Why do we continue to tie our self-worth to our weight?
It’s true. We all know it. Thin, more attractive people tend to have more available to them than those of us who are considered average or overweight . It doesn’t take more than a few seconds on the internet to find studies showing that thinner, more attractive people get hired sooner, get promoted more quickly, and even get paid more than their heavier, less attractive co-workers. Unfortunately, the data doesn’t lie. This is how our society works. And it’s the reason why in the US there is an entire weight loss industry with an estimated worth of more than $20 billion dollars.
But here is the question I’d like to ask. Do we need to tie our self-worth to our weight? Is it really necessary? Do we really believe that because we weigh more, we are worth less?
I spent most of my teenage years preoccupied that I was too fat, and because I wasn’t as thin as I thought I should be that I was somehow unworthy. No matter what event I attended, I was constantly preoccupied with how I looked and how I was being judged by others. I spent so much time worrying about what other people were thinking, I robbed myself of the joy I could have had because I wasn’t able to be present in the moment. It’s tragic that I missed so much of my life living this way. Day after day I looked in the mirror and wished that my body would change so that I could love myself more and be happier.
Breaking the Cycle
It wasn’t until my forties before I learned that I have no business tying my self-worth to my weight. I had accomplished so much and had created a wonderful life surrounded by people who loved me. I finally stopped focusing on what was missing and started focusing on what was present. I made myself a list of accomplishments starting with my career and my schooling, my hobbies and activities, and finally moved on to detailing my most positive qualities. I started to look within for my opinions of who I am rather than looking to society for affirmation.
After so many years, I was finally liberated from the self judgement prison I created for myself. I have lots of very positive qualities. I am highly empathetic and compassionate of others and tend to fight for the underdog. I am competitive and loyal and available to my friends when they need me. I am present. I listen intently to others and I love to learn from their stories. I am the best that I can be right now, in each moment.
Focus on What You Have
I finally stopped focusing on what was missing from my life and started focusing on what I had in my life. I encourage you to do the same. I am worthy and you are worthy too. Begin by writing your list of accomplishments, take inventory of what you have and who you have become. Be impressed with how far you’ve come. When pesky feelings of worthlessness start to creep up on you; stop them with your thoughts. Remind yourself that you are unique and special. After all, you are a one of a kind and you are worthy of happiness.