A few weeks ago my mom and I were walking around West Edmonton Mall and doing what we do best at malls – people watching. She said to me later that day, “You know what I was thinking as I watched every size and shape of person go by? Where are all of the perfect people?”
That question really got me thinking. Where are all of the perfect people?
Every day I go to the gym and work my butt off. On occasion I would look in the mirror and think, ‘If only I had perfect abs…’ or ‘Ah, why can’t my legs be perfect?’ when really, what is perfect? Society has forced us, both men and women, to aspire to be perfect. The girls on the covers of magazines, the girls in the billboard advertisements, the men in sports ads with the perfect bodies… none of these people are real, yet most of society, including myself, is trying to look like them. I mean, they don’t even look like that. Why are we trying to be perfect when perfect doesn’t even exist? Shouldn’t we just be trying to be something real, like ourselves?
I think the video Dove Evolution does a really good job of showing what actually goes into making an advertisement.
The idea that perfection can be attained has created billion dollar industries such as dieting, cosmetics, plastic surgery, modelling, and much of the entertainment industry. If you ask everyone at your gym why they are there, it could be because they had an extra slice of cake the night before, or because they are trying to fit into size two jeans, or they are working on their bikini body. I doubt everyone would say that they are exercising to improve their cardiovascular system, or to maximize their body’s metabolic efficiency, or simply for their health and wellbeing. Don’t get me wrong, I have probably said hundreds of times that I run to look good, but what I should be saying is that I run to feel good.
The idea that perfect looks will make us happy also conversely means that if we don’t look perfect then we shouldn’t be happy about ourselves. That is just not right. Where are all of the perfect people we see in the media every day? Nowhere, because they aren’t real. Instead of trying to reach perfection, which doesn’t exist, I think I will just try to be me. The happiest, healthiest, and most confident me I can be.
Instead of going for a run to stay thin and look good, go for a run to experience happiness and feel good. Trust me, confidence looks amazing on anyone.