Giving Up The Losing Battle
Updated: May 13, 2020
As a society, we place too much emphasis on appearances. What we look like. What we wear. What we do. Who we spend our time with. We invest countless resources in upholding or creating an image of ourselves that we deem acceptable - by our own standards and culturally shaped ones.
Growing up, I was always insecure. I had no sense of self or identity, and I looked to these external qualities to define my understanding of myself. I was worthy if I looked a certain way, dressed a certain way, hung out with certain people, ate certain things, and did certain activities. I would judge myself for not meeting the expectations I had for myself, and would be drawn to people also searching for this source of identity like I was. Defining my sense of self in this way was not on fleeting and impermanent, but it constantly left me feeling insecure and unworthy.
As a society, we place our sense of self worth on our appearances. We believe that if we look a certain way, then we are not only worthy of happiness, but are truly happy. We believe that if we spend time with certain people, we are worthy of love, and are truly loved. Placing so much emphasis on our appearances only sets us up for failure. It is a losing battle. Our bodies change with age, and to spend our lives fighting that is a wasted effort.
I read a quote the other day that really stuck with me - it talked about our goal in life is not to mold and shape ourselves into a seemingly perfect version of ourselves, but to truly live our lives to its full potential. You don't need to waste time, effort, and resources pretending to be or chasing happiness. That is available to you, for free, whenever you want it.
Of course this is still something I'm fighting for everyday, and it's very easy to be drawn by the allure of diet culture and the happiness it promises. I see people around me hating themselves, pretending to be happy, wanting to change themselves, wanting to lose weight in order to gain worth, and it's hard not to be affected by that. It's hard not to want to strive for that sense of worth as well, but I am learning that gaining that temporary illusion of worth that comes with looking a certain way only requires me to lose out on so much that life has to offer.
I am fighting to derive a sense of confidence from who I am and what I do, not from what I look like. I am fighting to cultivate self confidence, that stems from countless actions of self love. I am learning how to take care of myself in a way that I never practiced in my life prior to this.
The more I fight to define my sense of self and self worth by these sustainable and authentic means, the more I am able to truly experience the freedom that comes with appreciating life. I feel joy and happiness on a much deeper level than ever before, and I feel love and connection so much stronger than I have ever experienced.
Life is so much more colorful, free, and happy when you choose to give up the battle of upholding an appearance-based existence. Life is so much more beautiful when you give up the losing battle. Life is so much more incredible when you choose to embrace all that you are in this very moment.