Imagine going up to people on the street and asking them, “Do you think I’m fat? Why… or why not? Are you just being polite? What do you really think?”
Invite them to check you out. Turn over your shoulder and look at your butt like you’ve never seen it before. As if you’re shopping for a new one, and you’re looking for a second opinion.
I guarantee the results of this, no matter how fat or thin you are: Some people will say yes, you could lose a few pounds, and some people will say no, you look great. Some people will look at you like you’re nuts while they back away slowly, and others will actually think about the question, answering it carefully: “Well, I don’t think you’re fat but some might. Say you were on Rodeo Drive in LA…” Some will actually ask you intelligent questions, like “Fat compared to what, to whom…? What do you mean by ‘fat’?” Some, spying an opening, will recommend a diet to you, or tell them about their friend’s great diet… even though you didn’t ask, and most likely you don’t even want to lose weight.
Even the thinnest woman out there, yes the most anorexic woman in world, if she asked enough people, would meet some jerk who would tell her she was fat. Yep. You think I’m wrong? Type these two words into Wikipedia: Karen Carpenter.
If you nurture the futile hope that someday everyone in the world will recognize you as attractive and lovable, give up now. The world has never agreed about anything.
And you know why? Because it’s not really about you. When someone tells you you look fat, or beaten with an ugly stick, they aren’t seeing you as you are. They are seeing you through their own particular lens of their mom’s constant battle to lose five, ten, or fifty extra pounds, the perfected bodies of the Hollywood starlets they most admire (Portia de Rossi or Kate Winslet, perhaps), their own group of drinking buddies (who avoid and fear fatties, make fun of fatties, or secretly desire fatties---possibly all at the same time), and the home-grown nastiness of the playground bully from their childhood. They don’t see you at all.
Even when your dad tells you to lose a few pounds, he’s not seeing you, either. Here’s what goes through his mind: “If my daughter were thinner, people would think I’m a good dad, that I’d raised her to be successful, attractive, and smart. Fat on her makes me look like a loser. Beside, I want her to be happy, or at least look happy, and everybody knows only skinny people are happy.”
You see, unconsciously he sees you through a lens called “The Dad Show.” You are a minor character whose only importance is how you reflect on him.
He’s the lead, the director, the producer, the technical crew, the musicians, the gaffer (what does the gaffer do anyway?), and he sells the tickets from the glass box at the front door wearing his little coffee can hat. You occasionally stride on stage right, pause for a few lines, then wander off into the wings. The entire time you’re standing in the spotlight, he wonders, “What does my audience think of her? Will they pan my show because her cleavage is showing… or isn’t showing enough?”
Don’t take anything personally, advises Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements. “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.” The good news is, you don’t have to live in anyone else’s dream; you don’t have to make “The Dad Show” your show.
What other people think of you, how other people see you, isn’t you, unless you agree that it is.
If you agree that you’re fat, or that because you’re fat you’re unworthy, or that you’re unattractive no matter what size you are, then you are right. You believe it, you live your life in that belief, and your life reflects that.
If instead you believe that you are worthy and beautiful no matter what size or shape or age you are… your life catches fire and burns brightly with the understanding that who you are in no way depends upon what others think of you. Bask in the warmth, enjoy the light. You’re truly free.
Smile secretly when you catch a glimpse inside another’s dream… when they question your worthiness, know it’s not up for debate, and be glad you live inside your own head, your own body, and not theirs. Maybe someday they’ll find the door marked FREEDOM, or maybe they won’t. Send them a blessing. They need it.
Source: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz, p 49, Amber-Allen Publishing 1997.