Spam Filter for Your Brain Episode 12
It's easy for everyone to say, "Oh, you shouldn't compare yourself to other people". It's something you've both been irritated by and also found yourself saying at some point. And it's a lovely theory "We shouldn't compare ourselves to other people", but we're hardwired to do so. We look to our surroundings, and we look to the people around us to try and assess whether we are safe or not. It has kept us alive for hundreds of thousands of years. But unfortunately, this evolutionary brain-wiring system is not designed for things like Instagram or the unfair, ridiculous measurements that are women's dress sizes and other randomly uniform measurements by which women measure themselves and equate are worth in these modern times and societies. Comparison is a joy-thief.
So how do you stop comparing yourself to other people? That I don't have a specific answer to, apart from it gets easier with practice and the more confident that you are with yourself, the less you need to be sizing yourself up against somebody else, whether it is in their behaviour and their aesthetics, in their body type, in their manner, in their achievements, in their career.
And one of the things I found helpful when I was doing this work in regards to my body image, which is something that, as someone who's lived a life in a fat body, I have constantly struggled with in a world that tells fat people that their bodies are problems to be solved, I needed something to stop me from measuring myself against these monolithic beauty standards that we are told are the only way to become successful, attractive, safe, and lovable.
All of these messages are repeatedly hammered home to us. And the one question that changed it all for me was, "Who's making money from me feeling like this?" It's such a powerful question because it suddenly made me realise that by politicising this, I could take complete charge of the reins that I didn't want to play into this system and that by criticising myself, I was actively playing into the system.
It finally was the thing that enabled me to align the way that I spoke to myself with my politics. Everybody should be able to feel safe and loved and gorgeous and glorious in the body that they are in. And that includes all the people with all of the bodies. I just wasn't applying that to myself.
And this one particular question, "Who's making money? Who is profiting from me speaking to myself in this abjectly cruel manner?" enabled me to go, I don't want to put my self-criticism and self-hatred into someone else's pocket for financial reward. I don't want to reward someone else for my poor behaviour, which enabled me to finally close the door on the way I had spent my life up until that point. It finally meant that I was able to step forward and realise that this is the body that I have. And if it's the longest relationship I will have in my entire life, I want this to be imbued with kindness and compassion. And I will treat this body with as much care and kindness as I can muster in this lifetime. Then, there might be some repayment as we age together. In terms of, I don't know, my knees or, you know, general aches and pains. It is an absolute honour and a privilege to get older. And it will be an honour and a privilege to be in the later seasons of my life when so many people don't get there.
And what I don't want to do is to be fighting an ageing process because I haven't made peace with my body up until that point. What I want to be doing is to be able to constantly improve the relationship I have with this house that tells my story, which travels with me wherever I go and tries to protect me at every juncture, even when I'm not willing to try to protect myself and carries me around in the world and enables me to do all of the magical things from talking to you on this podcast to jumping in puddles to having my breath change the sight of a gorgeous sunset... All of these things happen because of my body, not in spite of it. I can appreciate things like that now I have freed myself from thinking it should look a different way, be a different size, or be present in another form. It is worth taking up the amount of space it does.
I hope this question helps you try to step more into the power that we all welcome. We are all worthy of being seen, and we're all worth the space that we take up.
I hope that's been helpful for you this week, and I look forward to hearing, well, speaking to you soon.
Have a gorgeous week.