I read an interesting article in this month’s Glamour magazine that hit very close to home. A guy with a new girlfriend gets commissioned to interview Sara Sampaio of Victoria’s Secret and Sport’s Illustrated fame. Long and short of it is that he fantasizes about the beautiful model and contemplates what this day dreaming says about his new relationship. Should he be with his new girlfriend if he has the opportunity to be with a supermodel (even if it is just a dream)? Should he be okay with a relationship even if he takes a moment in his mind to commit adultery? The especially intriguing part is that his girlfriend has the same woes. She even suggests she would understand if they broke up because she was holding him back. In the end he realizes it is okay to fantasize about a beautiful woman, and it doesn’t mean HIS woman back home is any less beautiful.
But is it okay? Is it okay to fantasize about someone else because they are beautiful? Then one might ask does that cycle begin again if you meet someone more beautiful than Sara? And so on until there are no women left because you have reached the Buddha of beauties. And who quantifies beauty?vWho determines the 1-10 scale? All of these are valid questions we ask ourselves everyday, “how do I live if I am not ‘the most'”?
I have always really struggled with the pressure to be “the most.” The most intelligent, the most beautiful, the most stylish, the most likeable. I battle with myself on a daily basis in a futile effort to achieve “the most” status. But even so, I am not content with being “the most” in the small pond, I want to beat the best to BE the best. I don’t want to compete in the little leagues when I know there is an ever better “most” in the big leagues.
The pressure to be “the most,” “the best,” the “est,” is an intense burden. No amount of eating disorders, steroid addictions, and plastic surgeries can account for human desire to be “the most.” Everyday I wake up wishing I was as beautiful as Giselle, as smart as Bill Gates, and as fast as Bolt…and then even better. And believe me I am not one to sit back and wither away in my own misery, I workout harder, train more, and buy more on a self-destructive path to achieve the unattainable goal of “the most.”
However as I get older ( and with help of an ativan along the way) I become more at peace with the subjective nature of “the most.” At the end of the day there really is no end all, be all. No one will ever be “the most” because it’s subjective (except for maybe Bolt, he may in fact be the fastest man to ever live, but then again that’s why I was a distance runner, I didnt play if I couldn’t win). I follow social media and feed my anxiety about getting better, when it’s truly killing my spirit, making my efforts to at the very least get “better” seem pointless. I will never be as fit as Michelle Lewin, so what’s the point, right? If I’ll never wake up looking like Giselle than why wake up at all?
Wrong. And if you too feel like this you probably need some of the same help I am getting. So what is the primary tool I am using to cope with my dangerous chase for “the best”:
Identify the component of your personality driving this desire. I am willing to bet it falls under the umbrella of one if not numerous Seven Deadly Sins. Those damn sins.
Pride. I have been “the best” and “the most” in the small pond so I neeeeed I wear it like a badge of honor. I love to walk around with my chest puffed out knowing I am on top, and who doesn’t, but then again, who cares? The world moves on and will have forgotten you by the time you’re done boasting. So you need to stop placing so much emphasis on pride. Rather invest in confidence, pride’s much less abrasive little sister. Know you are at the top of your game and growing, but don’t feel the need to tell everyone else, they will learn your success when the time comes, and your restraint will be much more influential than your running mouth.
Next up, Envy. This is tough because I wouldn’t consider myself a jealous person. I don’t ever turn my envy into ill will. Rather my envy manifests itself as vanity. I love beauty; I love beautiful things, beautiful clothes, beautiful people. I want to be one of the lucky ones, the one in a million beauties. But again, where does this get me? I am never going to grow seven inches and walk down a runway. Rather, I must be confidant in my inner beauty and believe that it will shine outward.
If you don’t believe your inside is beautiful, as in my case, you need to nurture your spirit. Make the spirit peaceful and rested, the beauty on the outside will reflect this effortless grace, who doesn’t want that effortless, graceful, Princess Diana beauty? Take the time, be patient with yourself, and accept help on your journey to become better on the inside.
And lastly, Wrath. The pressure to be “the most” is a brutal, angry monster. You become aggressive not so much towards others as towards yourself. You become frustrated and push yourself to your breaking point. You work your ass off to achieve the unattainable, and when you meet failure, you find frustration.
Wrath and competition become almost impossible to distinguish. They go hand in hand. You become angry for losing. But what you, we, I need to do is exchange the wrath associated with competition loss for the motivation to compete. Let the desire to be YOUR best be more powerful than the desire to be “the best,” “the most.” Going back to our story earlier, just because there are great minds, beauties, athletes, doesn’t mean you are not. It’s all relative. Learn to love your “most” and you will discover others will love it too.