Negative thoughts and actions are a learned emotion. It’s not our fault and it’s not always a conscious decision. We have to try to make a conscious effort to defy the things we’ve been taught our whole lives. We learn how to act socially, we learn what everyone else thinks is good and bad, and we learn how to hate irrationally. When we recognize this we can catch ourselves spreading negative thoughts and consciously replace those thoughts with thoughts of love— which can be a conveniently ambiguous term.
It’s been really comforting to see so many articles circulating on the internet lately defending women in a new sort of way. We are starting to realize that the body is an object, but is not to be objectified. Imperfections are natural, and everyone knows it. We can’t help but judge others based on the things we’ve been taught by fashion magazines and middle school bullies. Perhaps it is more prominent in girls but I am sure boys struggle with passing judgement and being judged as well. It is a reflex— to catch a glimpse of someone walking on the street and think “she is fat” or see someone at the beach and think “she shouldn’t wear a bikini”, when in reality the only thing you see is a body. There is nothing shameful about a perfectly good body, clothed or otherwise.
I consider myself desensitized to nudity from years of figure drawing classes and exposure to art in which the human form is just that. We didn’t draw high-fashion models. We drew real people of all different shapes and sizes. We didn’t consider their abnormalities or curves, we captured the natural and unique lines of their bodies as they were.
It shocks me that people are still so sensitive to the body. Although it is a private thing to some people, it is what it is to others: a vehicle for life that just looks how it does. Is shows how hard it is for us to love and care for our own bodies. How often do you take the time to appreciate your body and all that it does for you?
Dialogue about body shaming and bullying is overdue but effective. In the same way that negative behavior spreads, positive behavior is learned and imitated as well. Everyone knows how it feels to receive a compliment and think about it all day long. Or to see someone in line in front of you donate a dollar and decide to say “yes” instead of the mechanical “no” when the cashier prompts you.
I’ve been seeing a change in the way people think lately. I see this as a sign of our generations steady growth. It goes along with our increased tolerance for people in general. I credit a higher consciousness and increased empathy. For example, the acceptance of gay rights, decreased sensitivity to racism, increased understanding of other cultures, and a movement to end body shaming and bullying are all movements that are currently spreading and changing the way we think. That is not to say that each issue is completely resolved— the fight against all will continue indefinitely, as we each personally realize the meaning of human rights. But issues such as these are becoming more of a “so what” because we realize how petty and superficial they are. We are beginning to see these issues for what they are: non-issues.
So with that, I challenge you to reflect constantly about the way you think, the way you react, and the things you say. See things for what they really are and question the truth behind social norms. The spreading of positivity begins in your mind.
Here are the articles that made me think: