It’s been nearly two years since we started our liedentity campaign; working to raise awareness of low self-esteem in young people due to lack of body confidence. We have met with many different organisations and listened to children and young people talk about their own personal experiences; worries they have about appearance and pressures they face through social media.
During one meeting with an organisation where I was explaining the liedentity campaign, a woman said to me, “You need to stop talking to them about this issue. What we need to be talking to them about is what else they can do in the world that’s about making a difference. Take the focus off what they look like and how social media makes them feel.”
I understood what she was trying to say, but I believe these young girls and boys are never going to be able to have the confidence to go out and change the world for the better, when they don’t even like themselves. It’s important that we spend time listening to these young people, understanding their perspective of social media, which for many is their world.
We are bombarded with images of ‘perfect’ bodies, and although we see them everywhere, usually you can sum up in just a few words what the perfect male and female body would be like. For women a thin, toned, long-legged, for a man, tall, muscly with a six pack… you get the idea.
When Bishop Rachel leads liedentity sessions, we talk about where we get our value from. That its what’s on the inside that counts. It’s not about the length of our legs, but about how we love others. It’s not about the whiteness of our teeth, but how hard we work. It’s not about the size of our six pack, but how kind we are. We don’t love our friends and family because they have amazing hair! But yet when we compliment those we love, we are all guilty of telling them how great they look, or what a pretty outfit they are wearing.
And underneath all of this we all need to take responsibility to stop judging others. In a world where it’s been made so easy to make comment on others by pressing a button, it’s become the norm to pass judgement on people without actually knowing them.
So next time you compliment someone, do it face to face and tell them what makes them great, that isn’t about their appearance. It will make them feel really good and you as well!