They say that change begins right where you are. The thing is, many of us have a strong aversion to knowing where that is. Where am I? What is true about me here? If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer to believe that things are the same as they used to be, or perhaps that you are further along than you really are.
I really hate stepping on the bathroom scales. Since I recovered from a lengthy period of disordered eating, I’ve told myself that weighing myself is bad for my state of mind. Weight is just a number, after all, a number that says so little about body composition and so easily becomes weaponised as a means of self-loathing. Better to avoid knowing what that number is and finding other ways to monitor my health.
But without an objective way to measure, everything becomes subjective. Sure, I feel healthy and I’m fit for my age. Maybe my hipster jeans accentuate some softness that wasn’t there before, but I notice that less on some days than others. And most people would still say I’m slim.
It’s so easy to find ways to bolster the version of reality we want to believe, don’t you find? It’s so much harder to take a long, hard look at what is actually real, because that might mean we have to do something about it.
The reality is that I’m in the last year of my forties. When I make jokes to my husband about not being able to compete with his lean and toned bod, he now side-steps with remarks about the difference between men and women. I don’t feel so great about wearing a bikini anymore. And, when I finally got my courage up to check, the number on the scale is not the same as it was 10 or even 5 years ago.
They say it was Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. If we want things to change we have to do something different. Any courageous look at reality is the threshold towards that place of decisive action.