There were two people hitting their head against a brick wall. One day one of them stopped.
"You've stopped?" asked the one still hitting her head.
"Yup"said the other, rubbing her forehead and wondering why it took her so long to stop.
"But you can't stop! Don't you know what will happen if you stop?" said the other, hitting her head just a little harder.
"What? The world will end?"
"Well...yes. Almost. People will talk about you, the freaky one who isn't hitting her head all the time. You won't be attractive - people only like people with flat heads and a rhythmic neck motion. And there is all that research that shows that hitting your head is good for you. It's the only way to live!"
"What research?" said the other, suspecting she could guess the answer.
"You know, the stuff that the brick wall companies did" said the head banger, with no sense of irony.
"Well, even if it's true (and I suspect a lot of it is over egged) I'm ok with that. I trust that my head will be fine. I know that I will like myself and my life more enjoyable without the constant sound of the brick hitting my head. The world won't end."
"But... aren't you scared of what might happen? What else will you do with your time, your energy, your life?"
"I'll live it. The world won't end. I know you're scared but another way of living is possible"
"I'm not scared. You're a Freak. I'm calling the media. You can only live your life this way. Too much is at stake for them... I mean me"
"Bye." and the woman wandered off to spend her time enjoying the world and not spending her time thinking about the size and shape of bricks.
Ok, change bashing your head with dieting and hating yourself. After all the two are intertwined really. You hate your body so you diet. The diet works - you are thinner but you still hate yourself so it is never enough and you then get another great reason to hate yourself when you can no longer deny your body's needs.
Or your diet doesn't work and the self hating part of you gets to use this as confirmation that you suck as a person.
But what if there is another way and you just stop.
But that is scary, and not just to you. It's scary to everyone else that spends all their time and energy being obsessed about trying to look 'right'. Look as they think everyone should look. It's a threatening thing to do when you challenge what is seen as the right way to live.
If you can be happy and healthy and look after yourself but not diet and not hold yourself to the thin ideals that other people place so much importance on then.... aren't you basically calling into question what is the mainstay of so many people's lives (and businesses)?
And that's frightening. I watched Cherry Healey's show on body dilemmas the other day. She had a range of people talking about their body issues. I know it to be true but seeing thin size 8-10 women talk about how they hate their bodies and want to hide them just confirms that body hatred is not just a fat lady thing. It's also increasingly not just a woman thing either.
It's just so incredibly sad the amount of energy we spent each day hating ourselves and comparing ourselves against an unrealistic ideal.
So let's stop. And when we stop let's encourage other people to stop. Put a pillow between their head and the wall to start, and then finally lead them away from the wall and show them that the world won't end, they won't fall apart and that there is so so so much more to do with your time than obsessing over the size of your thighs.