During my summer vacation in Slovakia I went to see my favourite hairdresser. I was looking forward to having my hair done. Sitting in the chair, chatting away, my eyes soon got caught on the TV screen there; with “Fashion TV” streaming fashion parades. Those skinny ladies with well endowed chests cat walking away; looking “perfect,” with no cellulite, no flab around their waists, and no wrinkles. I was thinking; well, it is very likely they are still in their teens, unmarried, and do not have three kids like I do. Or could they be aliens (they surely looked like that) sent to Earth to put our self-love to test? I could never look like any of these girls. I would never look like that. No, you CANNOT look like them. Not possible. Stop these ridiculous thoughts.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Instead of enjoying my hair being done, a sneaky little feeling of inadequacy was creeping up on me. I felt bad for not looking my best. I was thinking, maybe if I worked out more, ate less, ate more raw food, drank more water, or stopped drinking alcohol,… I would be able to get closer to that “perfect” body on TV!
After a while soaking myself in self-pity my mind switched; “what do I need a perfect body like the one I saw on TV for?” I am not seeking fashion TV’s catwalk, nor am I after a role in a Hollywood movie. And certainly, I am not one of those famous characters who get to be followed by paparazzis everywhere; trying to catch a “bad angle” picture that is going to make front page news! So, why do we have such a strong desire to look like people from a cover magazine? Well, is it maybe because we believe that we can be happy only when we have the body we desire. Because maybe we believe that our body sends messages to the world about our potential, our intelligence, our sense of humour and our character. Maybe because we believe that the size of our bellies and “back sides” tells the world about who we are as valued, esteemed, and respected human beings. Sounds crazy, right? Well it is.
Theodore Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
When we start comparing ourselves to others – and regardless of what aspects of our life or physical feature we are comparing – we are stepping into a mine field. When we compare, we are bound to damage our self esteem, and put ourselves down at some stage. We would also be putting ourselves at odds with God’s grand plan to make us all different; with different paths and different callings that, when put together, define this wonderful thing called “life”.
Comparing my body with someone else’s is a futile effort. It never brings anything positive to me or to the world; for it either puts me down or makes me feel superior.
Here’s how I fight these sneaky little thoughts that tell me I am not good enough because I do not look like a supermodel. You should try it too (and let me know):
- Avoid media. Decide that life is too short and precious to waste it on certain magazines and TV programs,
- Remind yourself that you cannot know what is happening in anybody’s mind. The “beauty icon” Angelina Jolie has her own worries and insecurities and her, having “perfect” body, does not make it any easier for her,
- Practice gratefulness. Be grateful for what you have. Of course, have goals, try to achieve more, but at the same time be grateful and you will attract what you desire. (5 minutes of grateful thoughts before you sleep is a good way to make it a habit.)
- Remember that very few people actually care about how you look like. Spend time with people who care about who you are as a person, and less time with those who do not,
- Introduce pleasure into your life. Write a pleasure inventory, a list of things, people, places and activities that you enjoy (include your everyday pleasures as well as extraordinary ones). And do one of them every day.