Hey hey!! Welcome back to the Foxhole and happy happy Monday!! (Technically, it’s Sunday…I’m being proactive about this week’s post because I have to study for an exam all day tomorrow…so fun!!) Today, I went to Crossroads, and the major lesson of the talk was noticing the way that consumerism robs you of true happiness. We were challenged to pay attention to what we pay attention to, and to identify how the three C’s of consumerism impact our lives…Comparison, Comfort, and Control. By the end of the hour, I was like, “Oh shit, these literally all dictate my life every single day.”
The message that stuck with me the most was, “Comparison is a thief, comfort is an illusion, and control is a liar.”
They say that where you spend your money is where your heart lies. If you look at my bank account, EVERYTHING I spend my money on has to do with comfort – junk food when I’m sad, healthy food when I’m feeling good, self-help books because I freaking love those, leggings because real pants are overrated, Ubers so I don’t have to walk Uptown when it’s cold. I go out of the way to make sure that I’m always comfortable, which I think has a lot to do with still trying to be comfortable in my body, but also because I am always in physical pain with my back. I am constantly twisting and fidgeting trying to crack something in my back to find relief, even if it’s just for a moment. Because I’m never comfortable physically, I spend my money on things to make me feel comforted mentally and emotionally.
I may spend all of my money on things that make me feel more comfortable, but the “C” I struggle with the most is definitely Comparison. When the sermon opened with the challenge to, “Pay attention to what you pay attention to,” I instantly thought about all of the ways in which I compare myself to others. It’s a constant battle I have with myself, and it’s a war I’ve been waging since I was old enough to notice the differences between me and my peers. Maybe it’s another Ghost Child.
The things I pay attention to…hmmm….
- The way I look every single time I leave my room. I’m not necessarily always dressed up (okay, I’m always in athletic clothes) but I will NOT leave my room without putting on mascara because God forbid someone sees me without it.
- How many likes my latest Instagram post gets. I don’t know why it bothers me so much that my friends get double the likes that I do. I wish it didn’t bug me as much as it does, but if my posts don’t break 300 likes, I’ll like them from my own account and from my finsta accounts just to boost the number a little bit…embarrassing.
- Other girls, particularly when I’m at the gym. I have been trying to get myself to the Rec a few times a week and it’s been a struggle. Instead of giving myself a pat on the back for taking time out of my day to take care of myself, I get jealous of the girls who are running on the treadmill without breaking a sweat, mostly because I got sweaty just walking to the Rec.
- Other girls when I go out. I get so envious of girls who make talking to boys and socializing seem so effortless. When I feel insecure and out of place, I turn into an awkward bump on a log and bury my face in my phone to distract myself. I just end up scrolling through Instagram comparing myself to the same girls I’m jealous of as they’re posting pictures of how much fun they’re having. It’s such a vicious cycle.
- Other girls in general. I’m sensing a trend here.
“Comparison is a thief,” the sermon says. All of the times I compare myself to others, I am robbing myself of happiness, of contentment, of peace. The things I compare about myself are so superficial too. I get so caught up in my outward appearance because think everyone’s lasting opinion about me is going to based on my looks. It’s really twisted – I know I’m beautiful. Everyone is. No one is more beautiful than anyone else. This is something I know but often forget.
I’ve talked a lot about my struggles with body confidence on the blog. It’s so easy to compare myself to my sisters and friends and family because I’m built so much different than them. Some days are better days than others – I can feel like a total knockout one day and then feel like an ogre the next. I felt so triumphant after writing Becoming Captain of My Vessel…I had confronted an issue that had been so difficult for me to face and was able to make peace with it. Two days later I had a doctor’s appointment with my hormone doctor. (A little background – I get blood drawn routinely to monitor my hormone levels to try and manage anything that could be causing inflammation and pain in my back.) My mom is also a patient of the same doctor. If you don’t know my mom, she’s absolutely beautiful inside and out. She’s 45 but when we go out in public together, people think we’re the same age. She has a killer bod, and she works hard for it.
My doctor started my appointment by saying, “You know you’re never going to look like your mom, right?”
Are. You. Freaking. Kidding. Me.
Talk about one step forward, ten steps back, tripping over your own feet, and falling on your ass. I tried to brush it off but I was choking back tears. And then, the comparisons started all over again.
Comparison, comfort, and control are very interesting because they are all so intertwined. They feed off of each other. I compare myself to others and then seek comfort because I feel like by comforting myself I can have a little more control over my situation. Comparison, comfort, control, repeat.
Another quote that really stood out to me during the talk was, “Fat is just insulation – it’s a physical indicator of you trying to soothe yourself.” I’ve never thought it of that way, but it’s so so so true. I compare, lose control, and seek comfort…and then my comfort foods stick to my hips. Vicious, vicious, vicious cycle.
Usually, I end my blog posts with lessons that I’ve learned. Right now, I feel like I’m not qualified to give any lessons because I’m still learning. Something I’ve loved about starting this blog is that it challenges me to look at myself – the good, the bad, the ugly – and learn something new. I’m constantly seeking inspiration for my next post, and when I feel panicked that I’m not going to have something to say, the world places it in my lap. This week it was the comparison, comfort, and control paradigm.
If anyone reading this post notices this pattern playing out in their own life, let’s go on a journey together. I’m reading a book called Option B right now, and the author talks about how scared she was the first time she went skiing because the bottom of the hill seemed so far away. Her mom told her to take it 10 turns at a time, and slowly but surely, she made it to the bottom. Imagining a world where I’m totally okay with who I am on the outside and the inside seems IMPOSSIBLE. So, I’m going to take my journey one step at a time. The first time is going to be actively noticing when I start to compare myself to others. When I notice that happening, I’m going to cut myself some slack and remind myself that I’m beautiful, that I’m loved, and that I’m doing the best that I can in everything I do. And then I’m going to smile. As for the second step, I’ll figure that out when I get there. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I’m learning as I go.
The major takeaways:
- Pay attention to what you pay attention to.
- Comparison is a thief, comfort is an illusion, and control is a liar.
- You are beautiful, and we’re all in this together.
In grace and gratitude, in love and light…xoxo.