The Body Image Crisis

Let’s face it. We all have concerns with the way we look. Things that we wish we could change. Whether that be your weight, your height, the amount of muscles you have, or even a specific part of your body that could be tweaked ever so slightly. We are all chasing an idea of perfection. Because somehow, achieving that perfect body will allow us to excel in our lives or give us the confidence that we know we have.

 

The Truth About Confidence

Confidence actually is just another by-product of happiness. Sounds too simple, right? The more that we work towards our happier selves, the more risks you are willing to take, the more your self-esteem rises, thereby boosting your confidence. All it takes is for you to finally invest some time and energy into yourself. No, it’s not selfish. No, you aren’t a horrible person for allocating some “you” time. People who care about you are more understanding than that. Just give them a chance.

Also, and this is pretty important, sometimes your confidence can rise simply by faking it. How? Act like you have that perfect body, or that perfect life. Nothing can bring you down today. You have that million dollars and you aren’t worrying about anything because everything is perfect.

It’s hard work. It truly is. Some days you may not even have the energy to keep it up but it is so worth it for one simple reason: you end up believing it.

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A great way to reinforce this is to talk to yourself, preferably in front of a mirror. Tell yourself everything that you need to hear. Listen to positive songs in the morning even if you don’t always want to. And more importantly, tell yourself “I feel great today”.

Your mind has a funny way of turning these simple affirmations into truths.

 

Media and Societal Pressures

We are surrounded by models, actors, and artists that look a certain way. As if somehow achieving this look would magically grant us success. At least now there is more inclusion of different races and body types being portrayed.

Understand that this is just another business. These people work so hard to look a certain way and maintain themselves. So don’t worry that you don’t look like that. Be proud of you. You are a constantly evolving, beautiful creature that does not deserve to worry about that.

If there are things that you wish to change (especially your weight), work towards it and celebrate every little victory and every little milestone that you reach. Do not work towards a change to achieve a certain look. Do it for what benefits it will provide you (for instance, your health, the increased energy, the ability to do more with your friends or your family).

People react based on the information that the media provides them. What is true today, may not be true tomorrow. What one person hates, another person loves. It all falls back down to you. You are you. You cannot change the colour of your skin, your background, or your race. So why bother?

The human race is built on uniqueness of each and every person. No one thinks 100% like you, acts like you, knows what you know. Cherish it.

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So, stop telling yourself that you’re too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, or just not good enough because guess what? You are. We all have a place in this chaotic little world.

Go out into the world and show them the power of you!

Accepting our Uniqueness

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I too am hoping that I will ease up on these quotes

No one is the same. Every single person you see has a story about who they are, where they come from, and what made them do the things they do. It’s quite fascinating to witness what decisions someone else comes up with given the same situations. It’s all based on what lessons that person has learned along the way.

In a similar way, depression is not the same for everyone. Each person feels differently, understands things differently, and thus each person has to vanquish their demons uniquely. Sure, the symptoms can be the same – the lack of focus, the fatigue, the lack of motivation. Our bodies also experience similar things – the reduced serotonin or the low norepinephrine (for instance). However, each person goes through it differently. For some the cause is one specific trauma. For others, it’s a series of complications.

So, this is just a friendly reminder that just because one person does something, it doesn’t mean that same thing is right for you. You are you. No one else can be you. No one else can live through what you have lived through. Your bravery and perseverance has led you to stand here today. It was a hard road to get to today but you are here nonetheless. Take a moment and appreciate all of the hard work that you have put to pick yourself up. Not everyone can do this. Seriously.

 

The Problems with Wanting Another’s Life

Truth moment. We have all seen (or heard) about someone’s life and wondered “why don’t I have that?”. You see or hear about their accomplishments – especially through social media. It gets worse if they are younger than you. That 23 year-old with a nice apartment and a fancy car?? How did that happen???

First, it’s okay to feel jealous. We are human after all. However, we cannot let it consume us. Let the thought pop in your head and then let it go. Why? Because it’s never easy. Perhaps that 23 year-old has worked night and day, studying hard, and getting that amazing GPA. They probably invested in tutors to help. Perhaps the same person has had years of understanding about investments through a parent or relative. They just know because that’s what they grew up hearing about.

These are all external things. On the inside, perhaps they are unhappy. They were forced to give up something they truly love to follow something else. Point being, no one has an easy life.

Now, think about it for a moment. Do you really want that life? I’m not talking about wanting the material possessions because I’m sure everyone will say “hell yes!”. I’m talking about what they go through every day. The stress, the bad neighbors, the controlling boss, the lack of free time.

For example, I know that I can’t be a model. Do I want to? No! Sometimes, it makes me wonder why I can’t look like them. Yet, their lives are incredibly difficult. The pressures that exist in the industry to look a certain way, to be a certain way, is tough. It requires someone who can withstand all of that.

Sure, it’s good to learn from others. Get diet advice, investment advice, or whatever else that person can impart on to you, but don’t try to emulate their life. It’s a recipe for disaster.

 

Happiness is Subjective

Here’s the thing. What one person likes, another person hates. Just look at any YouTube video. No matter how amazing something is, you will always find at least one person who hates it.

It’s good to try new things, but if you hate it, you hate it. There’s not much that you or I could do about that. Be selfish in this case and say “nope, not for me!”. But do try.

If you like to do something, don’t worry about how good you are at it. Everyone has to start somewhere. No one starts something as a masterful genius. Just do it for you and the joy it brings you. Who knows, maybe through one of your tries you find something that you really like to do! As Mr. Rogers says:

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Accept that you like something, don’t deny it. This is a part of you and it yearns to be expressed. So, if someone says you are a nerd, then accept it! You are a nerd! It’s liberating. It no longer becomes an insult. Words are only as powerful as you allow them to be.

 

Accepting your Limits

Let’s face it. There are things that we can’t do no matter how hard we try. For example, someone can be bad at math while someone else can be a human calculator. Now the person who is bad at math has to work harder to get through the various everyday problems we encounter (like calculating how much to tip at a restaurant). It is what it is. You can’t change that unless you work really hard and practice every day.

If we hate something, why would we waste our time? Therefore, maybe the person who is bad at math shouldn’t become a Mathematician. It is an overly simplified explanation, granted, but the core point is true. If you can’t do something, you can’t. No one but you is going to make a fuss. The rest of us will laugh it up.

Don’t worry about all the little things you have yet to master. If you want to learn how to do it, you will learn. If not, then we have apps and people to take care of it for us.

This is not the same as giving up. There are so many things to worry about so why worry about something you can’t do? I doubt Albert Einstein could have won a gold medal in an Olympic event. Yet, he is a genius. The point is, focus on what you like to do and what makes you eager to learn. Don’t define yourself by what you lack. You are much, much more than that.

 

Okay, I believe that I have droned on for long enough now. I wish you all the strength to accept yourself fully. For those of us Canadians out there, Happy Thanksgiving! Keep your head held high, no matter what circumstance you find yourselves in.

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