It’s quite obvious nowadays that advertisements are continuously being shoved in our faces. I don’t even need to bring up any statistics or profound quotes to prove that what we are being advertised isn’t always sending us beneficial messaging. If anything, the messages we receive on a daily basis sound somewhat like “You’re too fat, you need more curves, you’re not good enough, nip this, tuck that.” Am I right? Seriously though—think about it.
As much as the messages we are being sent quite frankly SUCK, and despite the fact that people often say we don’t have control over the images we see, we actually have more power to control the messaging we receive now than ever before.
Example A: Instagram doesn’t force you to follow accounts that promote one body type, a universal definition of beauty, or negativity. You choose.
Example B: Facebook doesn’t force you to like pages that promote one body type, a universal definition of beauty, or negativity. You choose.
Example C: Life doesn’t force you to be friends with people who promote one body type, a universal definition of beauty, or negativity. You choose.
Example D: TV doesn’t force you to watch shows that promote one body type, a universal definition of beauty, or negativity. You choose.
I’m sensing a pattern here…My point is, you actually have the ability to monitor the messaging that you accept and allow to shape your mindset. You may not have a choice in the billboards you see when taking a casual stroll, but you DO have a choice in the messaging you surround yourself with on a continual basis.
Now, I’m all for analogies (my sister tells me that they don’t actually make sense sometimes, so if that’s how you feel, just sit quietly, smile and pretend like they do haha jk) so think of it this way: say you’re walking alongside a dirt road when a car drives by and sprinkles some mud on you. You’re obviously going to be like, “Ew, that’s gross” but know you can go home and take a shower later—but what if you go home, turn on the water and all that comes out is muddy water? It’s impossible for you to remove the mud because what should be a source of your rejuvenation is actually perpetuating the issue. It’s the same with the way in which we receive negative messaging; you might be sprinkled with it throughout the day, but at least you know that when you turn to your personal social media feed, you can be encouraged by the uplifting messages that you choose to be exposed to. If you don’t, you will be sprinkled with it throughout the day and then come home, only to scroll through a feed that is filled with the exact same messages that were harming you throughout the day.
The images you see are to your mind what food is to your body. What you put in will eventually come out (your welcome for that beautiful mental image). If you are continuously depositing negative messaging into your mind, you will start to believe it. Just as you have the option to say, “No, I will not eat that because it makes me sick,” you have the option to say, “No, I will not allow this to continually contaminate my mind and conform how I think.”
I know this mentality to be true in my personal life because I’d catch myself thinking about all of the things I wanted to change so that I could resemble the “perfect images” that were being perpetuated from the accounts and companies I was choosing to be exposed to. Captions would often read, “get the perfect body,” or “look bikini ready,” and since those were the only types of images I was seeing, those same thoughts began to saturate my mind and were reflected outwardly. But you know what? There is SO much more to life than looking bikini ready (whatever the heck that means anyway) or getting the perfect hair or color eyes.
Now I’m not trying to say you can’t follow accounts that sell bikinis or makeup, but what I’m trying to say is, diversify the images you see so that you begin to surround yourself with material that encourages you to be more than your body, more than your looks, and more than what you feel you are currently worth. You can still work on being fit and healthy without hating yourself in the process. You are a BOSS and to be one, you need to surround yourself with messages and people that encourage you to be a BOSS and not just a BODY.
Go through your social media and literally clean house. If you’re following accounts that posts pictures with the effect of making you feel terrible about your looks, promoting uniform ideals of beauty, or simply making you feel like you’re not good enough, I challenge you to unfollow and replace them with accounts that promote the exact opposite. I promise you that it has a larger impact on how you see yourself, and others, than you may believe.
By: Alyssa Lein Smith