by Individual Therapist Jen Bradon
Have we lost our perspective? It has been a controversial week in t
he media with the Gomes naming “fat” debate. Jessica Gomes, the new David Jones Ambassador splashed over the front pages of newspaper articles this week for being labeled as “fat” and her body has been picked apart. In the same week, Jennifer Hawkins has been picked apart, but this time for being too skinny. As clinicians, we encourage and promote non-judgmental services, yet we live in a world full of judgment and intangible ideals.
Two comments, made by a couple of members in the audience, attracted so much attention. Presumably hundreds, even thousands, of positive comments were made about Gomes but they didn’t rate a mention compared with the negative ones. Sadly, this is often the case when we evaluate our own image. Much focus and energy can be directed towards what we perceive as negative aspects, feeding them to the point where they overshadow any number of strengths we own.
This kind of regular, very public debate over body ideals often leave us with an empty feeling and thoughts of, “I’ll like myself when … I’ll love myself when …”. And if we ever achieve our own “perfect” image, what then? Will we be forever happy? Will we love ourselves and have all our troubles fade away? Unfortunately, that’s not realistic.
While there can be so many unanswered questions, through the cloud of judgment and criticism, confusion and disappointment, there are a few certainties:
1. Listening to the negative comments and thoughts feeds negative feelings; listening to positive comments and thoughts, feeds positive feelings.
2. Gomes was quoted in saying she, “wants to be a good role model”. Meaning that she believes no matter what size or shape you are, you can be happy and accepting, despite shame and scrutiny from others. Gomes has recognised the effect being part of the industry has on people and she is striving to be realistic and honest. Through her self-acceptance, she gains empowerment. She finds a voice and is heard. This empowerment enabled her to strive forward and silence the harshest, loudest voices.
The world may have lost some perspective- but that doesn’t mean we have to. Being happy with who we are, what shape we are, is a realistic, tangible goal. One where I feel I can finally breath. What a refreshing taste Gomes brought, and that has made me hungry for more…. more self-acceptance….more self compassion…..more recognition of the inner strengths we each hold.