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By Rances Perez of VidaProject
Take a look at this majestic bird; it is a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo.
This large white parrot is not an everyday observation for most of us, so when we do see it, we are captivated by its beauty (at least I am).
Now get this; in parts of Australia, this bird is in such abundance that it is a pest! Yes, just as we view rats around these parts, nothing more than a pesky critter.
By now, you’re probably wondering, why are you reading about parrots and rats on a wellness blog? Just bear with me, it’ll make sense (hopefully).
Recently I’ve met several people that are highly opposed to a naked foot or letting others see their feet. When I ask why the answer is often “feet are gross” or “I have ugly feet.”
I wear socks with individual compartments for each toe (toe socks), which allow me to wear my Vibrams even in colder climates.
In my gym, I tend to have my socks with no shoes, and many people point them out or point out my Vibrams and say, “those things freak me out, they look so weird.” A baffled look usually takes over me.
I don’t understand how something that resembles a natural human foot looks strange. To me, the shape of a typical shoe should seem odd to a human, not the actual foot inside.
And there lies the clue. We see footwear every day by the thousands. Due to the abundance of shoes, the shoe shape is the norm. Yet the actual foot that we don’t see as often has become strange and a source of self-consciousness.
Why self-consciousness? I’m no psychologist or neuroscientist, but I do have a hypothesis. When left to imagine, the mind will build expectations of perfection.
Meaning, if something is taken out of view long enough, the imagination will begin to adjust it into a flawless design of what we as individuals consider perfection.
I will go forward to elevate my hypothesis to a theory because the most prominent social experiment to exist has pointed to its legitimacy.
Our naked human bodies have been the subject of that experiment.
What we have come to expect to be the norm today (due to our societal mental models) is a world of difference from what is the reality.
In actuality, the bodies we see representing the human form are but a micron of the population. As with the shoe, our view has been conditioned to expect something completely different than what is the reality.
For example, many consider having six-pack abs the norm, while according to Wiki-answers.com, only 6% of the population has them. When 94% of the population is comparing themselves to the remaining 6%, there’s no question of what is expected to happen.
When we conjure up a mental image of a naked body, most will have some sexual correlation attached to it, because our creativity will run wild and push everything one step forward.
A well-developed body that is showing just enough in the right angles and leaving something to the imagination is considered sexy.
If the complete human form is represented, it loses its mystery and exoticness. Case in point, photographer Gracie Hagen has made a spectacular series called Illusion of the body, where she has explored this exact idea with her photography, definitely worth taking a look.
What would happen if we were to go nude daily, as some other cultures do? Would we become overly sexual beings with no control?
That seems to be the thought process, but I have a different idea.
Just as the Cockatoo does not have the air of exoticness to its Australian residents, I believe the same holds with our bodies.
Furthermore, our views on perfection will no longer run rampant, which will, in turn, allow our insecurities to melt away.
When we see native tribes in warmer climates on National Geographic that tend to be entirely or mostly nude (both men and women), most folks do not react as if they are being forced to watch pornographic imagery.
It is usually just viewed as the norm, something expected. All types of bodies are on display, and no one is worried about demoralizing children.
I propose that if we are to grow as individuals and truly develop as a society, we take the steps towards embracing our bodies. Here’s how:
First, do celebrate a fantastic physique when you see it. Many folks feel that they must tear down others by finding imperfections.
It is a way to protest by saying, “You’re not so great; therefore, I’m not so terrible.” That is nothing more than misdirected feelings. Just remember these people are the exception and not the rule.
Second, similarly, as we tend to find imperfection in a seemingly perfect physique, look for beauty in the everyday body.
Finally (possibly the hardest one) learn to be naked! When you get home, strip down to your birthday suit, hangout that way, and look at your body in the mirror.
Find all the things that you like about your body (NOT THE THINGS YOU DISLIKE). If you live with others, then lock yourself in your room.
I know this may sound crazy at first, but give it a try because the only person you can be afraid of judging you is, well, yourself!
I can guarantee that you will become a more confident and stronger person through this process!
Please come back and share your experience below in the comments section!