The comparison trap
Being on a permanent quest for a more positive outlook on life, one thing I have come across is judgement. I sometimes judge others and their actions, maybe people judge me. But judgment is just a mirror of the feelings and insecurities of the person doing the judging. If and when I judge others, that means I’m really judging myself and also letting the judgements of others impact me as well.
Compare and despair
One step to not caring about other people's opinions and judgements is to stop judging others and stop judging myself. Usually the critique we reserve for ourselves is many times harsher than what we would ever say to anyone out loud.
How do I stop? I have to be mindful to catch myself thinking negatively and criticizing myself or others and stop. Some things tend to trigger negative, critical and judgemental thinking. Posts on social media, fashion magazines, trying on clothes in a changing room in a busy store can all lead to a negative downward spiral. If I register that something creates this effect for me, I try to eliminate it.
I unfollowed those people on Instagram who’s posts made me critical of my own appearance, success, life or just being not good enough. Just spending less time on social media can help me feel better about myself, try a detox from Instagram and see what you think - this post on Digital Trends has some good application options that help you schedule time away from certain addictive apps.
I stopped reading fashion magazines years ago, their negative effect on self-image and self-esteem are frequently noted. I rarely shop for clothes and never during frantic sale times; trying on clothing with the pressure to buy, wrong sizes, bad lighting, is a pressure cooker of overwhelming feelings.
How do I stop others from judging me? As the famous quote from Dr Wayne Dyer goes “what other people think of me is none of my business”. I don’t care about other people's opinions of me, why waste my energy thinking about them? Overthinking awkward situations, not doing something because I might embarrass myself, saying the wrong thing and then dwelling on it in my head. I have definitely stumbled upon all of these in my life and let them affect me. Now I’m trying to let go of those negative feelings, and the more I do so, the less they arise.
Body positive starts in the mind
Stopping judgemental and critical thoughts are one part of the equation. The other part is positive thinking. Throughout my day I try to look for the positive and recognise it when I see it. If judging others leads to judging myself, then positive thinking about others will lead to positive thinking about myself. I try to compliment someone, be polite and kind to the people I cross paths with during the day. Try to project positive and calm emotions in traffic or a queue; the ultimate challenge but it can be done. And like with everything health related, consistency is key.