Yuck. Not funny.
Maybe it’s because I’m a psychotherapist. I hear the painful stories hiding behind the attempt at humor. So when I hear jokes that poke fun at serious health and mental health issues, I cringe.
Our culture is so inundated with this stuff—think how many shame-inducing memes appear in your Facebook feed—that we’re desensitized to how harmful it really is. I want you to see how demeaning jokes undermine your weight-release journey, how you unwittingly join in and how practicing radical self-respect protects you from their harmful effects.
My client, Karen, struggled with her weight since childhood and regularly joked about it. She would say things like, “Oh, I just look at food and gain weight” and “Chocolate calls out my name!” (Do you say things like that, too?)
Karen kept a cartoon on her refrigerator. The caption said, “Pie Calling.” It was a picture of an overweight women clasping her hands over her ears to stop hearing the pie across the room yelling, “Eat me…eat me!”
That cartoon belittled the struggle Karen was going through, so I brought it up to her. She got it and said, “I never joke with my daughters about things that bother them. It’s not right to do this to myself, especially about weight issues. That’s not the kind of role model I want to be.”
Karen threw away the cartoon. She said it felt liberating to no longer see her weight-loss struggle glaring at her face every day. She took a powerful stand against demeaning herself. It was an act of radical self-respect to remove these words that seemed innocent yet undermined her health and wellness goals.
The Weight of Your Words
The energy of the words you use permeates your experiences and influences your self-worth and behavior. For example, when Karen looked at that cartoon—several times a day—it reminded her how food controlled her life. Sure, she could “joke” about it. But deep down, she knew it wasn’t funny. That cartoon fed Karen’s deeper fear that she never would break free from overeating. The pie would always win.
Posting that “funny” cartoon actually was an act of self-sabotage.
Kind-hearted joking in many situations is harmless. But joking about something that’s important to you and has been a chronic problem isn’t funny. It’s disrespectful. Your weight-release journey has been challenging enough. You don’t need to make it harder with silly cartoons and jokes that belittle your struggle.
Think about it. Do you ever hear slim people joke about their weight, food choices and exercise? Hardly ever, right?
Your words match how you feel about things—and there are likely things about your body or weight that you don’t like. But calling forth all that negative energy hurts you and keeps you stuck. The energy of demeaning and belittling words—even if they’re “jokes”—filters into your subconscious mind and feeds your soul images of defeat. When you speak to yourself with the utmost respect, I promise you that your life—and weight-release journey—will quickly improve.
How to Start Radically Respecting Yourself
And the good news is, once you identify those words and messages all you have to do is get rid of them. Easy peasy.
Here are some suggestions to treat yourself with radical self-respect:
- Commit to stop joking—and complaining—about your weight.
- Look around your home, workspace and car. Notice what words and quotes you bring into your world via posters, stationary, key chains, kitchenware, sayings on your clothing, etc. Get rid of everything that in any way undermines your confidence and self-worth. Or that of others. For example, those silly t-shirts that say, “I’m with Stupid.” They gotta go, too.
- Some of the objects we own are unconscious symbols that reflect our struggles. For example, do you collect “fat” animals like hippopotamuses, pigs or elephants? If they bring joy to your heart, keep them. But chances are they’re an unconscious reflection of seeing yourself as a “fat” person. Get rid of them.
- When others are joking or complaining about their weight, food choices or body, choose not to participate. Offer a compassionate smile and be silent, change the subject, or walk away.
- When you see images on social media that are supposed to be “funny” but really are mean-spirited, don’t share, “like” or comment. Ignore them. Unsubscribe from anything that contributes to fat shaming or hurting anyone so these posts no longer contaminate your Facebook or Twitter feed… and your energy field.
- Whenever you buy something new, be discerning about the symbolic message you’re bringing into your home and life. Go for images that evoke a light, joyous feeling compatible with the new you.
By practicing radical self-respect, you lighten your energy field and ultimately your body. You then can give much-deserved unconditional love to your weight-release journey… and yourself.
How will radical self-respect help you lose weight?