I want to share with you one of the most critical questions I asked myself on my journey to body healing:
How do they want me to feel about myself in order to buy this product?
I would see advertisements all the time, I am never able to get away from them, especially on social media.
Whether it is a new diet plan, a super food that will change the way I look, a deodorant that helps me “smell better naked,” a new shape wear line, a workout plan that burns fat fast, or a toothpaste to make teeth as white as possible.
Honestly, every time I saw these ads, I would feel horrible about myself.
Whether it was something I never considered before (smelling good naked) or something I had obsessed about my whole life (losing weight), nothing I would see ever made me feel good.
In my efforts to always fix and change myself, it would cause me to act.
To buy their miracle cure.
To hand over my hard earned money believing that this would be the magical thing that would make all my body problems disappear.
It never worked, ever.
In a few weeks, I’d be back to where I started, feeling horrible about the way I looked.
Constantly searching for the thing that was going to CURE ME.
Perpetuating the belief that if I changed how I looked, I would finally love myself.
Then one day, I stopped to think about the motivation of these companies and asked:
How do they want me to feel about myself right now in order to buy this?
A huge question that changed my perspective on everything.
These ads, these products, these companies were feeding into the negativity that most women, me included, feel about themselves.
They prey upon those negative feelings, emotions and behaviors that have been developed since childhood.
They were exacerbating the problem areas I saw in myself, expounding the view that I needed to look a certain way.
They create a societal ideal and they exploited my desire to fit the idea they created.
In most cases, companies are trying to sell me fixes to the problem areas THEY have created in my life.
See, they aren’t inherently problems. I am not something that someone needs to fix.
But, they want me to wholeheartedly believe that I need to be fixed.
That I have problems.
That my body is wrong.
That the way I look is shameful.
All my problem areas, and THEY have the quick fix.
They were manipulating my feelings.
They saw me as a solution.
They created the reality in which I am living but I am supposed to trust that they can create the result I seek.
What do they want me to feel when I see their ad?
Is it a good feeling, a bad feeling, do they want me to be worried about the way I look?
Do they want me to feel disgusted when I look in the mirror?
Are they really there to support a body positive journey or are they just trying to sell me something?
At the end of the day, upon reflection of this question, I realized they weren’t coming from a place of true support.
They were coming from a standpoint of having a poor image of myself so I’ll hit that buy button.
It was all focused on me feeling bad enough so that they could make money.
“Want to feel better about yourself? Buy our product.”
I felt manipulated. That I was simply someone to be fixed.
Everything I saw was about changing the outside, upgrading my looks, manipulating my body to fit the mold.
That will never be the solution to lasting confidence and self love.
My body will continue to evolve, change is inevitable.
I will no longer allow advertisements to dictate the feelings I have about myself.
I know their game.
And I’ll no longer be playing it.