How many of us have compared ourselves to others and decided we’re lacking in some way? Not thin enough, not smart enough, not rich enough, not fast enough… The list is endless when we start playing the comparison game.
Just as common as we get older, we look back and compare ourselves now to when we were at our “best”. Maybe you think to yourself things like, “I used to be thinner then. I used to be more athletic. I used to laugh more. I used to be more social.”
The biggest problem with all of that is that you come to resent yourself for where you are right now. Which is not particularly fun or useful. It turns out that feeling crappy about yourself doesn’t help you enjoy life.
The more we fight reality, the more pain we cause ourselves. We begin to look outside of ourselves to fill the void of not being enough. This is how addictions come about and how advertisers often make a lot of money.
What if we could simply appreciate being precisely who we are right now? A book that completely changed my perspective on life was Sonya Renee Taylor’s The Body is Not An Apology. Ms. Taylor highlights how society puts an “ideal body” on a pedestal that we’re all supposed to idolize, but all of us fall short of that ideal body in one way or another.
It’s the falling short that makes us feel like we don’t belong, we’re not enough, and we’re not worthy. Her solution? Stop comparing ourselves to others and go down a journey of radical self-love instead. She encourages us to love ourselves exactly as we are, to celebrate our differences, and embrace our common humanity.
When I quit residency at an Ivy League program in September of 2021, lots of people thought I was crazy (including my family). I had over $200K in student loans and 10 years invested in my medical career, but here I was walking away before the egg was hatched. Why the heck would I do that?
Well for one, I had wicked PTSD from my previous year in general surgery. I fell into the statistic of being one of 20% of residents who suffer from PTSD during their training. But more importantly, I knew walking away was what I needed and that my life depended on it.
There were many times after I quit when I felt like a total loser. But the more I learn to love myself just as I am, the more magic happens in my life. I meet the right people, find the right opportunities, and doors fly off their hinges opening for me.
This journey has led me to launch the Abi Normal Society, whose mission is to provide education, resources, and community support for people to love and value themselves precisely as they are. We’re all born into a body, and unless we develop some wild technology in the next few years, we’re all going to die in that body too. We might as well learn to love who we are along the way.
In less than two weeks, our Facebook community, Self-Love and Self-Worth For Misfits, has already grown from one person (just little ol’ me) to 96 people who are hungry to find love and worth in themselves. I can’t wait to see how this community grows, both online and in the physical world. We all need more self-love and self-worth in our lives.
To face the uncertainty and chaos of the world, we need more people who believe in their own power and worth. That’s how we solve big problems and face challenges head-on. The best solutions arise from a place of curiosity and creativity, not a place of fear and self-loathing.
Each of us has more power than we know. One person undeniably has the power to change their own life, and a community has the power to turn the status quo upside down. Start with yourself, and you never know what kind of magic will happen.
Dr. Jess currently lives in Spokane, WA with her parents and her trusty dog, Lola. Find out more about the Abi Normal Society at www.abinormalsociety.com. You can email Dr. Jess at email@example.com or call/text her at 605-366-3821