Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If only ...

Let's hope it isn't true that just over a third of New Zealand women are unhappy with how they look, with a whopping 56% believing they would be happier if they lost weight. That's one helluva a lot of unhappy people. And if this is a true picture of the state of mind of the nation's women, we're in big trouble. All that misery and low self-esteem swirling around families, friends and workplaces?

But why wouldn't it be an accurate image? Because it's the results of a magazine survey. The issue of New Zealand Good Health detailing the survey and, I hope, its methodology, won't be out until September. But in the meantime I'm betting its respondents were almost certainly self-selected, and from a pool of readers already concerned in some way with their wellbeing. Almost certainly, more unhappy than happy women will have invested the time and energy in detailing what they believe to be the causes of their unhappiness. Which gives me grounds for hoping the figures aren't quite as dreadful as they seem.

But while the figures themselves might be skewed, the elements of female unhappiness probably aren't. Respondents also claimed that their happiness was eroded by that old faithful - guilt. Guilt about not exercising enough (64%), about eating too much (46%), about not achieving as highly as they should (37%), about letting people down (34%), about not having enough time with friends and family (27% equal).

All horribly recognisable. All such a waste. And all, I suspect, originating in the deeprooted belief that we don't deserve to be happy.

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