"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." - Henry David Thoreau
Monday, September 12, 2016
I'm big on quotes - always have been always will be. As long as I can remember, starting in middle school at least, I have collected words of wisdom to draw on during any manner of situation happy, sad, excited, depressed. You name it, I've researched a quote (or 100) for it! I find something soothing in connecting with the words of others (and I write down my own from time to time too, which are always fun to find years later and think "Dang, I was pretty well-spoken about that!"
I recently found the aforementioned quote somewhere - maybe on Pinterest - and I liked it so much I added it to my latest list of favorite quotes. It spoke to me because it reinforced the need for me to stop and consider things more often, to think about what I'm DOING and not just what I'm doing. Does that make sense? I'm so good, very good at being a go-go-go person and for the most part this is a great thing because it's my natural instinct. It's where I feel at ease. I love to be busy and I love to be engaged in the world. I know that there are days when I overdo it, overcommit, overindulge (food, being social, working out, shopping, etc.). For the most part I see it as a blessing because for me life is about wringing out every drop - what's the point in being alive if you don't LIVE? Anyway, that's a thought for a different blog (probably one I wrote years ago, ha!).
The point of this quote for me is to pause and be mindful of what I'm seeing when I look at myself now. It's so very easy to get caught up in looking at the physical imperfections that drive me nuts. I get so upset and impatient with the "issues" I see on my body - things like those extra love handles that gross me out, the flabby arms and thighs, the icky bulges under my shirts when I see a photo in a tight top. It's irritating because when I look in a mirror I rarely see these things. It confuses me to no end - how does it show up in a photo and not in the mirror? Nonetheless, I'm LOOKING at the physical qualities that I want to change. It's okay to want to change them - it's partly vanity and partly health. I'm a big proponent of owning both reasons because they are both real. I'm not going to kid myself and say I don't care what I look like as long as I'm healthy. That's dumb. People can be extremely unhealthy but look like a million bucks. And vice versa. But for me, having both means confidence, comfort, and a general sense of feeling solid and capable. I just FEEL better when I I like how I look and fit in my clothes. I don't think that's a bad thing.
But, at the same time, I need to be better at seeing beyond the appearance. I know that under the flab is a buttload of muscles - maybe I'm not as toned as I was a few years ago but I can still lift heavy things, run hard, workout hard, and achieve things physically. I'm also very strong emotionally and mentally - physical strength being unrelated in those situations. I see the confidence I've built and the ability I've gained to walk into a cold-call interview with someone I've never met with a few moments' notice and pull off a professional Q&A. I can whip up an intelligent, thorough, and well-written article in hours (or less if needed). I can make arrangements for multiple photo shoots, edit articles, meet with chefs, and connect with 10+ publicists in a single day without having a panic attack - and still meet deadlines (while holding down a regular full time job too). My weight doesn't reflect these skills, skills that have developed at the same time as the love handles. They don't show up in the mirror but they do show up in my eyes - when I let them. It's something I've tried to work on but it's not always easy. I also see a lot of failure because this weight issue has been dragging on me for the past 2-3 years (ironically around the time all the freelance work I dreamed of getting really started to pick up). This is a note-to-self to be more careful when looking at myself through judgmental eyes. I will always have things I want to change about how my body looks or feels, but I will also always have the ability - if I harness it - to make those changes reality.
So much is in the eye of the beholder. Be mindful of what you are looking at...it's not always what is there.