We all like to put our best foot forward in life, and show the world the perfect version of ourselves (preferably the filtered Instagram one.) Self help books, motivational videos, podcasts, seminars, speeches, conferences, personal growth worksheets and questions; it’s all there to help you become “Dream You.” You know, the one who can eat spaghetti bolognese in a white outfit without staining it, the one who can do yoga poses better than the pretzel chick on the next mat over, the one your vision board on Pinterest is dedicated to, the one you promise yourself you’ll be tomorrow or Monday morning.
But, before you go down that road of trying to be perfect, which only leads to self-loathing, remind yourself of these universal life truths.
1. You don’t have to eat quinoa to be healthy
Every now and then, I go through a period where I decide I really need to change my diet. I’m not an unhealthy eater, and I have quite a balanced diet, but my need to eat even healthier is usually fueled by an “influencer” posting a picture of their acai bowl (to be honest I have no idea what “acai” even is) or green smoothie or organic avocado on whole wheat toast which has been crafted by the gluten-free gods themselves. So, I Google, and I pin, and I scroll until I’ve added 3 new superfoods and maca powder to my grocery list.
I recently found myself in one of these phases and decided I would give quinoa a shot. People were always raving about how healthy and delicious it is, so I got all excited thinking I could add it to my dinner every night or have it for lunch at work. I bought a ready-made quinoa with Mediterranean flavor and tried to pretend I liked it with tears in my eyes, when my husband laughed at me and told me, “you don’t have to eat that, you know.”
In my quinoa haze, every bite felt like water torture, and I realized I was forcing myself to eat something I hated just because it was deemed extremely healthy, and mainly because it was a trend, just like avocado on toast (also one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten.)
Eating healthy can be done in many ways, and you are not required to eat or like something just because everyone else is doing it; this isn’t your high school peers pressuring you into smoking that joint.
2. Embrace the face you see when you accidentally hit the forward facing camera on your phone or when your computer battery dies and the screen goes black
Have you ever been binge watching vlogs on Youtube or a Netflix series on your computer and been too lazy to get up and get the charger when the battery gets low? Suddenly, the computer shuts down and the screen goes black. You’re left looking at glazed over eyes, licking Dorito dust off your fingers and ashamed at the sorry excuse for a human being you see in front of you.
Have you ever had that moment where you turn on your phone, accidentally setting off the front-facing camera, and you’re startled by the double-chinned blob of a person staring back at you? It’s a universal truth that not one person on this planet looks good from that angle (except Giselle, but I still question whether or not she’s actually human anyway.)
Look, you and I both know it’s not your best look, and neither is your morning face, or your hungover face, or your face after working on a work project for 60 hours in a week. Embrace it anyway!
That face is yours and the unique gift that the universe gave you, nobody else has one like it. In the words of Dr. Seuss, ” Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Yes, I really just quoted Dr. Seuss.
3. That girl or guy you were so upset about when they ghosted you or lead you on? You’ll probably forget their last name and maybe even their first
The other day, I was thinking back on the few months I spent living in Ukraine a few years ago. I actually met my husband there but a couple months before he came along I was dating an air force pilot with a beard (and boy, did I find that sexy.) We went out for a drink once, as friends, and that developed into more. Things took a turn for the physical on a drunken Valentine’s Day and after that he stopped calling as much, and long story short, I had been ghosted.
I remember being profoundly hurt at the time, especially because I thought things would progress and maybe we would end up in a relationship. Of course, my older self is now looking back on my younger self, screaming at her, “What were you thinking? That guy is an absolute tool!” But, the real point to this story? I was thinking about him the other day, and it took me about 10 minutes just to remember his first name, and I couldn’t recall his last name at all. Maybe this is my old 27 years of age and memory loss, but I realized that this guy who hurt me so much back then, is nothing but a distant memory now and has zero importance in my life.
When people hurt you, it can feel like the world is ending, but in time most of it loses importance in your life, especially if you’re happier now.
Embracing life means embracing the weird, vulnerable, scary bits of yourself that you would rather leave in a dark corner, hidden away so nobody will discover them. The more open we are to our human-ness, the quicker we will learn to accept ourselves.