WEST PALM BEACH, FL, February 21, 2012 — Eight million Americans are hiding from themselves, in fear of wearing the most unbearable outfit: their own skin.
Over seven million women and one million men suffer daily with eating-related and body image disorders. There something from deep within cultivates a yearning to appear perfect on the outside and maintain a balance of happiness. But isn’t health everything? Isn’t the real sexy about nourishing your body and truly being confident in your own skin? There is a secret door within each one of us that, when opened, everything seems to align perfectly; yet when the door is closed, nothing seems to stick. The trick, then, is to get out from behind the curtain and face life; rather, face your self.
“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”. ~ Confucius
The truth is that our basic human desire is to become fully expressed within our own skin. Whether it is the desire to be loved that drives these behaviors, or a deeply rooted psychological battle between one’s self-identity verses the outlandish ideals we’ve created for ourselves; society has proven a breeding ground for women to literally alter their appearance to seem more fitting within the ideal American standards.
From digitally manipulated photos to multi-million dollar marketing campaigns that target cosmetic procedures to change the way you look; Everything outside of our self is trying to tell us what to look like, who to be, what to wear, the size of our breasts, the amount of wrinkles on our face. The world of beautification has gone from the eye of the beholder to the latest celebrity trends on E!. How can we find our true identities within the chaos of personal objectification?
The media has objectified women to sell products, increase ratings and cause fear in generations to buy into cosmetically enhanced procedures. Since when was natural not “in”? What is wrong with being exactly who you are? American’s have made it OK to redesign our bodies to please others—or at the least—gain attention and manipulate people into buying into who we want them to think we are. The idea that starvation or intense excessive exercise to rid calories and lose weight is something that we enjoy is ridiculous and absurd. If we achieved ultimate approval and self acceptance from within ourselves and truly never cared what others thought, there would be no need to be any different than the way we are.
Consider Albert Einstein’s brilliant quote: “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew”. The majority of these people will never fully recover, considering most treatment programs are governed by the same system that created the problem. The only cure, then, is to identify a new way of thinking and overturn the system so that a new way of self identification is born.
Perhaps the greatest human desire is to connect with others. Yet, most people live an entire lifetime wanting to attain acceptance of society’s approval before even granting themselves the right of peace. What most of us neglect to realize is that it’s not the connection to others that we crave, but the connection to our self. Without strengthening our most intimate connection with our self, there is a constant need to feed a part of our soul, known as filling the void. Sometimes this feeding takes the shape of a co-dependent relationship; a constant thirst for sex; a workaholic adaptation; or perhaps food this hunger is replaced with food. Consider this: Food is the one thing we need to survive at a basic level of existence. Food can become a drug, filling the void of hunger that will never be satisfied with external gratification.
“There’s a fine line between being private and being ashamed,” says Australian born comedic actress Portia de Rossi in her memoir about her struggles with eating disorders, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain. “Most important, in order to find real happiness, you must learn to love yourself for the totality of who you are and not just what you look like.”
This lifelong search for self fulfillment seems to volcanically erupt during the downward spiral of an eating-related disorder. Perhaps fueled by pressures from parents to succeed in school or college; self perfectionism to avoid failure in career-goals; a desire to maintain a status in relationships. Whatever the reason, a person’s identity is questioned at the pitfall of this self destruction.
Even the Buddha starved himself to emaciation to try and find salvation. He lived off one grain of rice a day in his attempt to reach enlightenment. It wasn’t until a young girl offered him a bowl of rice pudding that his true state of liberation was lifted. Once he regained his physical strength, he was able to prepare himself for awakening. This true story of the Buddha, or Prince Siddhartha, is similar to others who suffer from the battle of starvation and severe restriction. When the body is malnourished, the mind is unable to focus and gain clarity. The only way to find self fulfillment is to identity the self and to nourish the body with compassion. Although, oftentimes we must hit rock bottom within the self before we are able to rise above all obstacles.
The struggle lingers and the battle becomes transparent, but the choice is yours to make within each moment. Whether you know a loved one or friend with an eating-related disorder, or are taken over by the condition your self, there’s always a new moment that is happening right now to change.
One can overcome these conditions and behaviors through self work, guided meditations, breathing exercises, yoga, proper nutrition and pertinent dietary supplementation. Share your story. Open your heart. Be you.
Robyn Linn is an internationally published writer, certified yoga instructor, healthy eating educator, spiritual advisor and singer. Her intention: to inspire others to live with compassion and live to the fullest potential, with a purpose. You can find more about Robyn Linn and Mindful Body Productions at www.robynlinn.com and follow RobynLinn on Facebook.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.