Awhile back I saw Cameron Diaz being interviewed on Oprah. Gorgeous, glowing and ever so sweet and vibrant, she sat chatting about everything from movies to body image. Oprah asked her something along the lines of if she struggled with her body image at all? Did she ever even have a bad day?
“Of course I have bad days,” Cameron responded without even hesitating. “I have days where I look in the mirror I and don’t like what I see.”
This was an aha moment for me because it really opened up my eyes that I could have someone else’s body or physical qualities that I deemed “perfect” but still be unhappy or have bad days.
I completely acknowledge the value of wanting to feel confident in our skin and healthy in our own bodies but beyond looking a certain way, at its most basic element it is a choice. It is something we can make before reaching where we want to be whether that is improving our bodies or improving our jobs.
It takes a radical shift in our psychology and the way we think about ourselves.
Seeking out a certain look to just to feel validated or accepted really digs into our own insecurities and inadequacies of not being good enough. We think we we just just be leaner or just look a certain way we will be have all the joy, happiness, and good things in life we need.
In reality it is trap when we caught up in the “if, then” psychological mess of thinking that, “if” we looked a different way, “then” we would be happier. It is a comparison trap really.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
You have heard this before I am sure but have you ever thought about a day when you feel like you are rocking it and then you see someone else rocking it too and suddenly your achievements and “goodness” don’t quite measure up?
Remember the woman with the perfect body, she has struggles too. The effortlessly matched fashionista, may not view life as effortless. The successful business person may not enjoy the work like they are portraying. The parent who seems to have everything together, may just be trying to hold it all together.
We all feel inadequate in our own ways. And while we are all so different, this is an area where we are the same. The challenge is to not let our self proclaimed inadequacy rob our happiness and self love. We must realize that how our bodies are shaped, how our clothes look and whether our dinners look like they do on Pinterest do not define our value or worth. (I know you have had that Pinterest thought before).
You are not only successful when you get to where you want to be but you have little successes along the way that should be celebrated each and everyday. It is possible to have ambition and feel blessed with the life you have at the same time.
Learning to embrace the journey is what life really is all about. Once one goal is met, another is usually created because we are not usually most happy not when we achieve something, but when we are engaged in the process itself.
How do I shift my thoughts?
I want to give you simple question to ask yourself when you are struggling. It could be with body image or anything else in life, from relationships to your parenting or career.
In the book, Loving What Is by Byron Katie and she points out a valuable question that I have started to ask myself during moments of comparison, when I am having trouble in a relationship, or feeling stressed.
What is one stress-free reason to believe that thought?
What is one stress free reason to believe someone is more attractive, more successful or “better” than you? What is one stress free reason to compare? You may find a stress free reason and if you do, that’s fine. If you cannot find one, release your feelings, release your thoughts.
Because at that point it is only your perception holding you back, keeping your from happiness and joy. It is only your thoughts controlling you. The beauty is, you can change those thoughts as difficult as it may be sometimes, you have the power. Seriously? Yes seriously, and this is very exciting because it is all on you. But instead of being burdened with this personal responsibility, get excited. It is all on you, to change your thoughts, to change your way of living if it does not serve you currently!
Focus less on what others are doing and more on what you are doing. Honor your own journey and all you have to offer to yourself, to your relationships and to the world around you. And remember that someone else’s success, beauty, and achievement does not diminish your own.