As a personal trainer people often ask me how I think they look. When prompted for a response I try to emphasize that how you think other people think you look is unimportant. Only you can determine what is good or bad, positive or negative. This type of reply typically elicits an eye roll of sorts coupled with a verbal dismissal of my response, which then prompts me further, time permitting, to tell a quick story…
When I was a tween my cousins nicknamed me ‘Chubby Checker’. Part of me knew that this was a jab at my ‘Husky Boy Jeans’, but another part of me thought “Hey, at least Chubby Checker had talent” (insert raised eyebrow & side-long glance in the direction of my cousins…). As usual I chose to internally frame my familial moniker in terms of a backhanded compliment rather than the more obvious body shape that drew a visual parallel between us both.
By the time I was a teenager I grew taller and was no longer relegated to the “Husky Boy” section of Sears. No one would call me chubby at this stage of my adolescence, yet I still felt I was ‘chubby on the inside’. It wasn’t until I randomly joined the marching band (TALENT!), that I realized that after practices on the field I thought less about what I thought other people felt when they looked at me. Physical movement that I enjoyed just felt plain old good. In hind sight it was this good feeling that helped elevate my sense of content and therefore eased my inherent sense of social discomfort over time.
What you’re experiencing when you ask others how you look is often less about how other people see you, and often more about how you yourself feel. If you do not feel good, you will be more likely to think about you look- both to yourself and to others. When you truly feel good, everything looks better, even if nothing has really changed. In fact, when you feel good, you hardly think about how you look -at all.
Exercising helps elevate your sense of self worth. Healthy exercise goes far beyond physical gains. Exercising in a healthy manner imbues a vital gift of self worth that no one else can ever truly give you.