By Aruna Ladva

In a world where physical image and ideal body shape are given more importance than values and morals, it’s important to consider the consequences of living in a society that offers an idealistic and false notion of what beauty is.  Too many young women (and men also for that matter) are literally dying in the pursuit of a perfect body shape.  The pressure to conform or the need to be accepted is greater than their sense of self-value and self-respect.  If the price they are paying is their own life, then it raises the question of whether the journey toward a slim and slender body is really worth it.

Let me state from the offset that I am not a doctor, nor am I capable of treating such disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa, but what I can offer here is a discussion about the need for the afflicted person to increase their self-worth and self-value.  It is also about the onlooker exercising more acceptance and less judgment.  These so-called diseases of the modern world are simply a manifestation of the dis-ease a person feels within their own inner self.  Social attitudes and media portrayals promoting skinny body types are an aspect of a culture that we are all complicit with in some way, and these also need to be reconsidered.

The power of the media is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand it can educate whilst on the other hand it can be a ‘weapon of mass destruction’.  There is evidence that media portrayals of an ‘ideal’ body image can be a contributing factor to Bulimia.  A study of schoolgirls in Fiji showed that in the first three years after the introduction of television in 1995, incidents of bulimia rose from 0% to 11.3%.

In a world lacking in love, and in a quest to be recognized, acknowledged, to fit in, and to belong, a desire to conform to a model celebrity image means that young people are losing themselves in the process.  As adults we are no less: Each image we see in a magazine, on television or on an advertising hoarding project a certain ideal image that the desperate woman is trying to match.

The beauty trade is a multi-billion dollar industry: cosmetics, fashion, plastic surgery, gyms and spas, nail bars, fashion publications, modeling, beauty pageants and more if you take into account ‘repair’ clinics which have to deal with the aftermath of people resorting to drugs or other extreme means in an effort to deal with their intense disappointment in themselves and in a less-than-ideal world.

Weight management is important for good health but there is a world of difference between sensibly exercising self-control, and being a compulsive obsessive.  If you find yourself thinking too much about your weight, constantly looking in the mirror and feeling disgusted, or weighing yourself after every meal, then you have some inner work to do.  If you can’t accept yourself, then why should others?  It’s a dynamic which gives birth to a vicious circle.

Self-worth comes from spending time with the self – do you care enough to sit and get to know your real, inner self, or are too busy looking in the mirror, and running away from who you think you might really be?  Once we get in touch with our inner beauty through meditation, then we are less obsessed with the outer shell.  In fact, as I begin to love and nurture my inner self then I am able to accept my physical self easily, even with its imperfections.  I have understood what matters most.

To be continued next week…

It’s Time… by Aruna Ladva ©