Wellness exposed

I love being a woman. I love embracing our femininity, our gentle strength, our loyalty, our sensitivity, and our hardworking nature. But there is something about us women that we could do without - we are often innately self-sabotaging. Generation after generation, we manage to find ways of eluding happiness. In the past we have been tormented by the need to be thinner, to earn more money, to be better mothers, or our desire for the perfect partner. Today, we are on the even more difficult quest for self-discovery, self-love and inward acceptance and satisfaction.

The wellness industry is growing worldwide.  People are spending more and more time and money on their own wellbeing including stress relief, life coaching, goal planning, mind clearing and relaxation. We are becoming more and more aware of our potential as humans, and increasingly unsatisfied with the ordinary.  As the industry grows, you would think I would be delighted - as a wellness coach and all - but in fact, I am growing more and more concerned about the industry and its effects on the women of the world.

My concern stems from the fear that the wellness industry is not actually beneficial to our “wellbeing”. We are being bombarded with happy, spiritual, satisfied, relaxed and positive individuals, trying to convince us that what they have is easily within reach. In fact, what we are seeing is more and more people presenting themselves in a certain way, seemly having followed their dreams and now living a life of true passion. We look at them with awe and draw inspiration from their defeats. We idolise them as they drink green juice, only ever eat paleo, gluten free, raw and vegan foods, look slim while retaining just the right amount of curves, manage to meditate several times a day and often take relaxation breaks all while juggling a marriage, children, and several thriving businesses. What a life that must be!

Well, I’m calling the bluff. We are too busy looking up to these superwomen that we are forgetting that mediums such as social media allow us to represent our lives however we like. Today we can choose to share with our audience the great parts of our lives, and we can choose to hide the worst. While we may see an entrepreneur with a thriving business who is always sharing positive thoughts and constantly talks about how lucky he or she is, what we are not seeing is the struggle that goes into building a business up from the ground, and constant self-doubt and insecurity. While they always seem to fit in a restorative yoga session and we sit here wondering how on earth we will make it to the gym today, we are not realising that they are staying up until 3am most nights working on their marketing campaigns. While they polish off their quick, easy, raw, gluten free, dairy free, vegan lunch and we grab a muffin while rushing around running errands, we forget that they spend hours and hours creating recipes and photographing their creations to perfection (and there is nothing to say they actually eat them).

What this comes down to, and the reason it causes most concern, is it highlights our desperate need to compare ourselves with others. Our jealousy leads us to self-loathing, and the worst part is this jealousy is often unfounded. With the ability to constantly share our lives, we have a wonderful way to connect with others from many different walks of life. Instead of focusing on what they have that we don’t, we need to be happy for their blessings, and grateful for our own.

From now on - don’t beat yourself up for eating gluten. Don’t panic if you didn’t get to meditate today. Don’t give yourself a hard time for having negative thoughts. You are allowed to have a bad day. We are all human.

Try to disconnect from social media occasionally and focus on your life and your feats. Focus on what you did manage to do, not what you didn’t. Remember, we all present ourselves in a certain way. Never judge someone else’s life by what you see in photos. You have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. 

 

- Ashley 

 

Do you ever compare your life to others? Do you feel pressure from social media to present your life a certain way? I'd love to hear your opinion.