In the modern world of women today we have the unprecedented opportunity to change and remodel our bodies as never before. So many of us are taking this opportunity with all kinds of plastic surgery from the minimal to the very extreme, to our faces, our breasts, our buttocks, our labia and virtually any other area of our bodies you care to think of.
of women have considered a breast augmentation at some time in their life.
Source: Elle Magazine's survey of over 7000 women
Is it any surprise that there is a growing discontent and lack of acceptance amongst women about the shape and size of their bodies?
More and more women, particularly in the younger generations, but some of the older ones too, aspire to look like the big busted, slender-waisted and long limbed Lara Croft type characters from movies, computer games, comic books and so on. The women we see in the media have a glamorous but unremarkable sameness about them and there is barely a wrinkle to be seen. We have modern day female heroes portrayed in our films and TV series as hard, muscular, sexy, big lipped, gun-toting and ultimately semi-masculine role models for our young women to emulate. The importance of image has never been so compelling.
Is it any surprise that there is a growing discontent and lack of acceptance amongst women about the shape and size of their bodies? Breasts, long heralded as one of the hallmarks of a woman’s desirability, with the right amount of cash, can be made larger or smaller in the blink of an eye (as long as you are prepared to put up with the pain of post surgery). Meanwhile amidst the sea of apparent beauty and glamour on offer there is also, as never before, a rising swell of obesity to be seen, women (and men) who have seemingly given up on being their healthy size and choose instead to cope with the various tensions of life by burying their feelings with food.
Why is this one might ask? Is it because there is more pressure than ever before on women to be anything other than themselves? And in our western affluent societies we now have the opportunity to choose our particular fix.
How does all of the above have anything to do with breast care? And why do we need to care for our breasts?
Firstly breast care cannot be separated from care of the rest of the body, but our breasts are an aspect of our bodies that have been less than well treated or at the very least, not paid that much attention beyond the obvious. Surely the fact that we currently have an epidemic of breast cancer must be indicating something?
Have we ever really stopped to actually feel our breasts, to take note of them in a quiet moment? They have an essentially delicate, very tender and sensitive tissue – this was evident when they were first forming in our early teenage years. How tender our breast buds were and how much they hurt when they got accidentally knocked. But perhaps we rapidly covered this sensitivity over with embarrassment, shame or wanting them to fit an image of how they should be and then disappointment when they didn’t match up. The truth is that our original sensitivity never goes, it merely gets buried.
Reawakening to the sensitivity and what that might allow us to feel – for example the preciousness, delicateness and beauty we all carry as women, can make us want to treat ourselves differently and bring more of that quality into our lives. That quality is the antithesis of the hardness of the apparently self-empowered gunned up action heroines so common in our media today but no less strong.
Perhaps we can also recognise the nurturing quality of our breasts, we feel this naturally of course with our babies and children, how we hold them to our breast to nurture them with milk and comfort them. Maybe in those movements we have also at the same time felt a connection with our hearts, our tenderness, our care for another.
Have we also considered that the heart connection is always there and our breasts are actually nurturing not only others but also ourselves? And that the way they are at any given time may be indicating something?
For example, if within our monthly cycle they may be more swollen and tender than usual then is it possible that may be a signal of how we have been living? What if our breasts can reflect the loving and nurturing ways we have treated ourselves, or the opposite, if the opposite is true? If our breasts are swollen and tender, could it be an indicator that we have had a stressful month, or that we have not expressed something we need to or that we are taking on situations from the outside at cost to ourselves? Our body has a superb, innate intelligence that can tell us so much once we pay attention to it.
It is not such a big leap then to realise that the ignoring of these indicators could accumulate over time and lead to other repercussions to our health and well-being. And more so that the underlying discontent felt by not only many but most women about themselves and their bodies actually could have a damaging effect on the body. Doesn’t that make sense? After all, how can we expect to treat ourselves in a certain way, and have the body not be affected? In seeing this, we start to realise the energetic effect which our thoughts and behaviours can have on our bodies, and how we feel – even if those thoughts are in the privacy of our own head. In other words the almost constant drive to perfectionism, the unceasing tension of trying to be better, to look better, and the concurrent self-criticism about ourselves and our bodies may have consequences. Doesn’t it make sense that that harshness towards ourselves could physically, at the very least, lead to a hardening in the body? By starting to care for ourselves, it is also very possible that we can reverse that trend. From this, we start to see the importance of how we treat ourselves, just as equally how we treat others. But how can we start to take care?
The purpose of Foundational Breast Care is to offer another platform, to remind us that there is more to us than just the bits we can see and judge in a mirror.
Deep down in every woman underneath all our activity there is an inherent stillness of immeasurable depth, our essential femaleness. Once we re-connect to and develop a relationship with this quality as a living daily reality, our sense of ourselves changes. Gradually we feel more self-confident, more self-accepting and consequently less self-critical and self-bashing.
From this relationship with our self emerges a love of our bodies where once there may have been dissatisfaction and of course this contributes to a sense of greater well-being. We are more open to taking note of what our body is saying – the nurturing quality of our breasts, how they are feeling and what that is indicating for example and then taking steps to address what may be at issue.
In a nutshell this is why it is important to care for our breasts as they are an intrinsic part of what it is to be a woman and can be a marker of where we are at if we pay attention. Learning to accept them as they are and even to love them, feeling their tenderness and sensitivity can impact profoundly on how a woman treats herself. If she starts to feel very appreciative of herself and the quality within her body, this could bring positive consequences for her emotional and physical health.
Learning to accept our breasts as they are and even to love them, feeling their tenderness and sensitivity can impact profoundly on how a woman treats herself with positive consequences for her emotional and physical health.
BREAST CARE / FURTHER READING