Do you ever feel self-conscious about your thighs? Do you look at your legs and think, “Ewww these are disgusting, I should not be allowed in public!!” Do you scroll through your feed and feel like less of human comparing your legs to others? Do you believe you would be so much happier if your legs could just get toned? Have you resigned yourself to wearing pants until infinity time because you “know” your cellulite frightens people?
The good news is, you are not alone. The bad news is, knowing you’re not alone doesn’t really help at all. It doesn’t give you permission to change your mind but instead unites you with other women who are just as unhappy as you. And team unhappy can’t surmount this difficulty using commiseration and will power.
If you want your suffering to end, you must choose to dig deeply into your own mental turbulence. I can however, provide you with a guide to get your journey started.
Your journey begins with a lesson in grammar; a brief exploration of the adjective.
Adjective: a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it.
Basically adjectives are words that describe people, places and things. You use adjectives all the time. Like, thin, strong, athletic, fat, thick, weak, skinny, small, flabby, chunky, large, thunderous, smooth, short, stubby, gangly and dimply. The list goes on. Adjectives on their own are not criminal offenders. They are after all, just words. We give them meaning and their meaning can change through time. (Consider the adjective nasty. As defined by the dictionary, it means nasty. But used today it means something closer to awesome rather than gross.)
Languae and life would be very boring without descriptive terms. It would be near impossible to write poetry if adjectives didn’t exist. They are also essential in communicating your experiences to others. Consider this example: If I say, “My legs are smooth.” You will immediately think about what the experience of smooth is and assume you know what my legs are like. If I say, “Her legs are fat.” You will immediately scan your brain’s memory of all the legs you’ve ever seen and assume her legs look a certain way and are of a certain size. Here is where we must use our brain power and dig a little deeper.
How do you know a leg is smooth? Duh. Because you’ve shaved your legs and you know what it’s like when the hair is growing back in; ish is NOT smooth.
How do you know someone’s legs are fat? Duh. Instagram shows us what fat legs aren’t.
My point here is that adjectives, like rough and smooth, fat and skinny, are terms that describe different qualities, but they are relative to one another. For instance, a freshly shaved leg is smoother than a one day old shave, which is smoother than a 4 day old shave. After 1 day your leg feels rough but only in comparison to the fresh shave. After 4 days, the 1 day old shave feels smooth, but only in comparison to the 4th day of stubble growth. Starting to catch my drift?
Let’s play out the lesson using the “legs are fat” example. You only know your legs are fat because the girl next to you is leaner than you. If you never saw anyone leaner than you, you might think your legs are lean because everyone else is fatter than you! The term is relative.
You cannot describe your thighs using adjectives unless you are comparing them to something else. Your legs can’t be big unless you can compare them to legs that are smaller. Your legs cannot be long, unless there are short legs to compare them to. Your legs can’t be toned unless there are legs that are not toned to judge them against. Ready to graduate?
Toned, skinny, smooth, athletic, large, jiggly, long, short and everything in between are relative terms. These adjectives require you to judge yourself against others. If all people had the same leg lengths, there would be no such thing as short or long legs. If all people had the same diameter thighs, there would be no such thing as thick or thin legs. Ya feel?
To graduate you must recognize that adjectives require you to pass judgement. Using them to describe parts of your body means you are allowing your relation to others to define you. Let’s drive it home with a crass social phenomenon that may or may not actually exist. “A pretty girl will always surround herself with a group of girls who she believes are less pretty than she is to make herself seem prettier.” (Boy Science, 101). According to boys, she is attempting to boost her self concept through relativity. She can believe, without any doubt or internal struggle, that she is “pretty” because no one else in the group is prettier than she is. She also hopes that boys, who are looking at the group of girls, will agree with her self concept because relative to her company, she will be defined as “pretty”. *I am not saying this is always or even ever the case. Clearly sweeping generalizations aren’t heroic champions of truth. But it is an easily digested example of how we can use relativity to boost our own ideas about ourselves.
Someone will always come along and put you in your relative place. A constant never ending comparison really leaves no room for enjoyment.
So what can you do?
Well, for starters, you can remove yourself from social media. And then you can move to a small town where the thighs in your community are fatter, stubbier and thicker than yours, especially if you’re desire is to have thin, long and lean legs. Your happiness, body positivity and self satisfaction will sky rocket!! (please read with INTENSE SARCASM.)
But if that’s not an option for you, you can cut through the BS and simply remind yourself that adjectives are relative. And you can’t use relativity to describe an absolute singularity! AKA YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND. You have YOUR KIND of legs. You have YOUR KIND of body. Your thighs are exactly the RIGHT KIND for you. And when you scroll through your feed or see other people who might spark jealousy or nasty judgments, try to be aware of the adjectives in your thoughts. When you see others, remember, they have THEIR KIND of body, they have THEIR KIND of legs, they have the exact right KIND of thighs for them. If you want to end your needless suffering you must embrace this idea. You must carry forward on your own and become increasingly aware of your own internal dialogue. You must remember that words are symbols and we give them meaning. Adjectives describe our experience in relative ways to better communicate with one another and not necessarily define who we are.
It may be hard at first; you’re used to automatically passing judgements because of adjectives. But with repeated practice you can easily shift your mind to being absolutely, instead of, relatively KIND.