Walking down the bustling, sun drenched sidewalks of Oxford street in the summer is somewhat resemblance of a front row seat at Fashion week- a colorful array of trend-setters strutting their stuff with their Prada laden eyes fixed straight ahead with that oh-so-fierce catwalk stare. Of course there are the multitudes of the ‘other people’ who scurry quickly being pulled by the crowd, their styles as eccentric as they are diverse- yet my eyes always seemed to spot the supermodel amidst them. Now I’m pretty sure every single one of you has at some point looked at someone and thought sigh ‘if only I had their legs/hair/sparkling Hollywood smile- I’d be so much happier’. Comparison for me has become an automatic response to the world- observing those around me in envy or glee as I try to assess how I ‘measure up’. Now there seems to only be two outcomes to this game- you either become a self-obsessed, vain bitch, or a self-depreciating, pessimistic, Eeyore-like figure, lurking in the shadows of doubt and resentment. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really fancy either of these. However, when considering the options, a thought struck me, a word that was found in both characters, and perhaps the escape from this torment. The self.
Now this term is thrown around the esoteric and mythical topics of society that are becoming increasingly mainstream- yoga, meditation and mindfulness; among others, have bought these once foreign ideas to our doorstep, yet many are still unsure of what ‘the self’ is. Honestly? I have no idea either. Sorry about that. What I do believe however, is that we all have our own unique was of connecting with whatever this may be to each of us. For me, a daily practice of meditation (twice a day for 15-20 minutes each time) and time in nature unplugged (read: no iPhone, no music, no one else) have allowed me to finally find a place of peace in my heart where I truly feel whole and fulfilled. Result? End of the comparison game. Let’s be honest- there will always be some one better off and someone worse off, feeling down in the dumps about this or developing a complex will achieve nothing. Except becoming entirely dependent on outside validation for your own happiness.
My advice- learn to love you. Get in front of that mirror every morning and night and just say ‘DAMN I love you!’. Preferably not the mirrors in public restrooms as this may lead to some slightly odd stares. Meditate, walk in nature, just be with you and become best friends with yourself. In the end- the only person who will actually be with you every step of the way is you. So you’d better get on. Learn to love yourself for the real you, not just the superficial- the truest, deepest parts of your soul.
Will it always work? Nah, probably not, but aim for as close as you can get. Now I’m not saying stop working out, stop eating healthy and just eat junk food everyday because ‘it’s only what’s on the inside that counts’- having goals, staying healthy and respecting your body is vital. After all, you wouldn’t’ poison someone you love (I hope), so why would you poison yourself?
Sure, I still sometime check out the leggy blond on the tube with a twinge of envy, but overall I’ve learnt now to appreciate beauty in everyone I see- without judgement or comparison- and it turns out the world becomes a much more beautiful place when you stop judging it.
So start your new lifelong romance with you Self- I wish you both a lifetime of happiness.