by Amy, Eating Disorders Peer Support Worker
Have you ever focused excessively on some feature of your appearance? Have you ever been too busy comparing yourself with others at a party rather than enjoying your time there? If you spend too much time comparing yourself with friends or worrying and fussing over your looks, you can be sure that no one else is looking at you as closely as you do.
Imagine going to a party where you could trade physical features with other friends (like a science fiction version of a Tupperware party!). In a game of musical body parts, you could trade hair or skin colour, straight for curly hair, or being ‘too tall’ for being ‘too short’. You may be surprised that someone envies the nose or thighs that you don't like!
Comparing is a difficult habit to break because it’s natural to observe others when they come into our environment. What is most important is tackling those automatic negative thoughts you have about yourself when you go out. First, know that you are part of a beautiful vast and diverse world that is yours to appreciate. Notice how each and every one has a unique face and figure. And isn’t it possible that while you are wishing you could look like that person, there’s a person over here who is wishing they could look like you? Also, keep in mind that although someone may appear, on the surface, to be quite ‘beautiful’ and to have it all together, you can’t assume that the person whose body you admire is any happier or more successful than you. On that note, we have to stop comparing ourselves to the people in the media. None of us look like Kim Kardashian, except for maybe Kim Kardashian – and even she probably doesn’t look like the polished, photoshopped images the media depicts of her!
I think when it comes to our own appearance, we lose all objectivity. We tend to overestimate how much others really notice when they see us. This is particularly true with the people who really care about you. The features you dislike in yourself are those that your family and friends love the most! In fact, I’m going to bet they love the whole package!
Now picture yourself at 80. What will you look like then? How will your body feel? What would your 80-year-old self want you to feel at this moment in time? I’m sure it would want you to enjoy your strength, energy, and flexibility! Similar to the expression, “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone,” it’s so true! Now is the time for you to make the most of who you are in the body you have! While you are busy comparing yourself to everyone else or fussing over your looks, life is happening.
We are all human and imperfect, but we can still be beautiful in our imperfections. Love yourself just as you are, others certainly do.