Created by susan on 2019-01-20 23:33:12
I love the musical and movie of the rendition of Abba’s Mama Mia! One of my favorite songs is “The Winner Takes It All.” My husband and I saw the musical when it first came out in London and everyone was drinking champagne and dancing in the aisles. There is now a dinner theater in London where the set is similar to Mama Mia and aspiring Broadway actress’s serenade you while you dine! However, there are important life lessons to be learned when we do not win.
Serena Williams has been deemed the best female athlete of all time. She continues to triumph over obstacles in her career as a professional tennis player and it has been said that she has fearless motivation to excel. Serena once said, “I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” Serena’s response to her loss in Wimbledon finals 2018 was notable. The tennis superstar remained as gracious as ever and acknowledged her opponent, Angelique Kerber’s outstanding performance. She stated in an interview, “I was really happy to get this far and for all of the moms out there, I was playing for you today and I tried, but Angelique played really well.” Not only is she gracious – win or lose - she has also pushed back on body shaming on social media. My hat goes off to Serena because she is simply the greatest of all time on and off the court.
A common trait we see in champions is self-efficacy. A Stanford University study, notes that perceived self-efficacy is defined as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. The real value of self-efficacy is that there is no need to compete with others because the focus is on being the very best you can possibly be.
Marlo Thomas’ father, Danny Thomas is quoted with these words that he shared with his daughter that I think describe self-efficacy: “I raised you to be a thoroughbred. When thoroughbreds run, they wear blinders to keep their eyes focused straight ahead with no distractions, no other horses. They hear the crowd, but they don’t listen. They just run their own race. That’s what you have to do. Don’t listen to anyone comparing you to me or anyone else. You just run your own race.”
When it comes to our body image, it is imperative to stop making comparisons to others because it is a futile activity because in truth, there is little that is the same due to differences in genetic predispositions, history of dieting, age, and metabolism. Research shows that women are more prone to compare their bodies to thin women. This often leads to feelings of inadequacy which is characteristic of poor body image and disappointment. I challenge you to strive to be the very best version of yourself! Implement a more independent and sustainable approach to your own thoughts about your body. In lieu of comparing if your legs are longer, stomach is flatter, hips are more slender or breasts are larger, embrace your unique look (i.e., freckles). It is a process, but trust me, I have introduced the concept of self-efficacy to hundreds of patients and they are able to overcome comparing themselves to others, leading them to experience the joy of true body esteem.
I offer the following protocol that can help you develop self-efficacy:
Start a journal and record each time you compare yourself to others
Document what and to whom you are comparing yourself and the reasons why you are making a comparison
Ask yourself if you have control over changing the body regions or beauty aspect you are dissatisfied with
Focus your energy on areas where you are not powerless (i.e., physical fitness, a stylish new haircut or color change)
Over time you will no longer feel compelled to make comparisons and you can build your own self-efficacy as you acquire body esteem!