Confronting the Insanity of Our Culture Head-On
Something that I’ve never seen before is starting to come to light in the internet world of blogs and articles and talking head figures. Apparently, it’s not enough to claim over and over again, that “any size,” woman can be healthy, that curves make a woman more realistic or relatable to people… I’ve come across a fitness model who has decided that she feels extremely guilty over using her fit body to sell women things for the fitness industry.
But she doesn’t just feel bad about selling “bad” things that don’t give real results (false advertising – something people SHOULD feel guilty for), this poor woman actually feels bad about her **success** in her fitness goals. She feels guilty that her body looks so great that other women (she thinks) sees it and feel bad about themselves. She takes their issues with their own self-esteem and their own responsibility to take care of their bodies and be responsible for their own fitness levels, and places all that responsibility onto herself and then feels guilty for it.
Her blog post is here.
I do feel sorry for this woman… and I get it that she doesn’t want to “hurt” people, the problem is though, that the people who she’s talking about are actually hurting themselves. Her fitness has little to nothing to do with their decisions to be happy or sad. Reading her post comes across as a form of projection of all her shame for being a cover model onto women who (in her own mind) see her, and are “miserable,” because of her existence. There’s something very off mentally with that kind of shame. First off, it is not someone else’s responsibility for another woman’s decisions in her life to get fit or stay overweight and unhappy.
Blaming fitness models for remaining overweight or unhappy (and this goes for any life situation) is bad overall for one’s mental health because it completely takes away that person’s individual control over their own life decisions.
Not to mention it’s just pure insanity on her part. 😦
Imagine if Olympic Athletes were apologetic in their athleticism. If after winning medals, they went on “Apology Tours,” to apologize to children everywhere (or people in general), who they deemed would never be great enough to achieve their level of sport success? What if they apologized that only the best athletes were able to go to the Olympics, and told the kids who were average or not athletic at all that they felt so ashamed of their successes because of how it must *negatively* affect all those kids? First off, it’s incredibly insulting to tell all these random people (or children) that they’re just never going to be as good as you are. It may be true, but making it a point to tell them is neither graceful or nice and kind. Olympic athletes should rightfully feel no shame about their success, even if most of the world’s population will never go on to achieve their medals and fame and glory. It would be entirely inappropriate for them to talk to children in that way – apologizing that they may never be good enough or achieve their level of athleticism. They are an inspiration to children and people everywhere for a reason – because it is such a magnificent thing to behold when watching them compete or perform… and if everyone was able to be an Olympic Athlete, it would no longer be the Olympics.
Now imagine if great musicians (past and present) felt ashamed of how great they were (either naturally or through hard work of perseverance) just because they may have made “normal” people feel bad about themselves when they take up piano lessons? Imagine if they wrote lengthy, self-absorbed posts about how bad they feel for being so good, about how sorry they are to all those children who will never be quite as good as they are? Again, just entirely inappropriate and insane for someone to behave that way.
Just as insane as a fitness model apologizing extensively for being her best and using her talent in fitness to inspire other women out there or to make money. There’s nothing kind about telling people you’re sorry that they’ll never be as “great” at something as you are. It comes across as fake and lacking genuine compassion or understanding.
It’s things like this that I want my children being exposed to, so that they can see through the lies and quickly get to the truth of what is going on. Especially our coming daughter – I want her to have compassion for people who may feel bad when they see a fit model or are failing in that area of their life as far as being fit and healthy; but I never want her to feel ashamed of her personal achievements and success in her life. Obviously I don’t want her to look down on others, but I don’t want her to devalue or cast shadow over her own shining light just because other people may have a bad attitude about her success. I want her to set a good example, to be that shining light that motivates others. Haters or miserable people will always exist… the only way to avoid them in life, is to do nothing and become miserable yourself.
We should never feel ashamed about succeeding in an area in life like being proud of our children, proud of handling our finances well, proud of taking care of our appearance, proud of doing well at work, proud of having a great marriage and being happy, or proud of using our talents (especially for God!), and yes, it’s even ok to be proud of achieving our highest level of personal fitness and feel great about (proud of) our bodies.
When someone who is successful in any of these areas feels a great deal of guilt and shame, psychologists would say there is a problem their in their mind that’s not healthy or good. It’s certainly not godly to have false guilt or false shame about your achievements or being able to enjoy your life inspiring others.
So let’s be women who are proud of our achievements, even if they are “great,” and rare talents. Let’s not be ashamed over gifts God’s given to us to use for His glory, and let’s not hide of our lights under a basket so that we never offend anyone or make them feel bad about their own life choices.
Every person has control over their own decisions, and you can only help the women who actually want to have that control – not the ones who may look at your success and use it as an excuse to remain unhappy in their own life.