Life TherapyTM
Psychotherapy & Coaching + Mindfulness & Meditation

Lessons from a Lingerie Model…

This is a contribution by Guest Blogger Tamarisk Saunders-Davies.

What A Lingerie Model Taught Me About Happiness
A few weeks ago, I was in southern France at my best friend’s wedding. We were staying in a beautiful villa with a glorious pool. Lounging there the day after her beautiful wedding I discovered that the woman next to me was a lingerie model.
I wasn’t too surprised to hear that. She was stunning. Glowing skin, buffed and tanned. Impossibly curvy, yet skinny, yet perky, yet sexy, tan and toned. I looked back at myself. Missed the Fake Bake appointment I wanted to get to before flying out. Did my own pedicure in a rush. Barely managed to get my legs shaved. I felt blurgh and bloated from indulging in the delicious food the evening before (there was a fois gras station, for heavens sake!). Honestly, the last thing I wanted was to be lined up next to a lingerie model…who is in a bikini, no less.
But, there she was. And anyway, I’m committed to a life where I live in the moment, aren’t I? I read Pema Chodron. And Eckhart Tolle. And my copy of Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance is so dog-eared and has so many notes in the margin it isn’t true. Man…was it hard.
I’d flick through Oprah magazine paying no attention at all to what I was reading, all the while trying to sneak a peek at her. I’d make it through a paragraph and then have to start over again because I was mesmerized by her. What was she doing? How did she look doing it? Was she really that gorgeous? Really that perfect?
And what about me? How did I measure up compared to this icon of sex appeal and beauty? Was my hair as shiny? Did I look as sultry? Was she better than me just by virtue of looking stunning?
Having beaten myself a fair bit, I then did what it’s all too easy to do. I went to the opposite dark place. I got mean about her. Well, she’s not that stunning. She’s reading some trashy airport, she’s obviously an airhead. Those boobs cannot be real, surely?
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Using just my mental chatter I’d wasted a good 30mins of my life taking myself down a couple of notches and then I took her down. Yes, I can hear how ridiculous this sounds, but you know what? I also know that you’ve probably done something similar yourself…maybe not about a lingerie model.
Here’s what I know to be true about doing this – it doesn’t make you feel better.
Seriously, when was the last time you actually felt better about yourself after dwelling on your perceived shortcomings and sending snarky energy to a total stranger? When you compare yourself on any level – your body, your achievements, your home, your job, your wardrobe, your bank account two things happen:
1. You end up feeling low, inadequate and totally junked up about yourself.
2. You end up mentally (and metaphorically) throwing the other person under the bus, which, in turn, makes you feel low and inadequate and really bad about yourself. Do either of these options seem like a good idea to you? Do either seem like the express-route to happiness? Here’s the mindset shift I want you to get into – the only person worth comparing yourself to, is the very best version of you. But how? How do you do that?
The next time you notice that you’re beating yourself for not being more of this or not enough of that, or for not having a life that looks like whomever it is you’re feeling envious of, it’s time to put the breaks on and hit the pause button. Take a breath. Next, try one of the strategies I’ve listed below:
How to Let Go of Comparisons
1. Think back to the last time you did something really funny, loving, important or amazing. Remember how you felt about yourself and bring that feeling with you absolutely everywhere you go.
2. A mentor of mine recommends creating a Glory List. It’s a list of all the things you’ve done where you rocked it, where you a great mom, a great wife, a great girlfriend…whatever. Got an email from a friend showing you the love? File it in your Glory List folder. Read your Glory List often.
3. Reflect on your personal story, your unique journey in the world, and all the things you’ve survived to get where you are right now reading this blog post. The death of a loved one. A health crisis. Buying your first home. Giving birth. Training your puppy. It’s all good.
4. Look at the person to whom you are comparing yourself and realize that she is simply another person on the planet with you, doing the best she can. This is a different energy from bringing her down to elevate your sense of self-esteem, it’s the energy of compassion, of gentleness and of kindness.
Originally published here.

Ready to meet me?

Schedule your initial session.