you are enough

Hello! I'm enjoying a quiet, rainy Victoria Day by myself at home, and have actually had time to think a little bit this weekend, as Adam and the boys are visiting grandparents. I've been wrapping up soaps, am enjoying watching the cherry tree start to bloom, and have been thinking about television, of all things. (As I watch Murder, She Wrote on Netflix.) Just to be clear before I get started: I don't think that TV is pure evil and will ruin your children forever if they watch while you make supper. (Even if I did, that doesn't matter. You know what you need to do to get through the day.) This is not meant as a judgement in any way, and please take it as I mean it - just encouragement to be mindful of how you view yourself.

I stayed at a hotel over the weekend for work-related stuff. It was lovely to have some quiet time to myself on Saturday evening to read, rest, and relax as I pleased. So on Saturday evening, I was watching Elizabeth (well done, Cate Blanchett!) but since it was on a regular channel, they awkwardly played commercials throughout the movie.

As you may know, we don't have a TV. It's not that we don't watch anything - we have Netflix and will deliberately choose which shows we want to watch, and when. I grew up in a house where the TV was almost always on in the background, and I watched a lot of it. Since I first moved out to go to university what feels like a couple of years ago (*ahem* 13 years ago *cough*) I haven't had a TV, except for a few months. And then we sold it because I didn't like having it in the house. At the hotel, I noticed something that I already knew, but it seemed clearer and more important than ever before.

Every single commercial's message, masked and presented in various ways, is telling us that we are not enough.

You're not pretty. Your hair isn't the right colour. You're too hairy. You're too fat. Your skin isn't nice enough. Your teeth are too yellow. You're too fat. Your clothes aren't right. You're not good enough. You're getting wrinkles, and old is bad. You're too fat. Your breath stinks. You're ugly. Beauty is good, and you're not beautiful.

Advertisers are depending on you to believe this message so that you will buy their products for telling you these things. Isn't that crazy?

You know what? You are enough.

Chances are, after years of hearing these messages, day in, day out, you believe that you're not good enough. Even though it's simply not true. You are enough.

Frankly, I'm not inclined to welcome a guest in my home who repeats those messages to me. And leads my boys to believe that beauty is the very superficial, one dimensional picture shown on TV. It is so, so much more than that. And so, we opt out of traditional TV. And (I think) are all the better for it.

So here's something you might like to try, if you watch traditional TV with ads in your house. Next time you see an ad, pay attention to what the underlying message is. Distill it into a few words. Do you believe it? How do you think your kids might be interpreting the ads? How are the ads influencing their ideas about themselves and others? Start a conversation with them - see what they think. It might be eye-opening. Do you want those messages setting the tone in your house? It's worth considering.

And so, beautiful you, have a lovely week.


  1. I so agree with you on this one. It is time we realize we are enough and stop letting advertisers tell us how to live and what to think.

    While we do have a TV, it is not turned on til the little man has gone to bed. My hubby is a big history/documentary buff so he tunes in while I read, knit, blog, work, etc. If it were just me here, the TV would be long gone :)

    Have a lovely week.

  2. Very beautifully said.

  3. Yes!
    We have TV but only watch DVD's. No commercials.
    This topic came up while we were on our trip from NS to NM. It was interesting to see the kids reactions to commercials from their TV watching in the hotel. They were annoyed at first. The interruptions! But then I would hear my daughter parroting commercials from the backseat of the car the next day! It sinks in without even noticing it. We had lots of conversations over the seven day trip about just what advertisers were trying to sell and tell people about themselves. It was like taking a class in advertising tactics. I think the kiddos are actually more savvy now because of it but I would not want them to be bombarded with it every day.
    I am thankful we don't watch much TV and what we do watch are documentaries or well chosen movies.
    Well written post!

  4. so very true. we got rid of tv when my daughter, at the age of 2, asked for yoplait yogurt because it was the skinny yogurt. no doubt she got that from a commercial. the kids are older now and we recently accepted a hand me down tv from a friend and splurged on cable. there's nothing good on, and commercials drive us crazy. however, they have led to some interesting discussions about marketing and consumerism. i hadn't thought about the more subtle undercurrent that you point out. thank you for sharing, sherrie!

  5. Well said, Sherrie!!! We have a TV, but we watch shows via Netflix and iTunes. We just buy any shows we are interested in. Occasionally my husband will suggest getting cable, but I assure him that I do not need another way to waste time. I'm really good at it ;) That always seems to settle that. TV can be SUCH a waste of time!! I've read that the average Canadian watches 30 hours of TV a week!!! Isn't that absurd!?! Not in this house!!

  6. The lack of commercials that the kids are exposed to is the main reason I love not having a tv. They do watch plenty of tv on the computer, but without ads, and by choosing what to watch rather than passively sitting and being sucked in to whatever is on.

  7. i love this, sherrie, thank you for sharing!

  8. My children grew up without commercials and I see a difference between them and those who grew up with them. They just don't seem as concerned with brand names and make up and certain foods. School We do have access to viewing via Netflix and computer now but we watch what we choose to without being bombarded by ads. Great post!

  9. I agree 100% with everything you said in this post. I usually just consider TV a waste of time but, you're right, it's more than that.

  10. Absolutely agree. :) We do have a TV set in our house for the Wii (which we also watch Netflix through, hooray!) and the DVD player, but it does not get any stations, so no ads! I have not been exposed to massive amounts of cable television since leaving home in 1998, and the few times I've been stuck at a relative's home where it was on, or in a restaurant, or a doctor's office, I find myself agitated by the pace and ridiculous volume of the commercials, and horrified by the messages. To each their own, but I am grateful that my husband and I don't want it in the house, especially for the sake of my kids.

  11. Well said, thank you! Like Amber, we have a TV without attachment to the Network (no stations). We simply didn't get a provider when we moved and have never missed it. We enjoy the odd movie night though.
    I watched the Great Gatsby yesterday with a friend and ended up discussing various meanings of it with her. I said it reminded me of a book I had read on minimalism. The core message was: we don't buy things because we want those things but because we want the life they promise us we'll lead when we buy them. In contrast, not owning stuff liberates you and enables you to build the life you define for yourself without all that guilt of not having achieved what "they" tell us we should live like.

    @Amber, absolutely, I'm always agitated by too much TV and noise when I visit people. I totally enjoy the peaceful quiet of my own home.


Thanks so much for your comments - I read and appreciate each one! Sorry about the word verification - the spammers found me and it became necessary. Thanks for taking the time to comment!