This is part 1 of my ongoing segment of short videos where I give you tips on how to improve your self-esteem and your body image.
So my first tip at improving your self esteem and body image is:
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Now that’s all well and good in theory but let’s be real here, the slogan ‘just be yourself’ isn’t so tempting when you consider that society is constantly telling you to change and saying that you can achieve any change you want if you pay enough money, work hard enough, or starve for it.
We are placing all of our value and self-worth on our appearances and of course you can change your appearance be it through fashion, cosmetics, exercise, dieting, and plastic surgery, and beyond, but some changes come with a higher price than others.
The truth is that some people are just blessed with privileged bodies, as in they are blessed with the body that society deems acceptable, which generally falls under the description of skinny, or lean, and they find it relatively easy or even no struggle at all to maintain.
In many cases it’s not even that they are dieting or taking some wonder berries from the dark amazon rainforest. No, it’s just they’ve won the genetic lottery and got really, really lucky, the bastards.
The cold hard facts here are that it’s not fair, but life seldom is fair, and if you spend your time comparing yourself to others then you will never realise your potential and remain in a victim mentality believing that life owes you something or that your happiness lies in an external source.
Make no mistake that you are being told you are inadequate on a daily routine through means such as advertising which show us the most attractive people and we determine our success and social acceptance by how well we conform to the collective.
There is nothing wrong with you wanting to fit. It is a natural human survival mechanism to not be ostracised from the pack but you must understand that we are a diverse race, and we come in all different shapes and sizes.
NOBODY IS PERFECT
I can recall many times where I compared myself to others and felt incredibly ugly and unworthy of love because of my perception of what beauty and attractiveness were and I felt I didn’t live up to those measures. On one particular occasion I remember going to the cinema to watch a movie with Brad Pitt.
Brad Pitt to my mind is the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. He’s a little older now but at the time he was young, and in his prime and there he was, his face towering in front of me on the screen and seemingly perfect.
Well anyway, I was busting for the toilet in the middle of the film and had to make a bathroom break and while I’m washing my hands as quickly as possible so I can rush back into the movie, I look up and of course there’s a mirror there, only now after having spent so long looking at Brad, instead of seeing just my own face, I now have this superimposed imaged of his perfectly sculpted face on top of mine in the mirror and that’s where the comparisons began.
I felt ugly. All in an instant I went from feeling confident in my appearance to feeling less than adequate. It was insane but my salvation lay in a girl who I was into at the time who said something to me that shattered my limiting reality of what beauty is.
You see his Brad Pitt’s name was referenced when we were together and her immediate reply was a scrunching up of the face and saying something along the lines of “I don’t really find him attractive at all. He’s not my type.”
My tiny mind was blown. I had thought beauty was a set entity and that there was a linear scale and Brad was at the top but what I realised all in an instant and what I know now is that beauty is subjective and yes, even Brad Pitt doesn’t win them all!
BEAUTY IS A TREASURE TROVE
You see perceived beauty is a treasure trove. Let me make a little story for you. Imagine yourself in a great big vault of treasure. Now that treasure represents characteristics. These characteristics include, but are not just limited exclusively, to things like looks and personality.
You are in the vault with everyone else. The vault is huge and riches lay, like the cave of Aladdin, in every direction, as far as the eye can see.
Treasures from a distance shine and sparkle from certain angles. They catch your attention but from other angles they dim. It depends where you are standing.
Everyone has treasures. Some treasures you can pick up freely, some are impossible to reach, but most of them you inherit as your birth right.
Even though the vault is full of treasures, only some of them are treasures you actually like and want to pursue. There are diamonds in high and hard to reach places. Some people already have them around their necks. It can be frustrating to see people who have what you want with such ease but if you spend your time reaching for those unreachable diamonds, you will miss the sapphires and gems that adorn your body and lay at your feet.
In this treasure vault you also see all the people of the world wearing the treasures that they’ve inherited. You can never take someone else’s treasure but some people have treasures that you adore meaning we find lovers, friends, family, who we think are very beautiful.
A curious thing can happen to people however in the vault. Your lover for example can look down at their treasures and feel immeasurable sadness.
You will ask “why?”
And they will say “because I am poor.”
And you will look at them, their body sparkling in the deepest, richest, ruby red. Sparkling so much that your eyes hurt and you will think they are joking. You will think that they are crazy. That they are obviously blind and then you will say to them “but can’t you see that you are rich with rubies all over? Can’t you see that you are beautiful?”
And they reply, “no, I’m poor. I hate rubies. Look at those people over there. They have gold. Why can’t I have more gold?
You will be in disbelief but through your love you convince them that their rubies were exactly how you managed to spot them amongst the crowds of people scrambling desperately over themselves for what is really an unlimited treasure all around them. You found them because rubies are your favourite. You are sad that they can’t see it for themselves. That maybe they’ve never seen it and you hope that if you part ways one day that they will be able to trust the beauty you saw in them with your eyes.
So then anyway, afterwards, you walk off and your partner asks you where you are going and you reply “well, I like your treasures but I wan't to change my own. I’m off to go and get one of those diamonds!”
YOU COMPARE BECAUSE YOU ARE MARGINALISED
So I know I said you shouldn’t compare yourself with others but it is not always a bad thing.
You see, if an ugly duckling compares itself to ducks then it will miss out on the fact that it is a swan in waiting.
We need more swans in our society. More of every shape, size, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, and more. We desperately need role models. Not necessarily so you compare yourself to them because inevitably the people we see through the media, regardless of whether they are a marginalised group or not, are still often model standard of beauty, but we need them none the less so you know that you’re not alone.
Where are the heroes for everyone, not just skinny, blonde white kids?
Comparing ourselves to our ancestors and our ethnicities can be another great sense of relief and connection as we identify who our people are, the tribes we’ve come from, and the lives that have informed our own. We are direct extensions of our ancestors and the more we can learn of them and their lives and their struggles and hopes and dreams, the more we can humble ourselves and recognise the journey they made for us to be here with this life and connect to gratitude.
So that’s a wrap from me but I’d like to finish with a very famous quote by Oscar Wilde. He said…
“BE YOURSELF; EVERYONE ELSE IS ALREADY TAKEN”
Thank you for taking the time to watch this piece. I hope it’s been of help. If you have any questions then please write to me in the comment section below and if I can’t answer it I’ll connect you with someone or another resource that can. If you enjoy my stuff then please subscribe, hit like, and you can check out even more content on my website.