How to Stop Comparing and Love Your Body
Have you ever found yourself looking through a magazine and agonizing over the fact that you will never look like a certain celebrity? What about looking at someone’s Facebook page and wishing you could be more like them, or at least get into their impressive yoga pose? I know I have.
It took me years to understand that comparing myself to others contributed to some major unhappiness. When you constantly compare yourself to others, you are almost always left with a feeling of inadequacy. In our Western culture, we are surrounded by reality TV and social media, which puts a huge pressure on us to be “perfect”.
One summer afternoon, at the age of six, while playing Barbies with my sister, I overheard our nanny telling her friend how perfectly proportioned Barbie’s body was. For the first time in my life, I gave the doll a second look. She does have perfectly long, slender legs and a super tiny waist, I thought to myself. I then went on with my afternoon of playing dolls, just as innocently as any six year old would do, and did not really give it a second thought.
Living Life as Your Authentic Self
FROM BARBIE TO BEYONCÉ
The next day, while running through the sprinklers, I felt my thighs touch. I suddenly felt a sense of disgust overtake me. My body was not perfect. I was flawed. Little did I know that this belief, I had developed about my body, would stick with me for years to come.
Throughout my grammar school years, I loved to look at the magazines in the grocery store check-out isles as my mom paid for the groceries. I distinctly remember noticing that none of the beautiful celebrities’ thighs even came close to touching. They had tiny waistlines and the most glamorous clothes. I loved studying their bodies, their clothes, hair and makeup. When I compared myself to them, in my mind, I was far from measuring up.
When I reached high school, a curvaceous new celebrity rolled onto the cover of the magazines that I so religiously studied. Her name was Beyoncé. She had radiant skin and hair and was practically worshiped on magazine covers for her curves. Rather than feel like it was finally okay to have curves, I instead felt a sense of confusion. The media was telling me it was okay to have curves, yet everywhere I looked they still showed only stick thin celebrities and models.
As a result of this confusion, I began to break away from what the world was telling me to look like. Today I accept that there is no such thing as “perfect”. What is “perfect” anyways? Is Barbie’s body perfect, is Beyoncé’s or is yours? When we feel good about ourselves and stop comparing ourselves to others, leading a healthy, happy life becomes much easier!
Heart Openers for Self-Love
Meditation for Confidence
How Does an HSP Cope With All the Suffering in the World?
If you’re not familiar with the term HSP, please see the definition for “Highly Sensitive Person” from Dr. Elaine Aron.
With no simple answer, I’m afraid. I’ve pondered my own answer to this question for several years. The following Meditation of Hope and Love came to me during one of my own meditations a few years ago. I use it often…and lately, that means almost daily!
A Meditation of Hope and Love
Find a meditation time – at least 30 minutes, or longer, if possible. You know the criteria – quiet, uninterrupted time and space, preferably your own special place that may have candles or a special feeling of comfort and security for you.
Sit or lie down in a very comfortable position. (I prefer lying, with something light and soft to cover me.)
- Begin slow, deep breathing, focusing on blowing all your breath out – as if blowing out a candle.
- Breathe in deeply, through your nose, to a count of 8 or 10. Hold for a count of four.
- Breathe out, again as if blowing out a candle, to a count of ten.
You want to create a very deep cleansing breath. Notice: You might begin yawning, or drifting off to sleep. Go with whatever feels best for you. There is no ‘doing it wrong’ here. Just keep practicing until eventually you can complete the whole meditation. Now here comes the harder, yet important part.
Begin to allow your mind to go ahead and focus on all the things you have been concerned or worrying about. Like many of you, I have been close to tears each day as I hear about all the suffering in the world.
Lovingly ask each individual concern to patiently wait in line — assuring them they will all have a chance to be heard. In your relaxed state, begin to see each entity forming a line, waiting patiently. As they come up to be heard, assign them a name like Robin Williams, Gaza/Palenstine conflict, Nigerian girls or maybe for you it might be lost job, finances, or whatever else evolves as an appropriate and loving way to remember and honor your concerns.
As an HSP, these kinds of images tend to burrow deep into my inner world and I can begin to feel burdened, lethargic, and sometimes hopeless. Cognitively, I know there is really nothing I can (concretely) do about these tragedies, yet my yearnings for a better world keep my mind occupied.
Now comes the next step in your meditation.