judging

We’re Not all Sugar And Spice

I’m tired of seeing half naked women on television displayed as strippers and/or hookers. I’m tired of hearing women described as sluts, skanks and whores. I’m tired of feeling annoyed when the media tells me this is normal. This doesn’t have to be our normal.

From a very young age most girls get described as sweet, pretty or nice. While boys will often be labeled with strong, funny and brave. There is lots of pressure put on men and women telling them what traits they should have, today I am focusing on the pressures put on women. In hopes that it could help make everyone more aware of the messages we are bombarded with.

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There is an underlying belief that women always have to be ‘all things nice’ which can be frustrating. As a woman if you are assertive or if you do not accept a man’s unwanted advances, you may be called bitch. Especially by men who may not grasp how uncomfortable they can make us feel. However, being nice all the time can often mean you are labeled as a pushover. How can you win?

It's a trap

A lot of this seems to be systematically ingrained into our culture, so what can be done? It starts at the individual level, we need to show kindness and empathy to one another. We need to watch our thoughts, as they lead to behaviours. Pay attention to the assumptions that you make about others. My guess is the less negative thinking you have about women, the more aware you will be of the the negative way the world around you can portray them.

Let’s stop accepting what has been taught to us as ‘normal’ and make a new, better standard.

“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai

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Weight, what?

The Summer months are fast approaching and even if it weren’t for the change of weather I would know. How? Well the push to make people feel bad about their bodies of course. Cosmopolitan has an entire section of their website dedicate entirely to how to be ‘bikini ready’. It seems to me that a bathing suit ready body is more a state of mind rather than a size but I imagine that doesn’t sell as well.

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I was recently reading a great article from Cracked.com where a woman shared her experience of being in a weight loss commercial. I have seen how before and after pics can be doctored, I know about the camera tricks. However it is amazing when you see some of these transformations and hear the ‘testimonials’. She explains how the individuals involved are never on the same program and how they blatantly lie to tug at insecurities many of us face. I recommend a read as it is eye-opening and a little terrifying

No carbs, no sugar, sleep 8 hours a night, drink 8 glasses of water, exercise 5 days a week. We have all been told over and over again what to do to lose weight. On a very logical level we know that if you eat poorly, you feel poorly and look poorly. That little voice in your head beats you up yet you keep munching. Most of us do so the question is, why?

My hunch is that somewhere along the way we’re taught that unhealthy food is a treat. It’s something that is used to comfort, to make us feel better when we’re down. The problem is that a lot of these treat foods can have very addictive qualities. Our brain can get a high off these foods. We love the way it feels to eat them, no matter the consequences.

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If you are hoping to feel better about yourself this Summer I recommend you start with a food journal. This is not about keeping track of your calorie intake, it’s not that type of journal. It is about writing down how you feel when you’re eating. For example:

1:00pm – Had a sandwich for lunch, decided to skip breakfast which felt really good.

2:00pm – Tea break, had low-fat milk and 4 biscuits. Jesus, I feel fat already. What is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I just have one?

5:00pm – Had a take away for dinner. It’s shit food but I had a shit day. Ugh, I feel miserable…

If you have a negative relationship with food that can change. Instead of focusing on a number on a scale take some time to sit with your feelings. As your attitude towards food changes so will your attachment to it. Or maybe you’ll learn it’s how you comfort, numb or grieve. If that’s the case then talking to someone can help, you don’t have to deal with all of life’s stresses on your own.

Starting today don’t beat yourself up for what you’re eating. Take some time to explore why you’re eating. I did an article on body image a few months ago, if you feel like reading more have a look.

“I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.” – Laurie Halse Anderson

Never judge a book…

Many of us judge others before we really get to know them. It’s the way our brains are hardwired, to help make sense of the world around us.

First impressions are often lasting because our brain is making a decision based on past events, memories and triggers. Which means they aren’t always right but they are hard to forget.

This article takes a scientific look at what becomes engaged when we meet someone new.  There is an instant connection made between the emotional and decision making part of our brain.

It’s difficult to out think the part of us that does all the thinking.

The next time you meet someone and they rub you the wrong way, remember that every person has their own story. They have had their fair share of struggles, joy, pain, happiness and loss. They, like you, have lived a life which has led to this very moment. Where you have ended up meeting each other. Who knows what you could learn?!

“Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald