We live in a society that values 'thin', 'beauty', 'lean', 'pretty', 'sexy', and 'fashionable'.
There are social media posts that preach about being yourself and embracing who you are and loving your body as it is and yet the next dozen posts feature provocatively-posed women in skimpy clothes complete with tens of thousands of 'likes' and millions of followers.
These are the Instagram profiles that I, personally, make the choice to unfollow. It's already a challenge to grow my own confidence and love for my body without seeing posts that make me questions whether I am good enough as I am.
These posts fuel the belief that I need to see a certain number on the scale in order to be successful... in order to be beautiful... in order to be worthy of love and desire. They fuel the belief that I need to rock my skinny jeans without a muffin top in order to be sexy. They fuel the belief that the mirror must reflect a perfect image back to me in order to feel confident and to love myself.
And so I ask you, can you contemplate a measure of success that could be, in fact, a PRECURSOR to the success measured by scale, skinny jeans, and your own reflection in the mirror?
I believe that there will always be a feeling of success associated with a change in physical body composition. I'm not so sure there is a way to escape that. And also, that's ok.
But, I AM suggesting that if you are able to nurture a mindset of self-compassion, of self-confidence exclusive of physical attributes, of resilience, and of courage, not only are you diversifying your measures of success, you might actually be increasing your chances of success when it comes to scale, skinny jeans, and what you see the mirror.
In the book called 'The Happiness Advantage', Sean Achor talks about the difference between seeking success in order to achieve happiness vs. being happy in order to achieve success. He explores case studies that demonstrate the benefits of the latter. Case study after case study shows that hugely successful people in history prioritized habits and behaviours that nurture joy, connection, productivity, and creativity, creating an environment of happiness which lead to success in other areas of their lives.
The same concept applies to our example. If you pursue physical change out of love for your body, out of confidence in the process, out of empowerment and joy, you will be in a more positive mindset to be resilient in the face of setbacks, you will be more likely to show self-compassion, and more driven to focus on success through the process rather than on the outcomes.
There is tremendous power in that.