This is a guest blog post by Cheryl Brown at Words of Wellness.
I read recently that 90% of women in the UK are ashamed of their bodies. I don’t know where that statistic came from or how accurate it is, but from my experience of all the women I’ve known, worked with and spent time with, I’d have guessed that the figure would have been a lot higher. I’d almost go as far as to say every woman I’ve ever known has got a downer on the way she looks to some degree.
Then again, I live in Scotland and most of the women I’ve worked with have been Scottish. Being Scottish can be tough. We keep each other in check and more often than not we go too far and keep each other down. Self-confidence is often misinterpreted as a tendency to get above yourself – that’s pretty much the worst crime a Scot can commit and it isn’t tolerated.
As part of an island on the Western reaches of Europe, Scotland is one of the first nations to be influenced by American culture and attitudes. You’d think that some of that all-American self-assurance would have rubbed off. And we do do sassiness in Scotland, don’t get me wrong. We do gallus pretty well. But don’t confuse that with genuinely being comfortable in our skin.
A few years ago I was teaching a class of women on a course focusing on improving self-image among other things. I set them the simple task of looking at each other – really seeing each other – and gifting each other with a compliment about their appearance. I was shocked by how difficult they found it. Paying each other compliments was easy enough – we all have our unique beauty after all – but every one of the fifteen or so women in the room found those compliments almost impossible to accept.
Even women who are considered stunning by the rest of us have hang-ups about their bodies. I know some beautiful women – I hang out with the Glasgow raw girls after all – and pretty much all of them have niggles about bits of their bodies that they wish were different.
And it’s daft, it really is. Even if you don’t look like Angelina, I’m here to tell you that your body is just wonderful, just as it is. No matter what size or shape it is. I really want you to get that because if you don’t see it as the amazing, stupendous, breathtaking piece of kit that it is, you won’t appreciate it the way it deserves to be appreciated and you won’t look after it as it deserves to be looked after. If you’re in any doubt about that, I can highly recommend Barbara Wren’s Cellular Awakening or Gill Edwards’ Conscious Medicine, both of which will convince you that your body is constantly performing miracles to serve you and keep you well.
Maybe you already know this. If you’re reading Emma’s site, the chances are that you’re already at some stage of the path to fantastic health through raw living, and your body is rewarding you by looking as well as feeling better. If that’s the case, please reward it back by loving it, wobbles and all. Even if you’ve got saddlebags or love handles, even if you think your boobs are too big or too small, even if you’ve got bingo wings or saggy knees, please love it anyway.
We women have been under pressure from the fashion and beauty industries and the media for generations, for their gain and not ours. We’ve given our power to them as a matter of routine for so long, we hardly notice we’re doing it. Who says what’s beautiful anyway? The diet industry in particular has failed us in my view. Focussed on sales rather than genuine health, their methods are centred on women’s negative views of themselves. I’ve bought into it in the past, and I’ve spoken to too many other women who were desperately trying to force their bodies to look better because they were so miserable about the way they looked. Week after week, month after month, they’d pay their money at classes and even more money in supermarkets, on specialist diet ‘foods’. They never got any thinner in the long term – just poorer and more miserable.
Let me be clear – I’m not saying it’s good to be overweight. If you’re carrying more fat than you should, or your muscles are weak, then you might want to think about giving your body more TLC so that it can become everything it deserves to be. But to really do that, I’m suggesting that you have to love it first.
Barbara Wren equates the body to a vehicle – the means by which we get around in this life. I’ve heard other people liken it to an expensive racehorse that needs appropriate care, nutrition and exercise in order to perform to its highest capacity. Both of these, I feel, will get you thinking differently about your body if ever you feel less than positive about it. But let me add my own analogy: Think of your body as you would a child. If a child is showing signs of neglect, which of us wouldn’t love it and nurture it back to health? If bits of it aren’t pretty in your eyes… well, we don’t all look like Angelina, no, but ask yourself – what bits of your adored child aren’t pretty?
And I promise you, the more you think of your body in this way, the prettier it will get. No matter what you feel now about how you look, if you care for your vehicle, your racehorse or your child from the position of profound and genuine love and appreciation, you will be rewarded. Your eyes will sparkle, your skin will be clear and fresh, and most of all you’ll radiate love so that even if those saddlebags are still there, nobody will notice them. And when that happens, I guarantee that you’ll get compliments, even from gallus Scottish people. Just promise me that you’ll accept them…
Trust me people, this woman walks her talk and as I alluded to here I can personally vouch for her own beautiful and age-defying transformation.
Check out Cheryl’s brand new course I Finally Love My Body!
This blog was written by Raw Food Scotland's previous owner, Emma Calvert. You can reach her at her new website, https://missmanifestation.com/