A Woman’s Struggle to Please

A woman's struggle to please

A woman’s struggle to please

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss women’s struggle to please.

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Now, let’s talk about women’s struggle to please.

From early childhood on, we all naturally succumb to the pressure and expectation to please others.

Of course, it begins with the desire to please our parents (or caregivers.) We seek to please them and get their approval because we directly relate the seal of approval and a sense of acceptance with physical safety, love and affection. In other words, for a child, the perception and interpretation of the significance of approval becomes synonymous first with physical survival.

Eventually, our desire to please others (including peers and strangers) and seek their approval and acceptance becomes more than a habit – it becomes part of our programming. As adults, we equate other people’s approval, acceptance and opinion of us with our self-worth. We allow others to decide our value based purely on their ever-changing judgment of us.

We battle and struggle to maintain the image and be the person that others close to us as well as society in general expect of us.

It is not that we lose our individuality as much as we lose our self-worth when we constantly keep measuring ourselves against what everyone else wants us to be, do or have.

This is blatantly apparent with the January 2015 issue of InTouch magazine which featured a photo of former Olympian Bruce Jenner Photoshopped to alter the original photo and manipulating the photo by putting lipstick and blush on Bruce Jenner and dressing him in a woman’s suit and scarf.

Comedian and activist, Russell Brand rightly labeled this move – along with the constant media criticism and speculation that Jenner wants to be a woman – as bullying. Watch the video:

The InTouch magazine and endless scrutiny, condemnation, ridicule and mocking characterizes society’s extremely harsh pressure to conform – to look, dress and act a certain way.

For women, this pressure is multiplied a hundred fold.

One of the most obvious examples is the body-type that women are expected to have – demanded to have.

By whom?

The media, advertising and fashion.

It begins with fashion. Not because fashion is inherently wrong but rather because the expectation has been created that one must dress perfectly or face the criticism and vicious cruelty as exemplified by the TV show “Fashion Police.” Yes, it is a comedy show but it is a show based on laughing and mocking other people for the way they dress. Shows such as Fashion Police simply teach that it is acceptable to condemn others as not being acceptable or good enough. Read more.

It is also prudent at this juncture to state that pointing out errors in judgment and behavior, which result in harm to oneself and/or others, is not the same as bullying or condemning people because they don’t look, act or dress the way we do or the way we want them to do.

Thus, again, as a result of media, advertising and fashion, women struggle to please according to body-type.

I have stated on TV interviews that it is extremely rare to find a woman in Western society who is pleased with her own body.

She is constantly criticizing her body and herself because she is constantly criticized for her body and self.

As a result of the constant obsession by women over their body, a new study now reveals that the human brain of both genders is looking at and processing women as body parts but it is processing men as a whole rather than the sum of their parts. Read more.

Women thus believe that to be good enough, to be worthy and loveable means pleasing other people – pleasing men and women and trying to attain a body-type that is not attainable.

It is true women compete with other women as they all strive for physical perfection, trying to be the ‘best’ woman in the room.

However, as I pointed out on the TV show Emotional Mojo, the fashion industry which creates these arbitrary standards, is primarily run and dominated by gay men and then women. As a model who is a client of mine revealed to me, the desire and goal in the fashion world is for every woman to look and have the body of an adolescent boy! Watch the video.

In a 2015 study by the Southern Methodist University, lead author and social psychologist Andrea Meltzer, revealed that “A woman’s body image is strongly linked to her perception of what she thinks men prefer.” Read more.

Generally, heterosexual women believe that men prefer the ultra-thin bodies as portrayed in the media (the Photoshopped photos that turn women into adolescent boys.) “It is possible that women who are led to believe that men prefer women with bodies larger than the models depicted in the media may experience higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression.”

Remember, too, that when women do not feel good about their body, it damages their relationships with themselves and others. Women who are unhappy about their body and thus feel ugly or not good enough, have less sex, experience less sexual satisfaction and more dissatisfaction in their marriages and relationships.

So what is the solution?

Should women simply strive to become the ideal for heterosexual men? Should they let go of the ultra-thin ideal and move to their own natural body-type to please men?

I always teach balance as one of the keys to inner peace.

The solution to self-acceptance and letting go of the need to please others with regards to body-type begins in childhood. Parents need to teach children to embrace their natural body type and to focus simply on being healthy – eating well, exercising and maintaining psychological health and balance.

The second component to the solution is for women to beware of what they are reading and exposing themselves to on a daily basis. Please note that the key message in all advertising is that ‘there is something wrong with you, you are lacking and not good enough unless and until you purchase this product.’  Brainwashing & advertising – ‘there’s something wrong with you and You’ll Never Measure up.

Begin today to love and accept your body and stop trying to please others based on your body; when you love and accept yourself, it is so much easier for others to love and accept you because you will embrace the love instead of pushing it away or sabotaging it. And if you need help and support to love yourself, book a personal session with me. Watch the video.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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