A few weeks ago I came across a video that really made me think, and I want to share it (and my thoughts about it) with you.
The video asked 50 people of various ages one question, “If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?”
Now I want you to take a second and really think about this. If you could change one thing about your body…What would it be?
The answers from the adults ranged from changing the size of their eyes, to nose shape, to stomach size, to muscle size—basically any feature you could imagine someone wanting to change was mentioned by at least one of the participants. When one woman was asked what thing about her body she would change, her reply was, “Only one?”
These responses may not seem like a surprise to you, at least they weren’t for me. When hearing all the things people did not like about themselves, I felt a myriad of emotions: sadness that they didn’t see how beautiful they are, compassion for their struggles with insecurities, confusion because I did not see the flaws that they did, and empathy because I know at times I can relate to feeling that way. One thing I did not feel however, was shock. I understood this desire to want to change an aspect of your body because it is something that I have felt in my life as well.
What did shock me however, were the responses from the children when they were asked the same question. The children sat there, deep in thought for several seconds. Do you want to know what thing about their bodies they would change? And no, it was not their eyes, muscles, or thighs.
One little girl wanted a mermaid tail. Another little boy wanted a shark’s mouth so he could eat more stuff. Other options such as teleportation, and elf ears were amongst the things children would change about their bodies. Not one single child disliked an aspect of themselves that they would change. All of their hypothetical changes were extra abilities, or features that had absolutely nothing to do with parts of their bodies that they felt negatively about because none of them had anything negative to say about their bodies. In fact, one girl proudly stated, “I like my body actually.”
How many of us can say the same?
This video got me to thinking… When did this change for us? When did we all go from wanting mermaid tails, and elf ears, to wanting to alter our bodies because of insecurities and negative self-image?
Last week, November 16th-20th marked the 12th annual Bullying Awareness Week and my challenge to all of us is to confront perhaps the biggest bullies we’ve ever known… ourselves. That’s not to say that people have not been treated cruelly by others because I know that unfortunately many of us have, but I want each and every one of us to make an attempt to focus on how we talk to ourselves, and about ourselves.
If we talked to our friends the way we talk to ourselves, how many of them would want to remain friends with us? Probably not very many. No one would want a friend who constantly put them down, belittled them, and didn’t believe in them… so why do we tolerate this type of negative talk from ourselves?
This is not an easy challenge, and it may take time to change our internal conversations, but I really hope we all start to pay more attention to how we talk about ourselves to others, and inside our own minds.
With all of this in mind, let me ask you again… If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be? For me, I’d want wings. Blue wings to be exact because, well, why not!
What would you change?