We inherit a lot from our families. We inherit DNA, values, even behaviours and beliefs. Unfortunately, not everything we inherit benefits us. Sometimes it’s the complete opposite.
I remember my grandmother, and my mother, constantly dieting or worrying about their weight when I was a child. I remember all the names of all the diets they tried, I remember the bottles of diet pills and the fasting techniques, the excuses to get out of eating a meal with me. It’s sad but I think most people, especially women, can think of something similar happening within their families. People think that children don’t catch onto the things they do and say, but they realize and remember more than they may choose to believe.
Something our grandmothers and mothers didn’t realize though, is how their words carry a weight that we can feel. We can carry it around with us for decades. They may not mean to plant the seeds that lead to thoughts of body-dissatisfaction, but it happens. When someone who is your whole world, which you think is the most beautiful thing ever, says they’re fat or ugly you can’t help but take it to heart. If they think that about themselves, what do they think of me?
Sometimes our grandmothers and mothers give us words of encouragement, they say things out of love. They tell us to watch what we eat, joking that we may get fat, asking how much we’ve been eating. They see it as caring, and I suppose it might be in their minds. But the weight of the negativity those comments come with, doesn’t inspire love in my mind. And sadly, again, I think we can all think of instances where this has happened to us in our lives. We can all remember moments where words were heard that had a weight to them, and that stung with expectation.
People need to be more careful with the words they use, the sentences they craft. Be careful how you speak about yourself, of how you speak about others. Think about how your words affect not only you but also the people in your life. Be kind to yourself as well as to others. You deserve to be happy in your life and in your body.
Elizabeth Munro has been a NEDIC volunteer for over a year and is a current blog coordinator. She is an advocate for women and children, as well as a trained counsellor. Elizabeth is currently furthering her education by learning ASL and hopes to begin a bachelor in social work this fall.