(Houston, We Have a Values Problem)
We spend our lives striving for the unattainable, clinging to the ephemeral.
We fully expect to stay young, beautiful, and healthy forever.
We spend our hard-earned money on products that promise us these things.
We fret over every bit of food we put into our mouths.
We voluntarily go under the knife.
We starve ourselves.
We pay people to inject toxins into our faces.
We cut out certain foods because
milk, eggs, fats,
sugar and carbs are toxic, cause cancer, are unhealthy.
Every extra pound,
A moral failure.
If bodies were supposed to be young and healthy forever, they would be.
The fact that we spend our money, hell, our lives, fixing these “problems” is insane.
The Cosmetics Industry 62.5 billion
The Weight Loss Industry 66 billion
Cosmetic Surgeries 16 billion
Supplements 37.4 billion
These industries make these amounts by convincing us, the consumers, that we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, healthy enough, or worthy of love without their services.
Youth. Beauty. Health.
It makes sense that we would appreciate these things; they are overwhelmingly fleeting.
We grow old.
Maybe we cling to these ideals in denial of death.
It makes sense. Death is scary.
But aging is normal. It is natural.
Which also means that the things that are often part of aging, like wrinkles or failing health, are natural too.
Whether we like it or not.
So why do we squander our money, our happiness, our lives chasing after the unattainable?
Because somewhere along the way, we decided as a culture that this is what we should value.
If we don’t happen to feel that we are healthy enough, beautiful enough, or look young enough, we are encouraged to do something to make things better.
So, we try to.
And that isn’t always a bad thing. Wear eyeliner if you like it and it makes you feel prettier. Cut out sugar if it makes you feel lousy when you eat it. Eat more veggies.
But when beauty is defined as having a body shape that only 5% of us are genetically programmed to have, that is a problem.
When we hate ourselves because we don’t look as flawless as the cover models who have had professional hair and makeup people working on them for hours before the photo shoot and then other professionals spending countless hours touching up the photos afterwards, that is a problem.
When we think that health is a reward given only to the people who have proven they are worthy by either winning the genetic lottery or obsessing over every bite of food they consume and exercising to the point of puking, that is a problem.
When we spend our lives feeling broken, unhappy with how we look and feel, and constantly feeling like we are not good enough, that is a problem.
What would it look like if we valued other things? Things that are attainable, like:
I’d love to know what that world would look like. How about you?