At the end of each semester, my body image students write a process paper where they synthesize their learning- both personal and academic- for the semester. These papers are always a delight to read and there is so much wisdom in them that I just have to share a fraction of it (with my students’ permission, of course) with you. Here, some wise words from my students this semester. May they buoy and give you hope the way they did me.
In today’s society, everyone seems to think that thinness equates to health, but that is not the case. Healthy has very little to do with weight so we need to stop fixating on it. We need to shift our focus to health and away from size, shape, and weight. As we discussed in class, no matter what the ideal standard of beauty is, it is going to be impossible for everyone to reach it and we shouldn’t try because the world would be a boring place if we all looked the same. Instead of caring about how much we weight, we should care about how our body feels at the end of a fun run. We should care about the difference in our energy level after eating a homemade meal over a bacon burger from the drive through. We should do the things that make us feel stronger, healthier, and more beautiful. It shouldn’t matter what society thinks about us because society doesn’t really know us. ~Kristin
[I now] believe that being unique is good, for once. If everybody looked the same in the world then there would be no need for beauty or acceptance of self or others. Instead, we all get the great pleasure of looking different and sharing our heritage, culture, and personality with others around us. ~ Lauren
I have come to understand that everyone is struggling to accept themselves, and that alone is worthy of respect and kindness… I have come to understand that people are unique and wonderful and the way we look has nothing to do with that. People are beautiful because of the qualities they carry, not because of the color of their hair or the size of their waist. Thanks to this class my life is more positive and accepting. I want to be an optimistic force in the world, so that people can be happy with themselves and the way that they look. I don’t ever plan on making negative comments because they do no good for anyone involved. There is enough negativity to push back against, why create a little more? ~ Holli
That old saying “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Not buying it! Words hurt! They hurt when a person uses them against themselves and against other people. Criticizing, no matter if it’s criticizing yourself or someone else, is detrimental to your well-being. Once I stopped commenting on the appearance of others, I stopped commenting so much on my own appearance. In essence, those comments were subconsciously giving me an opportunity to compare that person to myself, and the moment I made an effort to not give a care about the way someone else looks, I lost those opportunities for comparison. ~ Issa
Interested in reading past The Kids are Alright quotes? Check out these posts from previous semesters!