“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop
Have you ever made an assumption about someone based on a stereotype? We’ve all done it! I hate stereotypes, though, because they take away the uniqueness of each individual. I think it is imperative that we make a conscious effort to recognize and appreciate every single person in our lives. We are all different, yet we all desire to be loved, wanted, sought after, and appreciated. I believe God allows the fulfillment of these needs, through relationships, to be an example of His love for us. I also believe that failing to have these needs met through our relationships is a major contributor to low self-esteem, poor body image, and eating disorders. In our society where we are more concerned with our own comfort than fulfilling these basic relational needs of others, a sense of inadequacy and a heightened need for acceptance will creep in. Studies show that genetic traits, social media, and peer and familial pressure to be thin may all contribute to the development of these things (which I agree with 100%). But at the core of the problem, is it safe to say that a majority of our insecurities are created by an unfulfilled need for approval and acceptance? I’ll speak for myself in saying that I often get caught up in pursuing my own desires and I neglect to acknowledge the need around me. There are people all around us… family members, friends, classmates, coworkers, neighbors… who are crying out for love and attention. We may not all be licensed counselors, medical doctors, or trained professionals, but we all have a role to play in treating and preventing eating disorders and negative body image. Never underestimate the power you have to influence someone’s life. And by this I am not implying that we need to lie, feign interest, or invest insincerely into those around us. But imagine the difference that could be made if each one of us would intentionally strive to make another individual feel special. The need is much deeper than hearing “you’re beautiful”, “you look like you’ve lost weight”, or “I love your shirt”. Tell someone what you admire most about him or her. Focus on the internal rather than the external. The more we idolize physical beauty the more insecure our culture will become. Make it a goal this week to seek out someone in your life and let them know they are loved and appreciated... you never know the impact this can have.