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Jameela's April 2014 Column: Bye Bye Self-Criticism!


Easter as we've always known it is over. Nowadays, the Easter bunny should be advertised wearing exercise gear, holding a smoothie and a stick of celery. You see, ‘giving up for Lent’ has become something to fear. Something adhered to by all. Well, women especially - who have started to
use these 40 days to give up certain food groups. No cheese for a month and a half in the name of Jesus. Really?

I respect the use of anything in order to motivate yourself, but I do feel as though it’s almost always about fixing the outside rather than the inside. My friends spend more time thinking about their love handles than their love lives.


We treat our bodies like show dogs, only there to be admired by onlookers. The streets of the UK are starting to feel like one giant bloody Crufts!

Personally, I’d like to take a bad emotional habit and cut it out of my life for 40 days. I think my addiction to criticism and doubt of myself is in need of a swift kick. All it does is weigh me down (far more so than my substantially sizeable bottom).

I don’t think we realise how many bad things we say to ourselves, about ourselves. We are crueller than our worst enemy. We look for the mistakes we have made with the scrutiny of a brain surgeon. I probably couldn’t count on one hand the nice things I say to myself on a daily basis. That is so depressing.


So, this Easter, I’m cleansing my mind and my mouth of all those bad words. I am going to promise to be relentlessly kind and patient to me. ESPECIALLY in the face of failure. I’m going to treat me as I would my closest friend, with nothing but love, support and understanding. I will catch every cruel word before it leaves my lips. I will drown every negative thought as it starts to materialise, until, finally, the habit is broken.

If you were a kid and somebody spent all of his or her time telling you how shit you were, you wouldn’t grow. It wouldn’t make you better, it would consume you. So why do we do it to ourselves? Surely, when you actually feel happy, you don’t feel the need to fill that hole you have chipped away at yourself to create – because it’s not there anymore.

Perhaps, then, you don’t need to forbid yourself from food because you use it for pleasure, rather than as a mattress to break your fall when it all gets too much. All I know is that everything on earth is built from the inside out. So why should we be any different? Now hand me that chocolate bar and nobody gets hurt..."



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