There are so many of these pretty little ditties floating around dining room tables, bar stools, dressing rooms, gyms and the office that a girl cannot escape the wrath of the well intended myth. As a matter of fact, we have several industries banking on the fact that not only will we not escape these lies but also we will invest in a multitude of products, services and couch time to catalogue the visible results of these theories and prove that the reasons we are not happy and successful are somebody else’s fault.
How do we begin to unravel the lies we hand down generation-to-generation? We take a good hard look at them in HD. Then, we vow to banish them from our hearts, our minds and our bodies. We all tell them, we all love to hear them and we all know that we are secretly crossing our little manicured fingers behind our backs the minute we let one float out of our mouths. So here we go:
The #1 “It’s not your fault, it’s all in the genes!”
How many times have you heard this coming out of the mouths of mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and colleagues everywhere? The entire concept of blaming our lot in life (and our waistlines) on our DNA could drive a girl to the brink of a drink! Chin up and Chow down ladies. Our Genes seem to be the reason behind our failed diets, our dismal relationships and our dead end jobs, never mind our flawed figures, noses and attitude.
The payoff of believing “it’s all in the genes” probably started with our mothers making excuses for our weight, eye color, or some other perceived inadequacy in order to protect us from the real world and accepting responsibility for ourselves. In order to not have our feelings hurt, she started to create an elaborate diet of feeding us subtle lies about ourselves and that would distract from the truth about our genetic predispositions. These lies were intended to protect our feelings (and hers) and promote a healthy self-image. They were fabricated to remove certain obstacles in our life that we don’t have “control over”, redirecting us toward the areas where we might have a “natural” gift (aka the easier way out). The sad truth is that these lies have the reverse effect on us. They actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-limitation and self-sabotage.
It must start at conception and move rapidly through the baby shower when relatives are already conjuring up how this little cherub is going to make it through life with her inherited flaws. By preschool, when socialization and comparison begins to chip away at our little princess’ ego, our mothers would say and do anything to prevent us from criticism or the well-indented scrutiny of other mothers and teachers. By the time we enter high school we create our own posse of friends whose job it is to insulate us from everything that might dismantle our self-fulfilling beliefs and make us accountable. We are so entrenched in our reactionary personas by College, that there is little hope for redemption.
Everyone who hears the excuse knows we’re doing it, but no one wants to discuss it. Instead, we insulate our emotions by offering reasons for our lack of self-control, that distance us from knowing ourselves and dealing with the feelings. These legendary lies prevent us from taking responsibility for who we are and lead us into decisions that create unhealthy habits in self-care. If we do not have to take responsibility for our physiological, mental, and emotional being by attributing everything we do not like about ourselves to our gene pool and our ancestry, how are we ever going to discover our true potential and live happy, independent lives?
We are all born with genetic predispositions. Some of them are fabulous and others make us fat, or tall or short or nimble or thick. Regardless of what we inherit, we do have a choice regarding how we manage our attributes. We do have control over our bodies and our lives to the extent that we have the courage and confidence to become the best versions of ourselves. We do not have to become our mothers, nor do we have to become our best selves. The choice is ours. Choose self-mastery instead of self-sabotage. A happy life begins where our excuses end. If you do not like how you look in the mirror, change. Two things control weight: the calories consumed and the calories burned. PERIOD! If you eat more than you burn, you gain weight. If you eat less than you burn, you lose weight. There is no such thing as an “all you can eat diet” and I seldom meet a skinny women who isn’t a slave to her regime. We may not all have the ability to be super models but we do have the ability to look and feel fabulous in our skin!
Want to read more? Come back tomorrow for Legendary Lie #2
Want the whole scoop? Read Chapter 3 in Straight Up With A Twist “The Ladies Who Lunch Lie”.