I am ugly. I am unattractive. I know that my skin is awful, my hair is greasy, and society simply does not permit women to weigh as much as I do.
But, mind you, this is not the same as having low self-esteem. Because when I look in the mirror, I hate my body, not myself. I simply shake my head and think, “This isn’t me. This mediocre sack of meat isn’t me. I’m just renting it out, driving it around. It’s a tool. It’s a vehicle. I use it to take myself places that I need to go, and that’s all there is to it.”
Ok fine, I’m not Zen enough to actually believe I can escape with that train of thought. The truth is, I am frustrated with the irreconcilable disconnect between my pride and my presence. The acne mask and the fat suit egregiously fail to conform with my mental mockups of my perfectly badass self. I suppose the only real solution then, besides undergoing extensive surgeries, is to upload my conscience to a supercomputer.
Maybe the Singularity will happen, and everything will be great, but in the meantime, I much prefer the Internet to real life interactions because most of you haven’t got a clue as to what I look like, and if you don’t like me it’s because my ideas suck and not because you find my face unpleasant. The Internet allows me to temporarily abandon the limitations of my subpar physical avatar.
Even if people are especially curious about my appearance, I only allow them to make vague inferences based off a single profile picture, uniform across all my social media haunts, taken a very long time ago at a surprisingly flattering angle, in which I actually manage to trick them into thinking I look quite average. Well, I don’t. I’ve gained 50 pounds since then, and academic stress makes my acne flare up like nobody’s business.
Regardless, I decided a while back that everyone has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, and I would do well to focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses. Even people who are bad at everything are less bad at some things than they are at others. After some introspection, I concluded that I was less bad at learning things than I was at looking pretty, so I would ultimately benefit far more from sharpening my skills and pursuing a technical career than from trying in vain to undo the effects of losing the genetic lottery.
As for the romantic side of things, I avoid unnecessary heartbreak by keeping myself from harboring silly delusions about reciprocated love in the first place. I have rationalized that it is okay for me to be ugly because 1) marriage is not the optimal arrangement for everyone and 2) the human race would likely carry on just fine without my genetic contribution.
I am irritated with the clichÃ© that “everyone is beautiful” because surface friendliness and pretending to be PC don’t solve anything. It doesn’t help the young girl with confidence issues because even if you’re “nice” enough to tell her that she’s beautiful, are you nice enough to, like, actually date her? Words mean nothing without actions, yet it’s patently unfair to expect people not to be shallow because at the end of the day, beauty is beauty, attraction is attraction, and sexual desire is governed by deep-rooted evolutionary impulses that people don’t understand and can’t control.
It would be far more useful to promote the idea that people can contribute to the world in a variety of interesting and fulfilling ways besides making others salivate over their bodies. You can make original scientific breakthroughs! You can regale people with tales of heroic conquest! You can build products that make people’s lives easier! But I guess changing the world wouldn’t make for an effective beauty products campaign.
There aren’t many activities in life where just showing up guarantees results. That’s because life is hard. Building a business is difficult, there’s not a step-by-step formula for success. Relationships are complex and can fail even if you do everything right. But there is one thing in life that’s a guarantee: Exercise.
Nothing so simple can have as much of a positive effect on your life. Exercising is by far the smartest thing you can do if you want to live a happier, more active, longer, more vibrant, more energetic life. I’ll go as far as saying that it is essential for true success because well-being defines success. And it’s not even hard to do.
Do you believe me when I say its “simple”?
Here’s why I consider exercise to be simple: 80% of the benefits from exercise are from showing up and exerting yourself. Virtually no training is required. Your body was built for physical activity. You don’t need to think about it or worry that what you’re doing is wrong. Any physical activity for an extended period of time on a regular basis counts as exercise. Just keep it simple to start and do natural human motions: running, pushups, pullups, jumping, dancing, etc.
Obviously there are ways to make exercising even more beneficial by learning more or following specific workout programs, which requires additional effort. When you are ready for more advanced programs, remember to start light, use proper form, and over time add more weight and/or run faster. As you become physically fit and push yourself harder, exercise becomes very challenging. But at its most basic level exercise is stupid easy.
I mean seriously, think about it. You don’t have to know anything or do anything extremely difficult. Exercise only requires that you show up and try. And IF you do this, you will have more energy, feel better about yourself, and see improvements in your health and motivation, at a minimum.
Is this obvious to you? Then why don’t you do it—¦
You are probably saying to yourself, “I know, I know—¦exercise is good for you. Everyone knows that exercise is good for you—¦” If you’re saying this and you already exercise regularly then you most likely haven’t read this far. If you feel this way, but you don’t actually exercise, before you stop reading, hear me out.
Myth #1 —“ Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 —“ Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 —“ Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 —“ Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them.
We are, you might say, “brainwashed” into thinking that money is the source of happiness, while what we really need to know is that inner peace is something that comes from within
The many factors which divide us are actually much more superficial than those we share. Despite all of the things that differentiate us —“ race, language, religion, gender, wealth and so on —“ we are all equal concerning our fundamental humanity.
Our world and our lives have become increasingly interdependent, so when our neighbour is harmed, it affects us too. Therefore we have to abandon outdated notions of “them” and “us” and think of our world much more in terms of a great “US”, a greater human family.
Gaining mastery over our destructive propensities, through the exercise of awareness and self-discipline with regard to our body, speech, and mind, frees us from the inner turmoil that naturally arises when our behaviour is at odds with our ideals. In place of this turmoil come confidence, integrity, and dignity – heroic qualities all human beings naturally aspire to.
It is vital that young people, the guardians of our future, develop a strong awareness of the futility of violence and war. They can learn from the examples of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., that non-violence is the best way to ensure peace in the long term. Because the twentieth century was a century of violence, let us make the twenty-first a century of dialogue.
The quality of everything we do: our physical actions, our verbal actions, and even our mental actions, depends on our motivation. That’s why it’s important for us to examine our motivation in our day to day life. If we cultivate respect for others and our motivation is sincere, if we develop a genuine concern for others’ well-being, then all our actions will be positive.
The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions.
Every one of us is getting older, which is a natural process. Time is constantly moving on, second by second. Nothing can stop it, but what we can do is use our time properly; that is in our hands. Whether we believe in a spiritual tradition or not, we need to use our time meaningfully. If over days, weeks, months and years, we have used our time in a meaningful way —“ when our last day comes, we’ll be happy, we’ll have no regrets.
The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you think about this and come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, that it is only destructive, you can begin to distance yourself from anger.
Although violence and the use of force may appear powerful and decisive, their benefits are short-lived. Violence can never bring a lasting and long term resolution to any problem, because it is unpredictable and for every problem it seems to solve, others are created. On the other hand, truth remains constant and will ultimately prevail.
- If you can make a reasonable living doing what you love, DO WHAT YOU LOVE.. You may not get rich, but you’ll get to do what you love. Don’t quit your day job until doing what you love pays the bills, but don’t incur big debt getting a law degree or an MBA if you really want to be an artist.
- It’s amazing how easy life is when you’re honest with yourself and others. This doesn’t mean you should be rude and inconsiderate, but it’s better to be upfront when you have to rather than concealing things and letting them grow.
- Set up a safety fund. Yes, I know the savings account interest rates suck right now, but having 3-6 months of expenses in readily accessible cash can save you a lot of hassle. It also allows you to loan money to friends when needed (do this judiciously).
- Start lifting weights yesterday.
- Don’t get fat.
- Stand up for yourself. People will do anything for their own personal gain at others expense: Cut in line, take money/property, bully/belittle, guilt- trip… Do not accept this. These people know they’re doing the wrong thing and back down surprisingly quickly when confronted. In a public setting people tend to keep quiet until one person speaks up.
- Staying in shape is dirt simple. Body fat is dictated by what you eat and your activity. Working out affects 2 things mainly: fat and muscle. Aerobic exercise burns fat and builds a little muscle. Resistance training builds muscle and burns a little fat. If you’re fat you’re eating too much and/or not doing aerobic exercise. Period.
1. No, he/she isn’t the only one. There are millions of people. Go meet more. Those aren’t your only friends. They are just your only friends NOW. You can make more, and often better, friends.
2. Molehills, not mountains. Keep things in perspective. You might feel shitty because you fucked up about this one thing. In a year you probably won’t remember it and it will be inconsequential unless you keep chastising yourself for it. Everyone else is too busy being paranoid about themselves to have to remember every stupid thing you did.
3. Chastising yourself and beating yourself up about things is useless. Take responsibility, do what you can to fix it, and then accept that you have done all you can. You can’t fix every mistake. Learn from them. Repeat them until you learn from them if you have to. So you know you get annoying, violent, or depressed when you drink? Don’t drink. You know you get an upset stomach when you drink milk and eat a burrito… don’t do it.
4. Don’t let pride/fear get in the way. So what if those people who you don’t know will make fun of you for riding your bike as you try to get healthy? You aren’t here to please other people unless they mean something to you. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be proud of who you are but that you shouldn’t let pride dictate what you can and can’t do because you are afraid of what people will think of you if you make a mistake, fail, or look like a fool while trying.
5. People’s opinions are just that. They really don’t matter. Opinions are like lies. The only power they have is if someone believes them to be fact. As they aren’t fact and just some other person’s point of view you can discard most of them. That doesn’t mean don’t listen to advice from loved ones… but it does mean that it is just advice and their opinion.
6. Get moving. Every day you sit there wallowing in self doubt, fear, and sadness you only make it worse. Your journey is still going and it doesn’t pause for anyone. Go out there and fuck up. Get out there and make a fool of yourself. Put your neck on the line and fail. At least you are doing something and that alone is something to be proud of.
7. Ask for help. This one goes in line with pride. There is nothing wrong in asking for help. If you don’t know something then ask. If you can’t do something alone then ask for help. It’s OK. Anyone who judges you for it isn’t worth the time (and that is just their opinion anyway).
8. Form good habits. Wake up early even if you have nothing to do and get dressed. Get out of those smelly pjs. Respect yourself and have some pride in what you look and smell like. Eat healthy. Learn to feed yourself properly. Help people if you can. Focus on solutions not problems. Do your best all the time. All that sort of stuff. Will, commitment, and discipline will get you places.
9. Don’t say “I can’t” until you at least tried, gave it your honest to god best shot, and failed… a few times. Lots of things are hard as hell to do right. Stop telling yourself you can’t do it just because you are too scared to try and fail.
10. Be patient with yourself. No one was born knowing everything they know now and things they know how to do now. No one knows everything. Everyone, every single person, fucks up. So will you, so give yourself a little breathing room.
Bonus: Last but not least…
Learn to forgive. Yourself as much as others. People will do you wrong sometimes. Shit happens. Forgive them if you can so you can move on. Holding on to all that weight just slows you down.
At the start of the new millennium the Dalai Lama apparently issued eighteen rules for living. Since word travels slowly in the digital age these have only just reached me. Here they are.
- Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
- When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
- Follow the three Rs:
- Respect for self
- Respect for others
- Responsibility for all your actions.
- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
- Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
- Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
- When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
- Spend some time alone every day.
- Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
- Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
- Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
- A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
- In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
- Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
- Be gentle with the earth.
- Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
- Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
- Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.