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I Wanna Be Like You | Really?

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How many of us get drawn to a fitness personality’s diet or training philosophy because we like how they look or how they are?

When I see magazines or certain fitness products, I see marketing strategies geared toward drawing out readers’ insecurities and making them want what that other person has.

The world is set to encourage us to be more unsatisfied with how we look, what we can do, and who we are, because we are hounded by the message that we always need to seek more.

Here’s the strategy often employed:

Train like me + eat like me = look like me

Cue music ….


Be careful of idolising or coveting what what someone else possesses.  This may seem like an obvious message, but how many of you are striving to reach a goal because you are unhappy with how you look?  How many of you think that reaching your goal will make you happy or more confident?  You could look perfectly fine to most of your friends (in fact, they may even be envious of how you look), yet you “want her abs”, “want her arms”, “want her glutes” etc etc. 

The real issue is not that you don’t have a “better” body, the real issue is that you don’t know where your self-worth lies!  And it won’t be found in those abs, or any other abs either.

Stop fearing what you’ve got! Stop running from who you are! Because, let me tell you, that is all you have. 

The other day I received an email from a girl who wanted to look like a certain fitness guru.  She looked at this person and felt so inadequate that she was prepared to do anything to get her body shape.

Here’s the thing (something, of course, that I learned the hard way):

When I first started on this epic “fitness” journey (I kinda want to call it a fitness-for-life journey, now), I started because I felt unhappy with how I looked (I realise there will be many people who start for other reasons, but it generally starts because of some unhappiness about something, right?).  My body shape/type and much of my ability is determined by genetics, yet I wanted to have different leg length, I wanted to be petite, have narrower hips, bigger breasts (oh wait, I did that already – my bad!) … etc

And these are just the physical things (as I have discussed in length before). Now for more:  

I used to feel insecure about what I had to offer the fitness industry. I’d think: “Well, I’m not RKC, I’m not certified in anything impressive, or pumping out articles on “popular” topics … what’s the point in trying?!”  Hmmmm

Basically, I had set my value in something outside of ME; Outside of what makes me unique. As a result, I began to feel pressure to conform to a mould. Just like in the rest of life’s paths, we can sometimes feel a funnelling down of who WE are and what WE have that’s unique and creative; filtering out all our individual flare and leaving us stuck in a pigeon-hole … a Beige pigeon-hole. We gradually become like everyone else, or fear breaking free.

Never lose sight of what you have that’s unique. Yes, strive to be healthier, fitter, stronger, leaner (if that’s what you want), but do so with the goal to let the best of YOU shine through.

“What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t assume that because you are not like “them” that you are not awesome in your own right, as you are and as you will be.

I want to tell you that you will never look like your idol – accept that and REVEL in it!

Ask yourself “why” you want what you do and give yourself an honest answer …

- Are you seeking to find worth and value in how you look?

- Are you seeking significance by yielding to society’s ideal?

- Are you looking for affirmation from your community or gain acceptance?

What strikes me is how the world seems to encourage us to find unity in perfection or ideals, yet it often achieves the opposite and people are left feeling inadequate and more insecure because they can’t hit the mark of being “better”. There are a lot of people out there (in the public eye) who are amazing actors, playing a game of “look how amazing I am” … and they are the BIGGEST frauds.  Most of us know this, yet we still want to be like them! Why?? Why do we allow ourselves to adopt trends so easily, without question?

Do you know what I find amazing? When people reveal their weaknesses and short-comings, but strive to be better the next time. They seek to build character, depth and wisdom that can actually help UNITE people in their DIVERSITY and uniqueness. We compromise our morals too readily in order to be accepted by a community.  

Look, at the end of the day, we each decide how we want to represent ourselves, but we each have a moral compass that tells us when we are being lead astray. Lord knows, I have fallen into shady territory once or twice and compromised myself in order to get noticed, complimented or more popular within the industry. But my inner compass has always saved me from going too far.  What I have realised (fairly recently) is that people want REAL, people want HONESTY, INTEGRITY and people want a place where they have a VOICE.  I can’t give you your self-worth, but I can give you a place where you feel safe to say “I am lost” or “I am confused” or “I feel under pressure”.  Way back when, at the start of myomytv, that’s what I needed :)  

It’s true that if you do what I do, there is a good chance you will wind up looking leaner, being stronger, more mobile and more confident about your ability in fitness —> but it is untrue that training like me and eating like me will bring you those deeper results that you long for … that is, in absence of an ability to recognise your own awesomeness, or in absence of your ability to measure progress against yourself, rather than in comparison to someone else (like me).

If there is one message I hope you will take away from this today, it is that you will never find happiness outside of you –> the outer simply cannot fix the inner.  But the inner than help both.  What the outer world can provide is support, which is what I hope this article does at least a little :)

Change your tune and let yourself be a better YOU. Regardless of how you look, if you know your own self-worth in this world, that is probably you at your best…. the rest is fairly superficial.

 

Thanks for reading,

~ Marianne

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11 Responses

  1. CantReachMyToes says:

    I’ll admit, when I first saw this article I thought the bold emerson quote section said “what is weed?” So I figured the article was about being relaxed. Oddly enough it actually sorta is about being relaxed (with oneself) just without the smoking accoutrement. Regardless, the outter not fixing the inner comment was very astute and well put. Whatever life has done to you or for you, it’s certainly given you a positive perspective. And truthfully if pretty = healthy, I’d be doomed! Then again, using your workouts, I should be able to rock a skirt…though I think my work would frown on a “manskirt” – kilts even would be a bit much i’m afraid…

    Speaking of the workouts, is there a list on the site for all the exercises you’ve done? Seems like there’s an endless number and I’d love to have a spreadsheet to randomize them into workouts as you seem to by magic or intuition or some other superpower.

  2. Heidi says:

    The hardest thing in a world (internet world mostly) of people that are succeeding in the industry is that I assume that to succeed I should be like them. But, the real secret to success is to be like yourself – the way that they have!

  3. M. Cash says:

    I have spent many years listening to the wrong voices and buying into the idea that if I just do more, try this new “extreme” exercise program,new diet, or whatever it is,I can finally accept the way I look. All I’ve gotten is tired and burned out. Since I’ve been reading your posts the last few weeks (and others like Nia Shanks), I’ve felt like a huge burden has been lifted off me and I’m finally starting to have a healthier mindset. Just wanted to say thanks.

    • Marianne says:

      Your comment means a lot! I send it to Nia so she feels encouraged that we are helping dispel the myths, confusion and pressure on women in health and fitness.

      I am so pleased to hear that you are feeling the weight lifted … pardon the pun :)

  4. Becky says:

    Marianne, I wish I had your sensibility and ability to appreciate yourself for who you are! Thank you for sharing these thoughts online….I find them inspiring and thought-provoking. I’m not there yet….still very down on myself and always wishing I looked like someone else….but I need to read and re-read this post until it really sinks in. No point in spending my life unhappy with myself and how I look. I don’t judge anyone else anywhere near as hard as I judge myself!!! Thanks!

  5. Mickela says:

    totally agree with you Marianne. There are so many triggers out there. Everywhere we look there are people or things going on that prey on our weaknesses. My approach is to not fixate too much on looks, vanity. I also make a serious point of not comparing myself to others.
    I train to be stronger when I compete (sailing)I am not much into attracting attention towards myself, it is actually uncomfortable. I do wish sometimes that I was as strong as you are. :-)

  6. Tracey says:

    So awesome Marianne:)

  7. Nina_CZ says:

    Super like this post. I’ve been there too, wanted to look like somebody else. I am short, I will never have a small cute butt, I will never have long slim legs. I learned to love myself the way I AM and I ONLY drive myself towards what I CAN be. Like there was written many times – BE THE BEST VERSION OF ME POSSIBLE. Only I control this, nobody else. I don’t wanna get skinny so those people around will say: “Damn, she is skinny,” or “She doesn’t have a big butt anymore!” My body does not define who I am as a person. But what am I able to do WITH my body, that does. I don’t train to please other, I train to please myself, to surprise myself, to show myself what I am capable of, to show myself that I CAN DO WHAT I PUT MY MIND INTO.

  8. Kelli Prejean says:

    I think you’re so fantastic–open, real, and just plain smart. Thanks for sharing all of your workouts and knowledge with us!

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