Living in New York City has literally been the biggest playground for testing my perceptions, constructs, labels, and projections around the idea of perfection. The perfect job, the perfect apartment, the perfect body, the perfect partner. When you’re surrounded by 8 million people, it’s very, very, very easy to walk outside and within the first ten minutes of your day, see a many people of whom which your mind instantly goes, “oh she’s prettier, wow her outfit is so much better than mine, oh she’s got the perfect body, her skin is so smooth and youthful, wow i’ll never look like that.” And then within the first ten minutes of our day, we’re down the rabbit hole of the “I’m not good enough, there’s something wrong with me” thought.
So we spend the whole day planning what we’ll eat, what time we’ll go to the gym, whether or not we’ll be gluten free today, staring at our computers feeling miserable about where we are in life, because everyone else *obviously* has it together. Obviously.
I’ve been finding myself more and more exhausted by social media these days. I’m noticing more and more the subtly of how my interaction with it are affecting me. How tired I become after scrolling through other peoples feeds. Well of course, because I’ve just spent the last 20 minutes comparing myself to everyone else and doubting everything about my life. And all of this happens very subconsciously. Maybe we’re alert enough to catch the thoughts but for the most part, we’re sitting there, thinking we’re just mindlessly wasting time looking for…”inspiration”…when yes, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Wasting time. Wasting precious time that could be spent doing something that lights us up rather than looking at the things that turn all the lights inside of us off.
So it’s interesting, to be able to see how New York is literally a metaphor for all this comparison we do daily, everywhere, and how taxing it is on the system. I sent a message to my friend when I got to San Francisco this week saying, "Wow, I feel so…..confident here." And she said, "Yeah New York makes you really confident." I responded, “No, no… being here, without all the pressures, it’s made me remember that I’m actually pretty amazing.” It made me reflect on all the incredible things I am doing with my life. I couldn't remember the last time I just stopped, really stopped, and took a look at everything I've done, everything I've experienced, everything I've created from NOTHING, rather than constantly look at how far I have to go.
All the stress, all the pressure, all the depression that comes from comparing ourselves to others is extremely taxing. It ages us. It makes us ill, physically and mentally. It takes away our beauty and radiance. The remedy for this is the consistent practice of getting to know ourselves. If we got to know ourselves, and I mean really know ourselves, not the labels we’ve taken on over the years to try to be the “perfect” image of ourselves, we wouldn’t feel the need to compare. If we could see how truly amazing we are, beautiful we are, powerful we are, why would we ever feel the need to compare ourselves to others? It’s when we don’t know ourselves and spend our times trying to be like everyone else that we rob ourselves of the beauty we each inherently hold. Which is why I personally have found meditation to be my greatest savior, my greatest tool in getting to know and experience myself in ways that I possibly couldn’t otherwise. Even just a few minutes can take us back to our center, to our strength and power, so we can feel how something other than how miserable we are. And with daily practice of that, of tapping into something other than our doubt and misery, we slowly build our radiance and our confidence in who we are and what we want to experience in this world.
Here is one of my favorite practices to center myself, which only takes a few moments::
One Minute Breath: Sit in a comfortable upright position. Bring the index finger and the thumb together to touch, and close your eyes. Take 20 seconds to inhale, hold for 20 seconds, and exhale for 20 seconds. Twenty seconds is the end goal, however you can start with five seconds each until you’re able to build up your lung capacity. Next do 10 seconds each. Once you master 10 seconds, move onto 20 seconds and stay there, comfortably doing the One Minute Breath. I suggest practicing this breathing for three minutes.