For whatever reason, over the last few weeks there have been a number of items that have looked at how to deal with our own self and self-image in a world where we seem judged against unattainable standards. This topic goes way back to this post, as well as something from Laura, and a great post by Amy.
What occurs to me is that while we work hard on our running, training, nutrition, cross-training, and so on, we are leaving out something. As Megan says “Remember that even your worst day is better than someone else’s best day” – meaning that rather than wallowing in our struggles, to focus on our gifts. I would take it further – I would say that we need to focus on ourselves, and rather than seeing our own flaws we need to focus on what makes us great and special – we are enough; we deserved to be treated with respect. And that is my thought today – once again I repeat ‘you are enough’, and owning that you ARE enough!
1. Accepting Who You Are
You know the song ‘Valley Girl’ by Frank Zappa? There is a line where she says “Well, I’m not like really ugly or anything. It’s just like … I don’t know!”? Yeah, we are pretty much all like that – very few of us possess an exceptional beauty. And worse still, all most of us only see the worst of ourselves.
The reality is that most of us have imperfections – voice, hair, face, body, brain, internal organs, mannerisms, or whatever – that make us unique but that perhaps we’d like to eliminate.
The key is to realize that these imperfections don’t define who we are, they are just physical manifestations. We are all so much more than any one thing – especially any one physical thing. We deserve love, respect and good treatment.
2. Sometimes It Isn’t About You
This is a bit of a weird one, but have you ever felt lonely in a crowded room? Alone in a group of colleagues or acquaintances? It can be a real esteem-breaker … but maybe it has nothing to do with you.
I have known for many years that I possess a strong ability to remember everyone I meet – if I forget a name, I won’t forget the person. Early on I assumed other people didn’t remember me because I was fat and they didn’t care. Only when I saw it happening all around me did it occur to me that for many people, meeting and remembering others is a challenge.
Yet, it was always a struggle for me to just let it go. If I met someone once, I held no assumptions of them remembering me and was fine re-introducing myself. But by the fourth time, or after a couple of actual conversations, it DOES start to bother me. For a long time I would let it chip away at me, making me feel bad – but several years ago I had a conversation about this with a couple of people, one who couldn’t ever remember names, and the other who couldn’t remember faces – and they both awkwardly did re-introductions and the one who never remembered faces admitted asking ‘have we met’ to people who they’d had dinner with before!
Again, it is very easy to just assume that it is something negative about us – but WHY would or should we do that? Certainly sometimes we are one of many people being introduced and memory expectations should be lower, but when it is a one-to-one introduction in a small setting, each party is equally responsible to remember the other.
3. You Are Fine Just How You Are!
This brings me back to the article I mentioned last month:
The constant struggle to lose weight makes it worse, too. When I physically push myself—really, really hard—make it to the gym two hours a day and five to seven days a week, count literally every calorie, I tend to be able to lose about 10-15 pounds. I’m not happier, of course, because every waking moment is spent calculating and scrutinizing and weighing.
When I do get down that 10 or 15 pounds, I may like the way I look better but the stress to maintain it exhausts me. Then my life happens to me and I “fall off the gym wagon” and I end up right back at the weight I’m at now. The number that’s on my scale now is (give or take five pounds) the number I’ve been at for almost all of my adult life (not including the tail end of my pregnancies), so why can’t I just be okay with it?
It is amazing the things we allow ourselves to use as ‘pass/fail’ metrics for life: friends, car, house/neighborhood, job, title, weight, spouse/significant other, pant size, random physical attribute of choice and so on. Why? What do we gain by limiting ourselves this way? We should be seeking happiness rather than finding reasons for unhappiness.
Remember: You Are Enough
Ultimately we ARE the person in the mirror. We are all of the awesome parts we can’t see, the great things we love about ourselves, flaws we wish we could change, and all the rest of it.
Sometimes we want to make changes on things we can control – change hairstyle, lose weight, catching up on reading classics, improve fitness, learn to play an instrument or whatever – and that is great. But the critical thing is to always ensure that we are doing things for the right reasons: because it is something YOU want to do for yourself.
You should never do things for others. Because you already ARE good enough.