Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PERCEPTIONS AND STANDARDS

This morning my husband and I were having a coffee together before we went to work. I was enjoying my skim cappuccino to which he commented, “oh you’re back on them”.

“Yep I hate black coffee” was my reply as I continued to sip and enjoy.

“Well you must be down to your goal weight already”.

God bless him for making such a wonderful and complimentary comment. I’m actually about 4 or 5 kilos away and although I feel heaps better than I did when I was 70kgs+, I still feel I have a long way to go. I must be looking heaps better though and he does know how much I‘ve been training lately (lots!!) and being quite careful with my diet (most of the time).

Which brings me to the issue of perceptions and standards. How often do we perceive ourselves to be fatter, less fit, less attractive, less competent and less anything than we actually are? Is it human nature or is it the domain of a minority that lack self-esteem or have a poor body image? I know personally that unless I’m sitting at my goal weight or am considerably under it, then I feel fat. A bad hair day or certain clothes will always make me feel less attractive. I read other’s blogs and think “shit they’re lifting THAT much” and I feel like a pissant wimp. The list goes on and on.

For me it takes a considerable effort to focus on the positives and remind myself that fat is a relative term. I may not be single digit body fat lean but compared to many other women in the 40 – 50 year age group, that work in the same industry as me, I’m in good shape. Some say vanity is a curse and I admit I’m a victim of the “I need to feel attractive” trap. But that may not be such a bad thing. Taking pride in your appearance is a virtue. When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good you’re happy and positive. The flow on benefit is positive when viewed that way.

Standards on the other hand are what we expect of others and ourselves. I know I set my standards quite high. There are things I do every day that to me are not negotiable. For many others they aren’t important. I like to achieve, be it in my personal life or in my career. When I set my goal to compete in 2007 I had many a pained discussion with my trainer when things got tough. But at every hurdle and challenge I would tell him “failure was NOT an option”. Of course he would reply by telling me that it certainly was but I would not accept that. As hard as it was to pick myself up from some of the messes I got myself into, I did it and pressed on.

I’ve been in this current (temporary) job for a year now. Its one of the hardest jobs I’ve had because I manage so many different things that all sit under one large banner. I was working on a particular project late last year and there was a significant change in direction meaning there was a LOT of work to do in very little time. So for me it was nose to the grindstone because NOT meeting my deadline was NOT an option. I worked late at night, early in the morning, on weekends and basically every free minute of the day just to get the job done and I succeeded. Little did I realise that by doing so I earned the respect of my boss and bosses higher up by proving just how capable I was. But for me the most important thing was not letting myself down. The rest didn’t really matter.

Maybe life would be easier and simpler if we just coasted along and didn’t set such high standards or such big goals to achieve. There would be less pressure on us and “cushy” could be a daily occurrence instead of a pipe dream. Sound attractive??

I don’t think so. I know I’d rather be celebrating the highs and riding out the lows rather than living my life flat line.

What would you choose?

Cheers

Magda

6 comments:

Strong Bitch said...

Wow Magda - what a great post! I understand totally what you mean - I know I can't help but compare myself to others - BUT i'm over that - I'm ME and there is no one else like ME! We are all individuals who are genuine unique and beautiful in our own ways. Yeah - i have massive highs and lots of lows (like anyone) but I like to think the high's outweigh the lows. If we were high all the time - there would be something wrong (unless you are smoking hooch! hahaha) love ferny xx

ss2306 said...

Hmmmm I like the sound of a cushy life personally however my bet is I'd still be aiming to achieve something always to keep me on my toes.

I think it's human nature to compare yourself to others whether it be how they look, what they lift, what and how much they eat, etc but I try and always remind myself that I am unique and there's no-one else exactly like me therefore it's unreasonable to expect the same.

With regards to the body image thing I've come to realise just how deluded my perception is of my body sometimes possibly through the years of yo-yoing and then competing topping it off.

Frankie said...

haha...I like to be kept on my toes. I love the rollercoaster that is my life.

Although...would like my weight to be stable (and lower).

I have the problem of thinking I look skinnier than I am! I get dressed up and look in the mirror and think I look hot..then I see some photos of the night and realise I have a LONG way to go.

*ANA* said...

are you between 40 and 50???? cause you look freaking awesome! love your posts!

Sandra said...

Great post Magda,
I've come to realise there are two "camps" out there. Those who are always striving to do better and those who are just happy to "cruise". I have copped a bit of flack from other mums at my kids school because I worry about my weight, because I colour my hair, because I do my nails...the list goes on. It would be so easy for me to try to fit in with THEM, I could just wear old tracky pants and hubby's T-shirts and I wouldn't get criticised, but that's not me, so live and let live is what I do.

Magda said...

Thanks so much for sharing your comments and thoughts guys. Its always an interesting topic.

Cheers

Magda