I read a story once, I wish I could remember where, about a couple from the US who had been living in a very rural part of Africa when their two children were born. When the kids were around 8 and 10 years old they brought them to the states for a visit. Upon arriving at the airport in the US, the kids discovered an automatic door. As the little boy stepped forward and back, opening the door over and over, the little girl stated matter of factly, “Well, it’s obviously magic.”
That made perfect sense to her, despite the fact that it seems like nonsense to the rest of us. It’s not because she is not smart, but because that is the only conclusion that she can come to based on her current body of knowledge. One can expect that with education she will understand that something she previous thought was impossible is actually easily explained. When given the information the young girl will have a choice: She can accept the new information into her body of knowledge or she can refuse to believe it and go on believing that the door is magic. Her belief doesn’t change the truth, and she is the only one responsible for what she chooses to believe.
I think that’s how it often is with the Health at Every Size concept – people aren’t able to wrap their heads around it because there is simply nothing in their frame of reference that makes it seem possible that health and weight are two separate things. But once they have access to the information they can either add it to their body of knowledge or they can go on believing that weight and health are the same thing. Their belief doesn’t make it any more true. And we can’t be responsible for what other people believe.
I think it’s incredibly important to spread the word about Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size. Every time we post something on Facebook or Twitter, or bring up our Size Acceptance/HAES practice, we are giving people an opportunity to question their stereotypes and add to their knowledge base. We ARE NOT responsible for what they do or do not choose to do with this opportunity, we can only provide the opportunity.
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