A woman's true Value by Jennifer Aniston

This morning I was taken in by the article written by Jennifer Aniston addressing her experience of being constantly objectified in the news. And while most of us women are not faced with the constant media attention, what we struggle with is mainstream societies view on women.

From a personal perspective I've always been a little out of the box even as a child and as such found trying to fit into this female role most frustrating. For me it's been the view that a woman's value is aligned to her external appearance. That somehow she is less worthy if she doesn't fit into a size 8, 10 or whatever the standard is today. Or that she doesn't wear the right clothes and make up. 

Just like Jennifer Aniston, I'm also fed up of listening to the constant reference to women as a "thing" to look at. Surely beauty is much more than skin and bones? After all isn't the body just a collection of organs covered with skin and bones? It's so ridiculous that it's laughable, yet so many women are sold by this view point.  

What's worse is that this objectification is often from women towards other women and that makes it more infuriating. In some ways it is understandable for men to be seeing women in this way, they are conditioned by society and don't know how it feels to be a woman. But when other women criticize and judge each other based on body shape, it is shameful. Don't get me wrong, there is no justification to objectify anyone, man or woman. My point is that if women are doing it to each other, how do we expect things to change?

The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. - Jennifer Aniston

Before you speak - think! - Words are damaging

As a mindfulness practitioner I like to think I help people raise awareness to the importance of mindful speech and how thoughtless words have an impact on others. Silly remarks about a girls appearance as she is growing up plays a huge part in how she values herself and can shape her self worth.

Yes we can tell a girl she is beautiful but when we say it, we must let them know that beauty is the whole person, not her body, not hair or clothes. Beauty is the mind, the compassion, the attitude and the capacity to be a loving being. 

We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.

The constant focus on what a woman looks like, her relationship status and her role in society is damaging. It needs to change and it needs to start with us women.

A message to all the "thin, so called beautiful women" - Get over yourself!

As a mother of three men I'm proud to say I've raised men that see women as equals. And from my experience, most men do not want women who are beautiful on the outside. Let's give men more credit than we do, not all men are superficial. If you are attracting men into your life that do not value you or see your worth past what you look like, then perhaps you should ask yourself why?

Right Speech, right view, right intention - from the Noble Eight Fold Path in Buddha's teachings.

Mindfulness and Self Awareness

Before I leave you thinking, what does any of this have to do with Mindfulness, let me explain. Mindfulness is about raising your awareness, it's about letting go of limiting beliefs because they all start and end in the mind. Mindfulness is about practicing being present in the moment and this requires letting the past be in the past. 

Mindfulness above all is about you becoming the best person you can be, about reaching a state where you are at peace with life and fully accept what is, this moment.

Through Mindfulness we see that we are all the same, we all have the same struggles in life. And putting others down to make ourselves feel better comes purely from an egotistic point of view and that damages us more than it damages anyone else.

So perhaps next time before you judge others, you can stop to ask yourself why?




Compassion in action

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a Compassion in Action workshop at Samye Ling in Scotland. I had anticipated a lot of useful teaching but actually got much more than I had imagined.

“Compassion is kindness without judgment”

Sometimes I wonder why we find the most simple things in life so difficult to grasp and to apply in our lives. Mindfulness the practice of stillness, living in the present moment and developing a state of constant awareness, sounds easy but in reality it is challenging for most of us.

Compassion is kindness without expectations and conditions. It’s our natural state, we see that from watching babies and young children. They do not discriminate who they show love and kindness too, they don’t see colour, race, religion, gender and whatever else we use as a preference, they come with pure compassion built in. Over time we lose the capacity to be kind for the sake of it without a condition or judgement. Society, upbringing and all the other “stuff” fill us up so we are no longer able to just be compassionate without expecting something back.

Compassion – The only antidote to anger and aggression.

For centuries we have used aggression to fight aggression even though it only escalates the problem. We insist on sending armies in to other countries to fight and kill rather than deal with aggression with compassion in a peaceful way. What would really happen if we used compassion rather than aggression? Would we really be in more danger?

What can I do to change the world?

Sometimes we can get lost and overwhelmed when we hear news of tragedy and suffering like the current refugee crisis. We may feel a disconnect with society and lose hope, we can get into that state of seeing things as negative all around us.

The question is, who benefits from us becoming cynical and hopeless? It certainly doesn’t help those suffering. Moaning about a situation only fuels the negativity in us and others, it doesn’t change the situation.

Even the smallest act, whatever that might be will have a ripple affect. Our responsibility is to work on us, be the best person we can be, share our love, compassion and empathy. Help others regardless of who they are, judge less, moan less and act more. If we all did this, the world would be a much better place.

This video is a perfect example of compassion in action, it’s power is far greater than any act of violence and aggression.