There is some tiny part of me that admires spam authors. They used to be unimaginative hacks with four selling verbs under their belts. They had no idea how to lure someone at all, whether they peddled mortgages or biophysical miracles, websites or drugs. But lately, just lately, a new breed of spam peddler has surfaced who can write truly compelling headlines. Real grabbers. I got one today. The headline read:
No one will love you if you are fat.
And I thought, Oh, really?
I mean, yes, there will be people around who mock, think less of, avoid, ignore, feel sorry for people who are fat. Sure. That happens. But being without love because we are fat? No. No, see, that’s not the way it works, ever. I mean, there are plenty of reasons a person can be unlovable, but fat isn’t one of them.
Still, many of us are raised to believe it, and so with extra fat on our bodies, we feel unlovable. And feeling unlovable has a way of fulfilling itself. We react in two main directions. One way to go is by overcompensating, overreaching, over-nurturing, overdoing for others, over-performing at work. Or we react by shutting down, shutting out the world, other people, relationships, opportunities. Or maybe we do both. A very few of us manage to maintain a strong self image without swallowing this line of horse poo-poo.
What could possibly be unlovable about fat? It’s energy. That’s all it is. It’s potential energy. Storage. Walk-in closets, full of energy. Bins and boxes and barrels full of that which makes us go. It’s warmth, it’s heat. Sure, too much of it hurts us. No doubt about it. But that’s another issue for another day.
Stop and count up the big people in your life who you love. Would you say you would love them more if they were thinner?
Silly question, right. Absolutely.
Do you think you’d love yourself more if you were thinner?
Is that question not so silly?
Fat can be a problem in a lot of ways, but making you unlovable to other people? No. Actually it can’t do that. Some people may not find fat sexy. That’s okay. Many others do. Fat is mainly a problem when it makes you unlovable to yourself. And that’s what this wily spam writer knows. The spam headline wakes and shakes that little driveling fool that lives in all of us, big or small, that fears going through life without love. Silly old fool.
So, got a little extra hanging around? Hating yourself for it? Maybe spend a little time soon writing in your journal or body log to consider what fat does to your ability to care about and for yourself. Write out some memories of how you’ve felt about your extra weight. Where did those feelings come from, do you think? Read them over.
When you’ve really had a chance to analyze them, decide to change your mind about what you think about your own fat. We can do that, you know. We don’t have to live with every little feeling that shows up. We can reprogram our thinking. Spend a little time actively apologizing to yourself for giving yourself too hard a time about your weight. Apologize for beating yourself up. Apologize for punishing yourself excessively. Apologize for making yourself a doormat or shutting yourself off from the world. For being angry or defensive or bitter about it. Consider all the people you love who carry extra weight, and decide to put yourself in the same boat with them. All of you go on a nice cruise somewhere.
Then promise yourself you’re going to see your fat and anybody else’s for what it is, plain old stored energy, and nothing more. There is no magical person-shifting aspect to stored fat. You will not change for better or for worse by having it or not having it. And so, there’s no more poor you. No more poor unlovable you. Just you with energy to burn.