For a change a long post.
Every week I write a column for a Dutch online magazine. This one I wanted to translate it because I got positive comments on this and people shared their perspective about this subject, social accepted image. But gosh, how easy I can write in English, but how hard it was to translate from Dutch to English. It is easier to write on blank screen in English that trying to translate it. Hopefully I eventually did a good job on this.
A couple of months ago I had a talk with my female neighbour; she lost lot of weight because of stomach reduction (I don’t know English word for it). Suddenly, last week I thought about the comment she made.
I have always thought that she was well dress despite the fact she was a big size woman. I told her that and she liked my comment about that. Because now she has lost lot of weight she started getting compliment on how she looks and the fact she has lost so much weight. Now she finally fits in the social accepted image. Now she finally feels she has accomplished something.
I had that too and still. In 2004 I gained a lot of weight. In my case, I got in depression and because of that, I started to eat unhealthy stuff, barely cooked. I gave in. Now, 13 years later I have lost weight, it didn’t go easy (it went up and down) and I am still not where I want to be. When she made that comment, I was thinking and agreed with her. Over the years I have lost weigh but also gained, I did received compliments when I lost weight. I was thinking, wasn’t I well dressed before? I have always tried to dress to the way I was shaped. Was I good enough? I don’t know. I do realise that we are guilty of giving people compliments when they have accomplish something or fits in a social accepted image. But who define that image?
And why can’t I be proud of what I have accomplished, after all, I have lost almost 20 kilo in 11 years. And yet… it is still not good enough, I haven’t reach my goal yet. Now I try to be proud of what I have accomplished so far!
We give people compliments on what they have accomplish, prestige, that is the focus of our society. Even our school system works that way, prestige, that is what all is about. Also, we notice and speak out the negative things quicker than the positive things.
A couple of months ago I watched a documentary on Netflix ‘Embrace’, it was really a good documentary. It was about women (even though men to struggle with it too) that are unhappy about the way they look, even women who are models or women that have social accepted looks. Not all those women were happy with themselves. Social media and commercials keep pointing out how women should look, that wrinkles are a big no, that you just have to look all tight. The documentary is about how you can love yourself. That every person is build differently, that one feels better with 70 kilo, other with 60 or 80. It is about how you feel and not about how you should look. No one is perfect.
It is the same about the fact I don’t have a job. Sometimes I think, is it because of that I don’t fit in social accepted image? I notice by writing that down I feel the urge to defend myself why I don’t have a job and why I hesitate to get back to work. I only have to be accountable to myself, not to others.
Be happy with who you are.