Up until recently, I was an avid follower of Instagram-famous folk such as Iskra Lawrence, a woman with large hips and a flat tummy whose body-positive movement has gained her millions of followers. She posts pictures of herself working out at the gym or wearing a bra and panties while eating a slice of pizza to encourage her followers not to restrict their diets and to promote a balanced lifestyle.
But here’s the thing: I exercise and eat pizza just like she does, but I do not look like her. While I was drawn to her because of her curves and I felt I could relate, my stomach has never been flat and may never be flat. But I would scroll through her Insta feed in an attempt to mimic her lifestyle and would only find myself discouraged and disappointed.
The truth is, Iskra is a model first and foremost. She lives by parameters that are just not attainable for me. Her body holds weight differently than mine, which is something that was determined at birth. No matter how much I will myself to look like her, I never will. Everything she eats, does and lives by is different from my own lifestyle, so why would I believe I could ever look like her? I even see my friends and peers moving up in the world and getting healthier and I compare my own live to theirs and then feel saddened by the fact that I am not where they are.
What I try to remember is that we are born to be different. Every human’s thoughts and ideas- every human’s life– is different. This is what has caused our society to grow and progress over time. Imagine if we celebrated the differences in our bodies like we do our ideologies. Each of us has experienced different things and has struggled through various situations to get to where we are. Our lifestyles are all vastly different and so our bodies should all be equally as different.
Nobody wins when we compare ourselves to others; it only distracts us from our own journey. No amount of progress that we make in our own lives will ever be enough if we continue to compare our individual journeys to those of our peers. It is so important to discover what the parameters are for your life and to live by those. Turning to others for inspiration may seem like a positive motivator but in many cases it only veers us away from our own path.
Focus on what you can do to better yourself instead of what you can do to be more like this person or that person. Doing so allows you to recognize your own successes and that makes your life so much sweeter.