I turned 31 yesterday. 31. Ew. I still see myself as 25. Spoiler Alert for anyone not yet 31: Things will be changin' in your bod...most of which you will not like. I actually started crying to my husband (who thought I was upset about my bday gift from him-poor dude). I was crying because I realized I had spent roughly the past 20 years comparing myself in some way or another and NEVER measuring up physically. I hadn't remembered a time in my life where I had been completely happy with my weight, my hair, my complexion, etc. I was being a total hypocrite: my message to all my clients in my workshops is to embrace your differences and to never compare yourself to others yet I spent two decades comparing myself to the numbers on the scale (is it going to be a good day or bad day based on what that little bugger says?), comparing myself to others' profile pics on Facebook or all the fabulous things about their family/marriage/kids/lives, and more recently comparing my aging body to those of celebrities who are clearly using fillers/Botox/plastic surgery to maintain their "youthful" appearance. I've, quite frankly, had enough.
Out of all the women I love and admire most in my life-none of them are paid supermodels. Surprisingly Giselle & Cindy Crawford didn't even make my top 10 most influential and admired women. I think the women I most admire and look up to are beautiful not for how expensive their clothing is, their recent Botox injections or what size pants they are......I think they are beautiful for WHO they are: the challenges they have endured with a positive attitude, how they care for others, and how they are loving moms and friends, etc. Don't get me wrong-all of these women are beautiful on the outside too-but as we know if the insides don't match with the outsides it definitely takes away from their exterior glamour. Now that I knew I wanted to stop comparing myself to others (and my younger more youthful self) I needed an action plan.....which is another reason why I'm blogging it: To hold me accountable and to get it written down. So here goes my action plan for the next year of my life to break free from the vicious comparison cycle all of us women bravely face every day of our lives:
1. It ain't a beauty pageant. There will always be someone prettier/skinnier/more glamorous without makeup/younger than you. You are just setting yourself up for failure if you compare. Instead focus on what You are grateful for: a healthy/able body, the relationships you maintain, how you serve others through cooking, crafting, church activities, your hilarious personality, whatever YOU bring to the world!
|Left: She looks like she could be a mom at my son's Preschool|
Right: With a ton of makeup-she is beauty pageant ready....but what's really important?
2. Get some perspective, lady. Facebook (or fakebook as I've heard some people call it) is where we all post the BEST of ourselves. Then others take that information and judge the WORST of themselves against it. We need to understand that we can't just pick and choose the BEST parts we want of peoples' lives and disregard the health/relationship/financial troubles these people are also facing. If I were to compare myself to anyone on FB or in the celeb world (let's be real we have all done it at one time or another), I honestly wouldn't want to trade places for a second with them just to fit into a size 0 yoga pant or to have my face look 20 yrs younger (BTW that would make me 11 years old....kind of a funny picture in my head). The older I get the more I realize EVERYONE has junk. I have yet to meet anyone who has it all together in every single area of their life or all the time. Instead for the next year I'm choosing to APPRECIATE the things that make others beautiful-but not compare myself to them. I read it's akin to appreciating vs. comparing yourself to a beautiful garden in the spring time. Would anyone of us be jealous of the garden's beauty or try to look like the garden? No! That would be just plain stupid! All the plastic surgery in the world can't make you look like a darn garden! But we don't realize that comparing ourselves to others or even younger versions of ourselves is just a dumb.
3. Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale-I'm going to focus on the numbers of push-ups I can do/how many miles I can run/ or how many reps I can do in Pilates . For the next year, I'm ditching the numbers on the scale (which is a crazy thought since I currently weigh myself daily) and I'm going to focus on how I "feel" with respect to food and exercise...not how many carbs I have left to eat per day or the ten pounds I am chronically trying to lose.
4. Lastly, I'm going to dress for ME. I am in the line of work where I work with women to look and feel their best and I've never been one to dress for compliments but instead of focusing on what others' think ("is this good enough?") I'm going to focus on how I feel about it. I have a secret indulgence of watching the REAL HOUSEWIVES series on Bravo (except Atlanta-too much yelling). Anyway in a recent installment there was this lady named Gina from Melbourne who many said dressed like a tranny. What she wore was never my cup of tea but one day she said something profound: I dress for me, what I like and how I feel in these clothes/makeup....not for others. From that point on I loved her look-not because I think neon yellow is a great color for anyone-but because she was only doing it for her!
|Gina from Real Housewives of Melbourne|
So next year at this time-when I'm turning 32-I hope to look back and say this was one of the best gifts to give myself. A year where I chose to fight comparisons-not continue to fight myself :)