I wish that I could help people realize how much more there is to life than looking a certain way. I’m writing this piece with hesitant fingers because I know what’s to follow. I know that a lot of people I don’t know (and, sadly, even more people I do) will read this in disgust as they pause to take an over-filtered ab selfie to upload to all forms of social media with fingers crossed that it’ll break triple digits for “likes.” I know a lot of people will argue that living an extremely restricted lifestyle takes dedication I’ll never understand, will power that I could only hope for, and reaps benefits that nothing else could ever compare to. I know that they will roll their eyes and justify their decisions, hoping someday I’ll see the light as I beg them to look inside at all of the light that they already possess.
I also know that I used to be one of those people.
I’ve spent a lot of time caring about what I look like. I’ve spent hours staring at myself in the mirror, pinching and poking and telling myself I’m not enough. I’ve almost wrecked my car logging calories on my DailyBurn App while chomping on a protein bar because if I don’t log my food as I’m consuming it I might forget to do it, resulting in surpassing my macros at the end of the day and the whole world might end. I’ve chosen gym dates over coffee dates with friends who really needed me, stayed home from going out because I didn’t want the temptation of drinking or the awkward stares received as I ate Tupperware sweet potatoes from my oversized purse and sometimes I stayed home because I didn’t like my reflection in the mirror and I worried that no one else would like her either. I’ve spent a lot of time sucked deep beneath the black hole vortex battle of self-acceptance and self-rejection and it wasn’t until I realized that there’s actually no difference between the two that I began to see the light.
The difference between self-acceptance and self-rejection is simply a matter of perspective. We have the ability to make a conscious choice whether we are going to accept or reject something, and the main problem our generation is facing today is that we rely solely on one sense to determine our choice—sight. We allow a physical shell that all of our deepest characteristics, worth, accomplishments, failures, defeats, and so many other facets are contained within to determine our overall perception of ourselves as a whole. We allow a reflection in the mirror to dictate the mood we bring forth at the start of each day, and, in turn, we begin setting all of our goals and intentions around altering that reflection in order to “feel better” about ourselves.
It’s so interesting that we try to alter something we SEE in order to assist with how we FEEL. Sight and feeling are two completely different senses, and attempting to transform our outer appearance in hopes that it will somehow transform our inner being is the quickest way to set ourselves up for disaster (trust me, I’ve been there.).
I’m not saying it isn’t important to stay active, eat healthy, or strive for balance, I’m just saying I wish more people would realize there’s much more to life than attempting to perfect the shell in which we’re contained. Superficiality simply isn’t sustainable. Striving for 6-pack abs and a thigh gap might get you 6-pack abs and a thigh gap, but then what? You reach a physical goal and all you have left to do is set another physical goal, your work is never done and you’ll realize very quickly that even your best won’t ever be good enough. If you set a goal reaping any sort of benefit outside of the superficial realm, the results are insurmountable and only continue to give back as you progress toward reaching more goals enriching your life with sustainable accomplishments. Widen the lens in which you view not only yourself, but the world as a whole and you’ll soon realize that some of the greatest accomplishments and transformations cannot be seen from the outside, but must be felt from the inside.