A spoonful of narcissism never fixed a thing

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There’s this holiday health program at work that gets promoted each year around this time.

You weigh in once a month, November – January, and earn points for maintaining, or even – bonus! – losing weight.

It’s offered to extend accountability and encouragement in living a healthy life style.

Sounds super, right?

Kind of.

I joined the team that organizes these health events a few years ago. Being passionate about being healthy, I jumped at the chance to help others to do the same.

Typically I’m all about participation. Except when it involves weighing myself.

At the location where I work, I was on “duty” to weigh and log participants confidentially.

It seemed like the perfect out. As the “weigher”, there was no one else to come by my office, pressuring me to get weighed. I was that person.

The morning of the weigh-ins, I had forgotten all about it. It was a cold morning, so I threw on several layers, including riding boots and leg warmers.

Running later than normal, I didn’t have time to make my usual breakfast. I was also conveniently craving a Starbucks coffee, so I picked up a croissant and a ….let’s just say it was not a skinny latte.

There was nothing skinny about my morning.

As I drove to work, I mentally scanned through my schedule for the day.

Aw crap. Weigh-ins are today. I’m definitely not getting on that scale.

You see,  I don’t own a scale, nor do I plan to. I monitor my weight based on how I feel, look, and fit in clothes, and will occasionally check in on my weight at the gym when I’m focused on leaning down.

It’s just a personal choice in an effort to not obsess over a number.

After the initial surge of participants died down, I found myself alone with the large, industrial scale. I stared at it, suddenly curious about my weight.

Come on Baby Girl, just step on it real quick. No one’s looking. You really outta participate. 

I set my coffee down and went for it. My weight flashed on the wall in red digital numbers.

Hrmph. A few more pounds than expected. It’s definitely because I have a full stomach right now. And my riding boots. And  I haven’t peed in a while.

I discretely logged my weight as a few male co-workers rounded the corner.

They were exchanging stories from their glory days and what their stats were when they were young. For most men, weight isn’t a sore topic. It’s more of a badge of honor.

“So what about you, darlin’? How much do you weigh?”

I choked a little on my sip of coffee.

“Me?”

“Yeah. You look healthy, what’s your weight?” All three men stared, waiting for my answer.

I thought for 2 seconds about lying, then realized it wasn’t worth the humiliation of them challenging me on it, so I told them.

“Really!?” one of them baffled. “You’re a dense little thing!”

Ahem. I kept a pleasant look on my face.

“Yes sir, I sure am.”

“You lift weights though, don’t you.”

“Yep, sure do.”

“I can tell! Way to go girl. Healthy and dense.”

[Insert emoji “not amused” face.]

I picked up my cup and swallowed some pride along with my holiday cheer beverage, fighting that little female voice in my head that tells me lighter, smaller is better.

Well that backfired.

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The guys meant no offense; to them it was impressive. To me, it was like letting the cat out of the bag and watching the dumb, furry thing run away with the image I was hoping to uphold.

But what exact image was that anyway? That I was a buck 10? Light and dainty? Who am I kidding…these thighs do not lie.

Nor do I want them to.

Learning to love yourself is a tricky thing. Too much of it, and we become self-obsessed. Too little, and we’re crippled with insecurity.

Either extreme will make us miserable.

The longer I live, the more I find that focusing primarily on finding myself, looking out for myself, and essentially, living for self, the more imprisoned I feel. The world around me flaunts an empty promise that the pursuit of self brings freedom, when in fact I find the opposite to be true.

Rather than finding this great sense of purpose in attempting to better and perfect myself, I end up with less satisfaction, if I’m honest.  Because like most things in life, fulfillment is never found in selfishness. Nothing ever feels like enough.

Likewise, I find that the less I worry about creating and maintaining a persona of who I want to be, and focus instead on living outward….giving rather than taking….a sense of fulfillment just falls in place. And who I am just emerges naturally, effortlessly.

It boils down to finding yourself when you lose yourself.

Stepping on that big scale reminded me how futile it is to spend so much energy trying to craft and uphold a perception of who we are, living in fear someone might call our bluff. Do I want to be the best version of “me” I can be? Absolutely. Does that require inner and outer work? For sure.

But you rock who are you the most, when you’re focused on being interested rather than interesting. Being real rather than perfect.

High density weight and all.

We need just the right amount of self love. Perhaps at the intersection of gratitude for what God’s given us, love for who He’s made us, and humility to remind us what we are not, we will find that right dosage.

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