I was watching a commercial the other day with Ricky Gervais. He was sitting in the car with his niece and she was reading to him all the terrible critiques that people have said about him. I am not here to be the judge about whether or not Ricky Gervais is or isn’t a great actor. My concern is why we have to critique people so frequently and say such harsh words about one another. It has obviously become easier to do so with the anonymity of the internet.
This post isn’t about actors- the commercial just got me thinking about how we think as a society. When we think about healthy bodies, we are quick to critique or quick to compare. I am including myself in this type of thinking—I‘ll be the first to admit that I fall into this trap time and time again. I see a fit male or female, and think about how great it would be to have their toned body or fit abs.
On the other hand, I think about the times when I am quick to critique someone’s body when they are overweight, or they have blemishes on their face or their hair is a mess. Who am I to be their judge? We get so caught up in comparing and criticizing others that we neglect to actually see their beauty. The best part about being human is the reality of life that we all face together. Lately, I have come to really love to hear about people’s fetishes, their quirky habits, their weird physical defects…the best part is knowing that I am not alone with my flaws. We are all battling something that we don’t like about ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that everyone needs to point it out or be harsh.
One of my favorite quotes, which I tend to say to myself all the time, states, “Comparison is the death of contentment.” Think about that for a minute. The times that you start comparing you to others brings doubt, confusion, sadness, or even pride. In my experience, nothing good has ever come from comparing me to my sisters, to my friends, to models, or to complete strangers; yet, sadly I still do it.
I work so hard at being healthy, and I have come a long way. However, it’s easy to forget my hard work. I go to the gym and see a woman with an immaculate body and the green monster of envy taints my workout. I get discouraged and start thinking the “why” questions…why doesn’t my body look like that? Why does she have tones arms and I don’t? Why am I even at the gym? Why, why, why?
When we start to compare ourselves with others, we neglect the good things in our lives. I take for granted the fact that my body is working and healthy. I might not have arms that are completely toned, but I have arms that allow me to hug others, to do pushups, to write this blog post, to make dinner, etc. Have you ever stopped to think about what it would be like to live without arms? Check out Bethany Hamilton’s story if you need some help with perspective.
Comparison will always be an inner conflict of mine that I take on daily. Some days are easier than others. When I complete my goals and strive to improve myself, then I can usually overcome the negative thoughts. One more quote to end with: “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” Remember your unique beauty. Live it up and cherish it. Let’s be wise in seeing the good in ourselves and appreciating what we have. Don’t let yourself or others destroy your happiness through critiquing or comparing… let gratitude turn what you have into enough.