A few years ago, I had a fabulous pink bikini that fit well and felt great. Yesterday, I put that same bathing suit on, and I noticed that my skin bulged around the elastic. I felt lumpy and bumpy and became quite critical of myself as I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror.
Here’s an interesting point— I don’t remember the last time I passed judgment on my naked body. I only began judging my body yesterday afternoon when it was clothed in a swimsuit. Without the constraints of clothing, there was no pinching or squeezing or reason to doubt myself. It was only when I shifted the framework and added the constraint of clothing that my thoughts became negative.
This got me thinking—How freeing it would be to just enjoy the stripped down version of EVERYTHING in life—without a framework for comparison.
Think about it: You feel good about your accomplishments…until you shift your framework and begin comparing those accomplishments to someone else’s. You feel great about your morning run…until you realize that it took you four minutes longer to run the same route that you ran last week. You feel great about your body until you try to squeeze it into skinny jeans. If only we could always just enjoy life as it hits us, in its raw, naked form, without judgment, WE WOULD BE FREE!
Here are some tips to free yourself:
-Life is too short for ill-fitting clothes that make you feel like crap. Have you gained a few pounds? Fine. It happens, and you’ll deal with it, but there’s no reason to walk around feeling self-conscious. You should feel confident because you are worthy. Buy a few items that fit well and make you feel like the rock star that you are.
-Try going for a run, going for a bike ride, or doing whatever it is that you like to do as part of your fitness regimen, and do it without timing yourself. Jog until you don’t feel like it anymore. Slow down if you want to. Speed up if that feels good. Lift some weights without counting reps. Elevate your heart rate for as long as it feels invigorating, and then stop. Of course you should challenge yourself and set goals, but once in a while, strip it down to the basics: Enjoy moving your body just because you can.
-“Keep your eyes on your own paper.” Did every elementary school teacher say that before a test? At the end of the day, when you glance at someone else’s work, you just end up cheating yourself. Stop comparing. Your life experience is yours and no one else’s. Don’t take the joy and pride out of your accomplishments because the guy next to you seems to have done more.
-Practice yoga in solitude. This idea is an extension of the “keep-your-eyes-on-your-own-paper” theme. The energy of a yoga class is amazing, and you shouldn’t give it up, but too often, we are distracted by the abilities of those around us. We begin to judge our own yoga skills and wonder if we are strong enough or flexible enough to keep up. By practicing alone, you will learn to keep your eyes on your own mat and build a practice that you love, without negative judgement.