Be True To Who You Are

“[…]When you see something weird and make fun with jokes

‘Cause your personal tastes are not like those folks

Try harder[…]”

-Miro, Warrior Poet Wisdom

When I started composing this post the feedback I imagined might question what this subject has to do with health and fitness.

From my perspective, everything is interconnected. Our physical health is intimately dependent upon our mental, emotional, spiritual and biological health.

EVERYTHING matters.

What happens when a public figure does something outrageous or something very personal – publicly? Is it open season on them? Does that make it OK to forget our manners; even if it is a marketing ploy to get viewers worked up to generate a buzz?

Lisa-Marie from BodyRockTv recently and very publicly underwent breast augmentation surgery. Amid the supportive comments she received, I was saddened by the negativity that this sort of event brings out in people.

 Lisa-Marie (before)

 A few months ago, a negative comment relating to the main photo of me on my site landed in my inbox. It came via one of the visual media sites and after the fact, the sender was very apologetic, I know this because I called them on it. Please understand that I’m not bringing this up to embarrass anyone. I bring it up because I think that sometimes really nice people can mindlessly say unkind things – I’m not immune, we forget…but that is a lousy excuse, we need to try harder at thinking twice before we speak. It’s easy to go around being mindless and develop a knee-jerk reflexive “I’m sorry” response – and truly mean it too. Better yet, to develop the discipline to think before we speak or before we press send.

Because I dispense motherly sayings on a daily basis to my children, I feel obliged to pass on these same words…

”If you don’t have something nice to say            (or constructive to add)                                               then don’t say anything at all.”

“One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.”                                                                                                                                                                                  –Will Durant (attributed)

The comment about my photo went something like this:
“Am I the only one who finds this DISGUSTING?”

And “Man abs on a woman is so unfeminine.”

I thought about what they said and I assure you I wasn’t offended but rather, it got me wondering where this kind of commentary comes from?

These women, I gathered, were young mothers (I took an educated guess based on what else they had posted), and wondered how women who nurture babies and children could speak so judgmentally or in an unsupportive way about others.

I understand the unfeminine comment, but the word DISGUSTING being capitalized even, really? Disgusting? At the time I thought, “Good thing I haven’t posted a picture of my face!” 🙂

I’ve noticed that there is a tendency to follow what is beautiful regardless of substance. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has figured this out. We have a tendency to buy into what is beautiful because we have been conditioned to believe that by following a certain program or by using said product procures the same results for us. Case in point: just look at what the Diet Soft Drink industry has done! And let me tell you first hand, if working out as consistently and with as much focus and discipline as I do, hasn’t made my nose smaller or changed its shape, then nothing other than surgery will! 🙂 We’ve got to love ourselves for who we are and what we’ve got, but continue to grow and improve along the way. The image we see in a still photograph is just that – a still. It reflects a suspended moment in time. And that is precisely what can make the still photograph so magical.

We will not miraculously transform into an Adonis by imitating the routine of one. We will not become anything other than who we are. Accept it, love it, improve on it however you see fit. At the risk of sounding like a soap opera, we’ve got one life to live – Live it well, find happiness but do so without being reckless.

So, I wrote back…

“I’m sorry you find me offensive. There is a real person behind this photograph. Perhaps the angle or the lighting or the fact that I’m not posing in a more sensual way detracts from the images effectiveness to show femininity. I have two children and they love me for who I am. (Except for when they don’t get their own way, of course). If you go to my website and read my bio and any of my articles you will learn that at my core, I hope to encourage everyone to focus on their health as opposed to focusing on the aesthetic alone. Originally, I had a photograph of a flower as my Gravatar, (because I was not interested in drawing attention to myself -each of us is an experiment of ONE after all) but since I changed the image to this photograph, which for many is a symbol of discipline and hard work – more and more people are flooding to my site…go figure. I know that how my body looks is not everyone’s ideal and I am, in no way suggesting people should strive for what I represent. My mother died at age 69 from Cancer, three months before my second child was born. She was too young and even though she lived a healthy lifestyle in every way, I believe from my research that many environmental factors played a role in her death and also for so many others who suffer from various diseases, which lead to premature death. My focus is to help you to help yourself be fit and healthy.“

To which they replied:

“I am very sorry. I really respect the discipline required to obtain this much muscularity. I believed this photo to be one off of google images and I greatly regret any hurt feelings I have caused by posting this. I will remove it. (They removed the comment trail from the visual media site).

“If it makes you feel any better my stomach area is entirely too soft and I’m sure the percentage of nice comments you get is ten times higher than the ones I would get if I showed a similar picture of my body.”

“I don’t think anyone was trying to hurt your feelings or insult you. I’m sure we really did though, and I apologize.”

Honestly, my feelings weren’t hurt and I was not insulted. When I made the decision to post photographs of myself and start to blog, I prepared myself for both positive and negative feedback, I would have been crazy not to. And really, I’m OK with who I am – big nose and all!

All I want to say by posting this is that all of us need to Try Harder at embracing compassion for one another.

One of my favorite modern poets, Miro introduced me to poet Cat Forsley. She posted this inspiring TED talk video of legally blind, Caroline Casey’s talk about the power of believing in ourself: Looking Past Limits.

“Stop with the labels … because we are not jam jars; we are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.”

“Every single one of us — woman, man, gay, straight, disabled, perfect, normal, whatever — everyone of us must be the very best of ourselves.”

“I never needed eyes to see — never. I simply needed vision and belief.”

-Caroline Casey

In my mind, “Being Happy Just The Way We Are” or “Expecting Others To Love Us Just The Way We Are” doesn’t mean that we can sit on the couch all day and forgo being a good person or stop taking care of ourselves. Being alive to me means participating and making positive contributions in the global community even if that means primarily focusing on raising healthy, self-sufficient, children who will mature into responsible adults, who can contribute to rather than become a burden on society.

If your happiness is based on always getting a little more than you’ve got

then you’ve handed control over your happiness to the gatekeepers, built a system that doesn’t scale and prevented yourself from the brave work that leads to a quantum leap.

The industrial system (and the marketing regime) adore the mindset of ‘a little bit more, please’, because it furthers their power. A slightly higher paycheck, a slightly more famous college, an incrementally better car–it’s easy to be seduced by this safe, stepwise progress, and if marketers and bosses can make you feel dissatisfied at every step along the way, even better for them.

Their rules, their increments, and you are always on a treadmill, unhappy today, imagining that the answer lies just over the next hill…

All the data shows us that the people on that hill are just as frustrated as the people on your hill. It demonstrates that the people at that college are just as envious as the people at this college. The never-ending cycle (no surprise) never ends.

An alternative is to be happy wherever you are, with whatever you’ve got, but always hungry for the thrill of creating art, of being missed if you’re gone and most of all, doing important work.

-Seth Godin

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24 comments

  1. By the way , about ; Being true to yourself, Did you have the chance to see the interview that Lilu Mace had with Anita Moorjani ? It is an amazing story of a near death experience. It changed my life. Highly recommended!

  2. WOW ………..
    I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ………..:)
    PEOPLE LIKE TO PICK PICK PICK ON THINGS THEY DON’T “GET
    OR UNDERSTAND ……!
    I THINK YOUR ABS LOOKS GREAT – 🙂
    I GET IT ALL THE TIME .
    “YOU DON’T LOOK BLIND – WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU – WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO OUT THERE AND FAKE IT ”
    I AM NOT A FAKER …..
    AND SO WHAT IF I MAY LOOK A CERTAIN WAY …….
    I REALLY DON’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF MY “LOOKS ”
    IT’S MY CHOICE TO WEAR WHAT I WANT

    YOU ARE AWESOME TO POST SUCH A STRONG MINDED POST ……..
    KUDOS LADY XOXOXO
    CAT

      1. YOU ARE WELCOME 🙂
        AND NO MATTER WHAT JUST BE YOU

        THE REAL PEOPLE WILL STAY CLOSE
        THE FALSE WILL FALL AWAY NATURALLY
        THAT’S WHAT I HAVE NOTICED IN MY LIFE ….
        XO
        C

  3. This is excellent. The only comment I do have is about the woman who had breast augmentation… why? I mean she looked amazing before hand. That bothers me because it’s like… I never understood this fixation on breasts. My breast size is pretty much identical to what hers were in the before picture and I can’t imagine changing my body in this way.

    As for your picture here, you look amazing 🙂 I’ve said that before, a while back, never hurts to say it again. Due to injuries that I’ve had and some lack of motivation, I “could” be at this level but I’m not. So, I’m starting all over again. Good for you and keep at it… at the end of the day it’s not about what other people think, no matter what we’re inundated with, it’s how we feel.

    1. The older I get the more it sinks in, like you say: “at the end of the day it’s not about what other people think, no matter what we’re inundated with, it’s how we feel.”

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    2. I feel the same way about the person with the plastic surgery as you do. And to go on I feel it is not a good thing as a role model to influence thousand of very young peolple to go AGAINST mother nature. When I leave a constructive( but not positive ) comment on their site. They blocked me. How constructive is that? So for me they lost a credibility. Fake ; not walking the way they preach.

      1. When you said that you feel the same way as me, did you mean about being sad that people have a tendency to leave unsupportive comments? As for plastic surgery – It’s a very touchy subject and I’m not one to take sides. I think it’s important for young people to be educated about everything so as to be able to make informed decisions. For many people, depending on circumstance, cosmetic surgery is a life saver. What’s important for our young people to fully understand is where these choices come from? Are we so affected by media that we dupe ourselves to believing that certain changes will make us happier? Sadly, it is often how others react to us which affects our confidence and self -esteem; as a result we need to work on empowering ourselves and cut through all the subliminal messages to fully become true to who we are.

        It’s too bad they block your comments, they are missing out on sharing your wisdom. But just the act of blocking certain messages says it all.
        I welcome your constructive comments any time! I am comfortable with agreeing to disagree. 🙂

      2. Thanks for the link…it makes it easier for others to view. It is long but worth the listen. Especially near the end, actually it’s all great.

        We’re all at such different levels of experience and awareness. When we are ready to hear, accept and put into motion such wisdom then our belief shifts dramatically. There is a point when ‘getting what we want’ is no longer important. Because the ‘want’ is no longer meaningful. This ‘pure love’ replaces any desire for wanting or needing – everything is fulfilled.
        This is what it means for me at least…this is the stage at which I am at. However, for those so far removed, this language can seem rather cosmic 😉
        It doesn’t mean that we walk around in an enlightened and surreal or righteous place but rather within the chaos of life – parenthood, raising children, careers, dealing with the life cycle of ageing family members – we have a place of calm within us that is pure, without ego without agenda or expectation. It doesn’t mean we don’t try or create or explore, it just takes on a different meaning and that meaning is personal for each of us.

        Thank you so much D.H for sharing this link with us. You are wonderful – so glad our paths crossed.

      3. Thank you( !) for the beautiful compliment 😉
        For me it was like a comfirmation ; We are one consciouness! So we have to take of each other So glad , she felt it!
        Years ago and for more than 10 years I was working in regular medecine and they always do have physiological explanations for these kind of phenomens (opium-like reacion in the brain at death) So I was always in the doubt. But this lady seems so pure. She came back to tell us what is really important. You named it: Be true to yourself!

      4. Because I’ve felt such an aversion to the whole idea of breast implants and plastic surgery, I can understand the idea of wanting to improve on something, or god forbid someone is in an accident, breast cancer, reconstructive surgery in that vein and things of that nature. What bothers me about it the most is the very real idea that people are doing it when they look absolutely fine as they stand, they’re doing it because some where in their head they’re saying “I’m not enough” and/or “guys will like me more with larger breasts”… there’s so much of that mentality in the world as if they’re not enough as they are, for who they are and it’s perplexing to me.

        It’s not about the idea of plastic surgery it’s the magnitude of the people doing it and the WHY of it all…

      5. Exactly. For me it’s not a judgement at all but rather important to really get to the root of where these ideas come from…as you said it’s “the WHY of it all”.

      6. Society is very tough on women, I mean, what on earth did people do before they could change their appearance so drastically? Was it as big of an issue before all of these techniques were developed? Maybe, maybe not.

        Were people more accepting of themselves before vs. now? Everything today surrounding beauty and what we “should” look like is so in your face, it’s unbelievable. Fortunately for me, I was always pretty scattered and not paying attention to those things. LOL 🙂 (It’s true… It didn’t occur to me) and I think due to that I got off pretty easy, meaning nothing got imbeded into my head about what I should or should not look like… To wrap my mind around this whole topic, I used to watch shows about plastic surgery and why people had it done.

        Some reasons I could understand. And, STILL even as I say that, I know it’s according to “whose” standard of how we look? It’s like… can we look past the superficial things in life and accept ourselves as we are… I’m not saying not to take care of ourselves of course, that’s important. It’s perplexing to me because at the end of the day… I would rather be liked “for me”… not my breast size. I could go ON and ON about this 🙂 …

        To be more honest, I never really thought about this in such detail until I got older.

      7. Great commentary.
        “According to ‘whose’ standard. It is incredibly perplexing, as you say.
        Even my soon to be eight year old daughter can see through all the airbrushing. She surprised me not long ago when flipping through a Vogue or Vanity Fair with me, she said: “People don’t look like that. Why do they do that to the pictures?” I think she sees things differently because she is a natural visual artist so she is very sensitive to picking up on the details. Lucky.

        I know what you mean, this is an endless subject. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      8. Thank you. 🙂 We’re all good at seeing the details, the very real problem is as we get older we start comparing, we have to live up to some standard or be “something” in order to fit in and… never mind the very real human factor of wanting connections with others, whose getting attention for what and everything else that is shoved up our noses as we go along.

        I think, we lose some of that as we get older, I’m regaining my own… it never really left but I did find that it was some what swayed by all this input as I got older. My personal project is deflecting and getting rid of those false hoods, because none of it’s real… but then, it is because it’s around us all the time. And we make it real and then it takes away from us. I don’t care for that…

        You’re daughter is smart 🙂 That’s terrific for her to be so insightful. 🙂 You’re welcome, I love conversations where we can go back and forth and talk about things.

      9. I think there is a real global trend towards self-improvement and leaning towards what’s authentic and true. I like how you’ve described your personal project. It’s certainly not easy work but it seems to me that as a human race our instincts are beginning to pick up the scent of the urgency of the situation – on so many levels.
        I’m sure if we were in the same room we could talk about this for hours.
        Very nice to meet a kindred spirit.

      10. The trend has been going on for a long time, it’s just that people may not see the importance of it. I think, we live in a very instant gratification society and since personal growth can take longer than say, new breasts, new this, new that… it’s easier to change something else on an external level, then it is to work on the inside. And if a person is getting attention for the external stuff, they figure they’ve got it right!

        It really does have to come from inside and then shine out. Because the exterior is going to fade at some point. I’m not saying it isn’t wonderful to look nice, take care of ourselves, however I see a lot of these things going to extremes. Surgical extremes … that’s really not the answer. You know, barring accidents or anything I referenced earlier. Oh yah… definitely be able to talk about it for hours. I agree.

        I mean, if we don’t work on the inside … it doesn’t feel right, something is missing. And it’s “us”… that’s really the beautiful part, regardless of what happens on the outside. 🙂

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