Selfies Won't Make You Skinny
Selfies are a weird concept in my generation. It's completely natural to glance over in a coffee shop or during a class and see someone making an awkward duck-face into their tiny iPhone camera. I get it - you are either sending a funny text to a friend or trying to post a picture of your good hair day on insta with a clever caption. We've all been there, girlfriend. However, the most fascinating part of any selfie is the fact that it doesn't often capture the natural beauty or personality of the person in the picture. These images are contrived, engineered, and specific. We've seen something that we want to replicate, and we believe that the perfect angle will get us there. But, selfies don't change your appearance. Selfies won't make you skinny, pretty, happy, or different. They alter your digital scrapbook, sure, but you are still the same person, regardless of the filter. Just with any photo editing, we are trying to recreate our lives to be the ideal that we want to achieve. The problem is not the enhancement, in my opinion, it's the standard of comparison by which you judge.
One of my friends once told me that I had, what she considered to be, the ideal body for a girl. I remember feeling flattered and extremely shocked at the same time because I have rarely felt comfortable in my own skin. It's extremely difficult to grow up as a performer and not have body image issues to some degree, and the fitness industry is no different. For people who didn't grow up in this kind of world, I am aware of the notion that a bunch of skinny girls standing around judging their bodies sounds ludicrous, but it is a reality, nonetheless.
I realized in that moment that much of your life, and too often your happiness, is measured by your standard of comparison. In business, we call it benchmarking. Look at a company who has achieved the goals you want to achieve, and benchmark your success by their timeline. If someone else has the physique you are after, follow their routine, and you too will achieve your "perfect body". If your best friend met their spouse in college, make sure you find yours within 4 years, too. Catch my drift? A lot of these comparisons and standards that we set on a regular basis are flawed from the onset, but that doesn't stop us from trying to replicate the same behavior.
There is a difference between a goal and an idol: too often we say, "I want to be that" when we really mean, "I want to have that."
When we admire something, our natural reaction is to want to embody it's every quality. The problem is that we rarely take the time to discover why we love, why we are jealous, why we compare. If you see a business that is booming and you own a struggling startup, you may make the mistake of trying to model your business after the successful one, regardless of the fact that you cater to a different market. No two successes are alike because no two people are alike. If you are 5 feet tall and naturally muscular, no amount of exercise can make you grow twelve inches and re-proportion all of your curves. We make idols of things that worked for someone else because we don't know what we want for our own lives.
If you idolize a famous couple's relationship, it isn't because you actually want to marry that celebrity (I hope); it's because you crave a healthy, happy, committed partnership. If your standard of comparison is someone else's body, it's because you probably don't think you will be satisfied with your physical appearance until you have a similar shape. The root of the problem is deeper; you are idolizing someone else's truth rather than setting your own realistic goal.
Idols are statues: they are immovable, unchangeable, and unfeeling. Idols are like selfies - they are a posed picture. A second in time, but never the whole story. You will never be able to melt down someone else's reality and mold it into your own truth. A goal is elastic: it can stretch and change and evolve to fit your current needs and lifestyle. A goal is like a movie: it has a background, a struggle, and a long road to success.
Stop trying to replicate someone else and focus on creating with what you have been given.