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June 17, 2013 at 11:43 AMComments: 1 Faves: 0

The Ideal You

By Anne Christen More Blogs by This Author

The Beginning

The phenomenon I’m about to explain to you started when I was 19 (isn’t it funny how the memories of certain events stay with you throughout your life?). That was the year I entered the workforce full-time. As with most people in their late teens, I thought I knew a great deal about the world and how it worked. With my less-than-sophisticated thinking came the belief that women who work need to have a certain look. So I cut off all of my hair and exchanged long, high-schoolish locks for a short and fresh style. I hated it. So much so that I cried every day for nearly a week.

It just so happened that, at this time, my body began to change. I went from a size 8 to a size 10, as my body continued its natural maturation. I hadn’t altered my eating habits, and I still exercised regularly. I wanted to remain the same as I’d been in high school, but my body had other ideas. And I’ll never forget the feeling of my gray dress pants, which I wore incessantly in high school and absolutely loved, cutting into the fleshy part of my stomach. For the first time in my life, I had waistband marks in my skin. I felt like a whale.

Putting It Off

Therein began the thought process that to this day goes something like this: I’ll feel better in a few months or so, after my hair has grown out and I’ve lost this weight. Then I’ll be happy and look my best once again.

Worried

For the last 15 years, I've been waiting for a tomorrow that that brings the level of self perfection I’ve strived for throughout most of my life, but it never comes. Since I was 19, I’ve continued to gain weight (what would that young woman who panicked at moving to a size 10 have done if she’d known she would be a size 16 at the age of 34?), have had countless bad haircuts (most of which are memorialized in photos), and still don’t have the budget I’d like to devote to a gorgeous wardrobe.

In other words, I’m not perfect. I never have been, and I’ve accepted I never will be, but I still find myself silently saying things like, “Life will get better when I’m thin again.”

A real danger exists in thinking like this, because life will pass by you in merely a flash. Fantasizing about the future doesn’t bring results, but instead keeps you from enjoying where you are right now. The real lesson, however, is that life doesn’t pause while you’re in the midst of an unfavorable event or even while you’re overweight. The world keeps turning, and you’re expected to move with it.

Become the Ideal You

What I’m about to say isn’t rocket science, but I have to say it anyway: waiting for the “ideal” you to arrive is a waste of time. Everybody here has just a brief moment to witness the wonder and beauty of this world. Spending that time trying to change yourself (not to be confused with improving yourself) will not only make you miserable, but also diminish the quality of your life. So accept you as you are, even if you do have future goals you’re trying to reach, and keep your head in the present, not the past.

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1 Comment

  • I constantly obsess over weight, and body image as well. I obsess over hair too. It's nauseating, and you are right -- it is wasting your life away and letting time slip, when you should focus on the here and now. Life is better now. You are good now. Not later.

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