Friday, August 9, 2013

Is She Skinnier Than Me?

Is She Skinnier Than Me?

A few days ago I was at a park and there were a bunch of middle-school girls selling lemonade and cookies at a stand.  I got in line for lemonade and couldn’t help but overhear what the girls were talking about.  One girl who was wearing all black was saying that some other girl named Kiley (who wasn’t there) had lost weight at gymnastics camp over the summer.  Goth girl said, “Is she skinnier than me?”
This began a whole debate about who was skinnier than whom.  They compared the sizes of their jeans, the space between the thighs (the thigh gap) and complained about not being able to see their hipbones.

Then one of them said, “Well, Kiley may be skinny but she still needs a nose job.”
It occurred to me that the smallest part of these girls was their self-confidence, which seemed to be solely based on their weight and appearance in comparison to other girls. 

Sound familiar?  Do you compare yourself to others and constantly feel as if you fall short? 

Or do you feel superior when you make comparisons?   Recently someone confided at how superior she felt when she saw another women eating dinner at a restaurant.  She scoffed, “I thought she was so weak.  I felt so strong in comparison.”

This woman thought her ability to deprive herself and use willpower to not “give in” to the need to eat made her strong.  This is a pyrrhic victory, one that causes suffering in the long run.

To stop comparing yourself to others, it’s important to challenge the ideas about yourself that negatively impact your self esteem.  When you feel good about yourself, you’re less likely to turn to (or from) food for comfort or distraction, or to prove anything about yourself.

What does "skinny" mean to you?  How does it make you better?

Where did you get the idea that you’re not good enough as you are?

What do you think needs to change?  Weight?  Marital status?  Employment status? 

What makes you think that depriving yourself reflects strength of character?

Think of someone you compare yourself to unfavorably?  What do you imagine would change if you had her (or his) looks, weight, life? 

What aspects of yourself – physical, intellectual, mental, emotional – do you feel good about?

What makes you happy?

Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."   When you stop comparing yourself to others and start accepting yourself, then you can let joy into your life.  And when you are more joyful and feel good about yourself, you're less likely to use food for comfort or distraction!

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Theveka said...

Hi! I also think its important to define the reasons why we want something, such as a certain body type. A lot of the time we don't even know. It's just an assumption that we want smaller, smaller, smaller. I agree with you on comparison. I've been working on a blog and just wrote some thoughts about comparison :)

Dr. Nina said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Whatever is going on with food, weight, body image, and all of that is usually a "symptom" of an underlying problem (conflict, emotion, etc.) and it is not "the" problem (even though people think it is). Losing weight just changes the number on the scale; it doesn't change your life. I'll definitely check out your blog!