You have the capacity for change.
There’s a trend I’ve noticed, well I say noticed, but really its been around for the last decade or so. It boils down to this idea that we should all be perfectly happy the way we are, that the way we are is perfect and that the world as a whole is evil for telling us that we’re not good enough.
It seems, in essence, to be a highly defensive response to the media inundating us every day with images telling us we won’t be good enough if we don’t have this bag/makeup/car/lifestyle/weight.
Now, I’m not going to say that accepting yourself is a bad thing. Self-acceptance and recognition of media brainwashing are generally rather good things. However, I’ve noticed that people seem to take both messages and combine them into a very very strange mentality. Its a strange phenomena where the individual is both self-hating and extremely defensive of their sense of self. “I hate me, but if you hate me then you are a sheep like the rest of society” Or something suitably contradictory.
I’m not attacking people who are like this, but I want to take a look at the root of this apparent dichotomy.
I think it boils down to this; There’s the part of the individual that doesn’t like something happening in their life. Whether it be their living arrangements, looks, social status, etc. It seems like this is born from a deep seated hatred or helplessness surrounding that issue.
But we are bombarded with dual messages from society. First that we aren’t good enough and then that we should really love, accept, and ‘be’ ourselves. That we’re all good enough and our self esteem should be high and we should be content with who we are, but at the same time we are not good enough unless we are picture perfect clones. So, obviously, it creates a tension.
“You need this. You have enough. You should be this. You should be content with your lot. You are good enough, if they can’t see it thats THEIR problem. Be happy where you are. Don’t be happy with who you are. If you don’t accept yourself, you’re a bad person. If you don’t want to be like a celebrity movie star you are worthless.” Blah blah blah AHHHHH!!!!
What these two social trends seem to completely ignore the human capacity for change.
I realized two years ago that I didn’t like my body. I wasn’t very healthy at the time and I just didn’t feel confident in my skin. I’m not saying that you need to be thin to be happy, or even that I wanted to be ‘thin’. Some of the sassiest most confident people I’ve met fall well outside the societal ideas of ‘beauty’. But I kept feeling like this was a problem with me, in my head, that somehow I was failing to love myself and accept myself. That I was letting myself down by not fully accepting the status quo. I was being a bad person for being unhappy with my appearance.
Then one day I realized….
If I don’t like something about myself, I have the capacity to change it.
I am the only person who can, I am the only person who will, so bloody hell if I don’t like it, I will change it. So I stopped trying to passively accept my appearance as good enough. I stopped believing that acceptance and self esteem are innate parts of the brain that I just wasn’t trying hard enough to reach. I stopped accepting the status quo.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that due to this ‘be content with your lot’ message (Which is VERY Calvinist if you think about it), people seem to shut down their belief in their capacity for change. They turn their insecurities into huge aspects of their sense of self and feel the need to vehemently defend them, even while secretly hating them.
Body image, living situation, relationships, all the small things that make up our identities and our lives. We have the power to change all of them because we always have choices. Those choices may not be attractive, they may be awful and hard and seemingly unfeasible, but they are OUR choices to make. Technically, you CAN walk out your door and keep walking until you find something worth stopping for. That may not be a choice you view as attractive, but it is a choice. It is a choice we decide not to make most days, but its still there.
I’m not trying to diminish anyone’s problems, or suggest that you need to be a certain way to be happy. There are things we cannot control, other people being the big one. However, sometimes we feel like a situation or a person or a circumstance has arrested complete control from us, that we have no choice but to live with the status quo until our hero comes to save us.
And that is the problem, because when we accept the status quo, we give up our power.
Our power over change. Our power over our minds and personalities. Our power over ourselves.
You can be happy at any weight, with any lifestyle, with any personality quirk.
But just make sure that your reality is truly what you want and what makes you happy. Make sure you’re not defending or ignoring something that you’d rather change. I’m not suggesting you get depressed about it, but realizing that you can change and then trying to progressively follow up on that descision, thats the way to find yourself. That is the way to find happiness I think. The way to grow and learn and thrive.
I’ve only come to this recently and I’m still working on my own path and my own happiness, but in my rather selfish desire to share my thoughts with the world at large, I thought I would put this out there in hopes that other people might realize their own innate capacity for change.
Change is inevitable. Don’t let it happen to you. Happen to it. Be an active participant in your future.