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.