Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

I always love when a woman with an alternate body type rises to fame in film or television. When I say “alternate body type,” I’m referring to a woman who does not possess the standard Hollywood stick-thin figure embodied by most starlets today. I think it’s good for young girls to witness other types of bodies on the big or small screen, especially since most women are not naturally a size 2 or 4. It’s healthy for them to see stars that have curvier bodies but are still regarded as beautiful by society at large.

One such woman who has recently risen to fame is Christina Hendricks, the lovely actress who plays Joan Holloway on “Mad Men.” Christina has flowing flame-colored hair, alabaster skin, glowing blue eyes, and a bombshell figure which evokes comparisons to Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. Her shape is a pronounced hourglass and she proudly shows off all of her gorgeous curves, both on “Mad Men” and on the red carpet. She stands out not only because she’s stunningly beautiful, but also because she looks different from most of the other women we see in Hollywood today.

Have you ever heard of the term, “Debbie Downer”? This term, based upon a fictional “Saturday Night Live” character, refers to a person who is frequently negative and complaining, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around her. Sadly, I have to admit that I can be this person at times, and since my name is Debbie, that makes it even worse!

I don’t mean to complain a lot, but there are times when I catch myself spouting out all kinds of negativity. At least I catch myself more often these days, but I am still dismayed when I realize I am whining and complaining. My husband gets the worst of it, and this normally very tolerant man has been known to lose his patience with me on occasion. Yesterday was one of those times, which is what has prompted me to write this post. I will look at why we complain, when it’s okay, and how to reform our tendency to gripe and moan.

What contributes to your level of happiness more strongly, your weight or your love life? A recent article posted on the Daily Mail website revealed some surprising findings from a 24-year study on the topic of happiness. This post outlines key points from the article, as well as my insights related to slimness, relationships, and contentment.

The Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin conducted a study of the ups and downs of the lives of thousands of Germans from 1984 through 2008. One of the findings of this study was that a woman’s weight has a greater effect on her happiness than her love life. Being obese is associated with a higher degree of emotional suffering and dissatisfaction than being single and having a thin body leads to more life satisfaction than being in a committed romantic relationship.

Are you a critical person? Do you have a tendency to look at others – and life – with a “glass half empty” attitude? Are you someone who is never happy because you always find things to fault about the people and situations in your life, including yourself?

How do you feel about anger? Are you someone who readily expresses your anger and sometimes has a hard time controlling it? Or are you someone who is very uncomfortable with anger, such that you can’t really remember being angry at anyone? Do you confine your angry feelings only toward yourself because that feels more safe and comfortable?

I recently completed the exercises in Chapter 5 of the “You Can Heal Your Life Companion Book.” This chapter is titled, “Critical Thinking” and explores the tendency we all have to be judgmental and critical toward others and ourselves. The exercises focus on our beliefs and practices related to critical thoughts and the acknowledgment and expression of emotions, including the often controversial feeling of anger.

I’ve decided to focus this week’s post on the topics of criticism and anger. I will share some of Louise Hay’s thoughts on these topics, as well as my reactions and insights from the Chapter 5 exercises.

Are you obsessed with the sizes of your clothing? Do you refuse to buy an item if it is a larger size than you normally wear? A recent article on the Weight Watchers website (posted by a fellow member of the “Let’s Fashion Talk” forum) describes this phenomenon. Many women have a specific size in mind when shopping for clothing, and they are extremely hesitant to buy anything larger than that “magic” size.

Some highlights of the article include:

* There is no standard sizing convention among women’s clothing manufacturers. Often, the more high-end the designer, the smaller the size. Even within a single brand, there are disparities.
* “Vanity sizing,” in which measurements run larger than standard, is used by the majority of manufacturers today. One exception is the dress-pattern market, in which the measurements for the McCall’s size 8 correspond to the current 0 or 00 on the Banana Republic website!
* Vanity sizing is driven entirely by marketing psychology. Women like to fit into a smaller size and single digits sound better than double digits.
* The average American woman is 5’4.5” and wears a size 12 top and a size 14 bottom.
* The dream size for most women on the Weight Watchers plan hovers between an 8 and a 10.