By: Alison Cushing, Thalia House MA Intern


Within American culture and society today, it is no surprise to me that on a daily basis I hear people make such critical judgments about themselves. In movies, television shows and advertisements we are constantly provided with information about who we should be, how we should act and what we should look like. Profit-driven companies are bombarding us with beauty and weight loss slogans, such as Special K’s, “What will you gain when you lose?” implying that losing weight is the key to health and happiness.

    Society objectifies us and asks us to view ourselves as objects to be fixed, judged and looked at above all else. We are told we are constantly in need of repair with the help of make-up, tanning, waxing, plucking, whitening, dieting and extreme exercising. Due to this our health goals often reflect our self-objectifying views that don’t actually lead us to real health and happiness but rather hurt our health and happiness. For example, have you ever achieved one of those goals and realized you were still unhappy with where you were? Maybe, it was to lose a certain amount of weight and that if you got to that point then you would be happy. It is because the ideals we see in society and set for ourselves are designed to be unattainable.

    The whole beauty industry in built on the idea that, “You’re not ok the way you are. We’ll make you better.” And, to make matters worse, if you don’t fit the criteria of societies definition of beauty, then there is nothing you can do to make up for it. You cannot be intelligent enough, kind enough, or funny enough to compensate for your imperfect and flawed looks – you will never be as valuable as the “beautiful” woman you see walking down the street.

    From a very young age, we begin learning about what is valued most in our society and over time, we consciously and unconsciously evaluate ourselves and others. We grow up trying to emulate whatever it is society deems to be valuable because we all want three things, to be desired, loved and wanted. However, what we need to do is re-evaluate the messages we learn from such an early age about what makes a person valuable or invaluable. We must determine whether we aspire to be a certain way because we truly believe it is right or because we were conditioned to believe it is right.

    So, why is it so much easier for people to internalize messages from society rather than realize that they are indeed good enough? When are we going to stop letting society define who we should be and what we should look like? And how can we start addressing this problem TODAY? What is one action you can do TODAY to embrace the message that you are OK just as you are? Because, YOU ARE IN FACT ENOUGH!