Perfect. What does it mean? Is it a clear highway when we expected traffic? Is it the way we describe time with family and friends? Is it the brilliant cut of a diamond? Perfect has become a standard of measuring our satisfaction, our success, our happiness. But does anyone know what this word means? Perfect has been used in our society as a goal which everyone seems to be chasing. But when we stop and think...what is that we are chasing? A perfect job? Perfect spouse? Perfect body?
Too often in our society, the idea of achieving a perfect body creeps in through print ads, movies, and even clothing styles. Starving women posed in order to appear an extra 5lbs thinner, shoes claiming to give your lower half the shape you've always dreamt of, diet shakes ridding your body of stubborn water weight. Sales of diet-related food products, as well as popularity of gym memberships are continually growing. Ironically, food access and portion sizes are also on the rise. Consumers are influenced and confused on a daily basis. This bikini-clad wiry model is sexy-you can be sexy too if you look like her. With a McDonald's on almost every other block, our food access has turned into a constant stream of food-like substances which can pose a legitimate obstacle for maintaining a healthy body and mind. Be happy-eat a cheeseburger! Don't eat the burger or you'll never be skinny. Perfectly skinny.
Chasing perfection-a tangible idea or a figment of our pressured imagination? One can't be entirely sure if the thought is plausible, however we can be sure there is definitely no such thing as "perfect" in terms of our bodies. The continued chase can be endless, until the chase of self-acceptance begins. Realizing, images are airbrushed, models are strategically posed, and happiness doesn't come from attaining a goal weight. Happiness is much deeper-deeper than a skipped lunch, a flat stomach, a clearly defined calf muscle. True bliss does not come from a smaller number on the scale, protruding hip bones, or an extensive mental battle each day to make it through meals.
Perfect doesn't exist. Happy does. Self-acceptance does. Let's chase that. Our energy will be better spent and better rewarded-improved relationships with our family and friends but most importantly our own heart and mind. Reflect this week on what makes you truly happy and commit some time to worthwhile efforts. Tell yourself once this week I am beautiful. Take a walk and relieve yourself from a little bit of daily stress. Remind a loved one how much they mean to you-and mean it.
NEDA's awareness week encourages self-acceptance and counting those things in life that truly matter. Ignoring superficial thoughts and desires, but focusing on the blessings in life and the qualities we have to offer. So take some time and COUNT WHAT MATTERS!
*Find events to become involved in NEDA's Awareness Week in the Chicago area: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/programs-events/nedawareness-week-search.php
**Hope for you or someone you know: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/information-resources/