Dr. Deah's Tasty Morsels

The Phrase

Posted on September 07, 2011 by Dr. Deah

I want to write about THE PHRASE. I first heard it from a friend of mine about two years ago. She heard it from her therapist. I did an internet search for THE PHRASE and was surprised how many others knew about THE PHRASE. I was a bit embarrassed. As a therapist and retired University Professor, that with so many hits, it had taken me this many years to hear THE PHRASE.  The search revealed that some people first heard it at a twelve step meeting, others from a life coach, and others from a teacher or a parent.  Admittedly I didn’t devote an enormous amount of time researching who first coined the phrase.  (If anyone out there knows, I’d love to know). If this is the first time you’ve heard THE PHRASE, chances are the Narwhal Factor will kick in and you will start hearing it everywhere you go. If you HAVE heard THE PHRASE before, perhaps you can understand  why I was so dazzled with how such a simple phrase could convey such a complex dilemma that humans find themselves in all too frequently.  The dilemma of repeatedly trying to find something we want or need in the wrong place.


“Don’t go to the hardware store for milk.” 

Got Milk?

For many of us that struggle with the negative consequences of self-destructive habitual thoughts and actions; even though we are otherwise intelligent, insightful and determined individuals, we continue to find ourselves in similar situations over and over. Despite our intentions, resolve, and misery this Ground Hog Day Phenomenon is uncanny. There we are again; standing in the customer service line at the local Hardware Store asking the clerk behind the counter which aisle the milk is in? We feel stupid, weak, and or hopeless about EVER being able to change. But at the risk of sounding like a hopeless optimist, I fervently believe that deep down inside we are programmed to love ourselves.  This matters because beginning a journey of self acceptance when you have been accustomed to hating yourself takes at least some self-love in the first place.  The decision to love who you are in this moment without enrolling in an UBER MAKEOVER BOOT CAMP, whose motto is, “IF YOU REALLY LOVED YOURSELF YOU’D CHANGE,” means that you have a seed of self-acceptance already planted deep inside of you that still loves you.  It may be holding on for dear life, but it is there and CAN be cultivated.
We don’t become self-loathers in a vacuum.
That’s not a profound statement, certainly nowhere nearly as profound as THE PHRASE, it’s just true. If we weren’t thrust into a world where all of us were valued for looking a certain way, there would be so many happier people around.  There would be fewer women thinking, “I HATE HER,” when they saw another woman who was thinner or larger breasted, or younger than they were. There would be fewer men thinking, “My abs aren’t as defined as his, and I don’t have as much hair as he does."  The competition and jealousy that result are divisive because they stem from the formula that physical perfection=success=feeling loved and lovable. But living in a vacuum is an unrealistic ecosystem, and it would be lonely after a while. We are, for better or worse, living in a society with people, Yay! Some of whom, like vacuums, suck, Boo! And while the concept of a safe place where all bodies are beautiful and someone may care about what I’m thinking instead of what I look like and we can all dance around naked and not feel ugly or unlovable because of our butts or thighs sounds like a lovely respite, (and sign me up), the truth is, we are living in a world where some people have very negative opinions about whether we are too tall, too thin, too fat, or too short. So what to do to start building up our self/size acceptance in this world where Size-ism is an accepted form of discrimination and division? One small step is to “stop going to the hardware store for milk.”

Don't go you know where for you know what!

  •  If you go to Thanksgiving Dinner every year knowing people will tell you that you are eating too much or will comment on your body and it feels bad to you and you are shrieking inside your head, “Scottie Beam me up,” you are at the hardware store looking for milk.
  • If you refuse to buy clothing that fits you because you are waiting to be a “normal” size and then sit at home hating yourself. You are at the hardware store looking for milk.
  • If you get on the scale every morning and let the number on the scale dictate to you how you will feel that day… get out of the hardware store.
Instead go to the places that have what the seed needs and will help the self-love inside of you flourish.  Snuggle into the rich soil of friends that have loved you at every size you have been, savor their kindness and soak in their warmth.  It gets easier with practice, I promise. Each person’s journey is a different one and each moment presents its joys, challenges, progress, and setbacks.  What are some examples of how you used to or still go to the hardware store for milk? How did you start going to a place where you knew you could get what you needed or wanted instead? Til next time! Dr. Deah

About Dr. Deah

Dr. Deah Schwartz, clinician, educator, and author specializes in Expressive Arts Therapies, Eating Disorders, and Body Image. Deah is the author of Dr. Deah's Calmanac: Your Interactive Monthly Guide for Cultivating a Positive Body Image and co-author of the NAAFA award winning Off-Broadway Play, Leftovers, and its companion DVD/Workbook Set. An outspoken “New Yawker,” Dr. Deah believes that it is everyone’s responsibility to point out and eliminate size discrimination even when it means battling the mainstream media, and even more challenging...family members! To find out more about Dr. Deah’s work or to book a session visit her website at www.drdeah.com

Categories: Body Acceptance, Body Image, HAES®, Size Acceptance | Tags: , , | 1 comment

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  1. Pingback: No Ifs, Ands, or Buts « Fierce, Freethinking Fatties

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