Look at this moment with all you've got, and don't look back.
Updated: Jan 31
The other day as I looked at my eyebrows in the bright light on my vanity, I started picking myself apart. They looked way too messy, and even when I filled them in they still looked bad. And it dawned on me, there was a time I didn't mind my eyebrows- a time I left the house without having to fill them in and set them with some eyebrow gel.
And then I noticed this feeling again when I was looking at senior prom pictures. As I looked through them, I remembered thinking how I was so much skinnier back then. And instead of being happy to see these memories, I got sad knowing that I will probably never look the same.
But we need to stop looking at the past with rose-colored glasses. Thinking about how I hate my eyebrows or how I wish I looked as skinny as I did senior prom is a waste of time. Doing so pretty much means I'm glorifying the past for no reason at all. And in doing that, I paint the present to be even worse than it is. We have to accept we will never look the same and feel the same about ourselves every minute of every day.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles feeling confident sometimes either- we've all been there. But it is all about our perception- and that's a given. And that perception gets distorted when we start to think about how we once were skinnier. How we once had thinner eyebrows.
So how do we know we're even losing weight or if we're just feeling skinnier? Of course you can weigh yourself, but that's not the point. To feel skinny is different than being skinny. To feel beautiful is different than being beautiful. This idea that it really is all about our mind and our perception became so clear to me this past week.
So this past week I tried something new- I went to the gym three days in a row. Yes, three days in a row. And because I knew I was going to the gym more, it's almost as if I was starting to feel skinnier. But obviously, there's no way I could get abs in 3 days or lose 10 pounds after a few hours on the elliptical. It's just not possible.
But my perception of myself was changing just after three days of going to the gym. I thought- I'm healthy; I'm skinny, hey maybe I will wear that shirt that shows a little more skin because I feel confident enough. But a week before I'm sure if I put it on I would have looked at myself in the mirror and changed.
I always want what I can't have, and I sometimes want to be someone I'm not or at least a different version of who I am now. Of course, we should want to change or be better people, and that's what the present is for. But don't look at the past or the future too much. The future is a compilation of what our present selves do today. The future lets us dream, but the present lets us do.
Our perception of ourselves now, in this moment, is everything. It drives dreams, actions, experiences, relationships. And the only way you can deal with feeling inadequate is stopping that mindset.
We won't be who we were yesterday- that's a given. But we also aren't our future selves yet.
For instance, I sometimes get caught up in the fact that I'm not exactly who I imagined I'd be. I'm not walking the streets of New York City, a successful working woman with her own company, or book published, or whatever dream I'm striving for today. And that is okay because I'm in college now anyway. But what I mean by this, is sometimes I put too much pressure on myself. Sometimes I can get lost in what I don't look like anymore, or what I should be doing that I'm not.
And yes we can always be more, and do more. And it's great to want more. We shouldn't miss the past too much though, because in doing so we are missing the present moment. And we shouldn't wish for the future so much either. I need to accept that maybe I haven't become the ideal image of myself yet. But that is always changing. And don't stress if you aren't exactly where you thought you'd be.
No one's perfect- no one is an 'ideal' self. We are imperfect, real humans. And when you constantly strive for something you won't be, or something you just can't look like, you'll never be happy with your real self. You should be proud of who you are now, instead of wanting to see a different version of yourself.
So stop wishing you were back at senior prom or back in middle school when you didn't even look at your eyebrows.
You gotta look at this moment with all you've got.
And don't look back.