of the rules of a retreat but no strict enforcement. Since quite a few of the participants were first timers, the relaxed setting made it easier for people to assimilate to the environment.
So why did I join the retreat?
My life has been so hectic this year that I have been acutely feeling the need to unplug. Literally. I checked out 2 temples in Nepal to go on a private retreat. Unfortunately both were booked on month-long programs that are ongoing. Remember that saying “when you want something badly enough, the universe conspires to help you receive it?” well… I found a retreat all right and it was right here in Bangladesh.
So not only did I get to go on the retreat… I got to take my mom with me. Yes, my mom. We haven’t always had the best of relationship but recently we have been doing better. In fact, this year has probably been the best for us. The retreat gave us a great opportunity to spend quality time with each other and to see a side of us that we don’t usually get to. I know she’s done the quantum meditation course and she really loved it. She knows that I have done Butthan meditation and I really loved it. So this was another kind that we both got to try together.
We had a Thai Monk leading the sessions and it was lovely. He mostly used the visualization technique and had hilarious little anecdotes that he shared with us. For example, when his dad meditates, he imagines that he’s got a crystal hanging like a pendulum from his head, all the way down, inside his body to his navel. And during the meditation session, he would try to balance that pendulum and sometimes he would be swaying a little in his balancing attempt. The visualization in my head of that scene had me cracking up for the rest of the day.
So we all have this expectation of what we hope to get out of meditation and I was no exception. I wanted to come away remembering once again how to smile with every single cell of my body. Generally I am a pretty happy person. I have a great life, I love my job and my colleagues. I enjoy my studies and my various volunteer roles. So it’s a full, busy life that I find very satisfying. But this year which has flown past me was really starting to get to me.
So yeah, I sat in my sessions, willing myself to find that happiness inside again. And here’s the funny thing, on the last day, in the last session, I had this vivid sensation that I was a fat, happy, cat who is purring away against my own leg. Sated, satisfied and just HAPPY! I opened my eyes and I could still feel myself, happily purring away. It felt soooooooooooooo good! It’s been months since I have felt good enough to want to go dancing all night.
Yesterday, the visualization that worked for me is of being a wild horse. My thoughts were all over the place, the to-do list kept running through my head. I had to keep coaxing my mind to slow down that runaway horse. After some time, I could feel that horse standing still. It was black and beautiful… almost majestic! with soft full mane and a lovely long tail and I knew it was me. Now how can you not smile at that? I think I fell asleep with that picture in my head.
So I have gone from constant rushing – office, university, home, assignments, reports, presentations, workshops, never-ending to-do lists running through my head – to chilling out, breathing, being mindful and more present. I had started walking on the treadmill again, the retreat inspired me to add yoga to my routine.
I just love the fact that I am from a continent that has a rich history of health practices – yoga, meditation, martial arts, herbal medicines… you name it and we probably started it and there’s such a wide variety of activity to pick from to get healthy, stay healthy, cope with stress, it’s freaking amazing!
The next retreat is in February 2015, somewhere in Thailand. I am not sure if I am going to be there. But I am pretty sure that I will be doing another retreat, somewhere, sometime. If you would like to check out the peace rebels… head over to their website here: https://peacerevolution.net/docs/en/peace-revolution
Peace in … Peace out…. 🙂
What if the world turned on its head and you woke up one day to a society like this.
What would change for you?
as a man…
as a woman…
as a human being…
Wise men say before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoe. Yet we specialize in jumping …. to conclusions, to forcing others to live up to what we expect from them, what society expects, what religion expects, tribal laws, family laws/customs or whatever else we can drum up…… ever stop to wonder what they expect from themselves?
Have you ever asked someone what they want for themselves and REALLY listened?
This is not an invitation to debate, it IS an invitation to stop and think. Take a moment, take a breath and reflect.
I stumbled on this talk quite by accident this morning and that too after a heated exchange with someone whose lies I was simply not buying. This person is not lying to me, he is lying to himself. He is lying because he has no idea what he really wants or maybe he thinks that he can’t get what he wants with the truth. The argument was heated because I have no space for half-truths and disguised intentions in my life anymore and I do not wish to control the reins of someone else’s life whether explicitly or implicitly.
I have said this before and I will say it again – we lie to ourselves far more often than we lie to others.
We lie to justify our actions. We lie to close the gap between what really is and what we wish it was. We lie because reality is too painful to digest as it is. We lie to sweeten our conversations. We lie to smooth over ruffled feathers. We lie because we want to tell the other person what we think they want to hear. We lie because we want to blame someone else for our actions – subconsciously. We lie because we perceive that we have no control over our life, so we need to cajole the people around us to give us what we want by telling them whatever they want to hear, whatever will sweeten the deal for them to give us what we want.
In all of these interactions, we essentially handover the power that we have over our own lives – to someone else.
We do this not only by deceiving ourselves but by deceiving others when we use words and sentences like “I will do what you want”, “whatever you want, however you want it, is the way its going to be”. Why do I call this deceit? Because when the chips fall and what you get is not what you want, you will then use these same sentences to place the blame of your failure on the other person’s shoulder. You did what they wanted but they failed to do what you wanted/needed etc regardless of whether they want to take that responsibility or not. It’s a covert way of placing the responsibility somewhere else other than ourselves.
“Lying is a cooperative act. A lie has no power by its mere utterance. Its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”
The truth may not be easy – to either dish out to ourselves or others but it really does set us free.
Deception is actually serious business.This con man, Henry Oberlander, he was such an effective con man, British authorities say he could have undermined the entire banking system of the Western world. And you can’t find this guy on Google; you can’t find him anywhere. He was interviewed once, and he said the following. He said, “Look, I’ve got one rule. “And this was Henry’s rule, he said,”Look, everyone is willing to give you something. They’re ready to give you something for whatever it is they’re hungry for.” And that’s the crux of it.If you don’t want to be deceived, you have to know, what is it that you’re hungry for? And we all kind of hate to admit it. We wish we were better husbands, better wives, smarter, more powerful, taller, richer –the list goes on. Lying is an attempt to bridge that gap, to connect our wishes and our fantasies about who we wish we were, how we wish we could be, with what we’re really like. And boy are we willing to fill in those gaps in our lives with lies.
While you may be tempted to use these on others, the reason I am sharing this video is to enable us to spot the lies that we tell ourselves. The lies in our heads, the justifications we give for our actions. The half-truths and outright lies that rob us of the power to design our own authentic life. Our inner thoughts have more control over our actions and thereby our life, then we realize.
When you realize that, you become the master of your own destiny.