As human beings, we a naturally drawn to seek some form of control in our lives to whatever extent. We love knowing facts, figures, and statistics to prove how successful things are going for us, so we can visually see for ourselves that our efforts are being met with reward.
Numbers are great. They are concrete and never alter in their value so we can rely on them to be accurate when we need them to tell us something. There are several different things that numbers are based on to determine the outcome of the hard work, time and energy we have put into them.
We think about how much money we want to earn for a living. We aim for the highest grades to get through school, college and university because see this as our ticket to that well-paid and well-respected job. We monitor our body weight, body measurements and dress sizes to ‘be in shape’, ‘look fantastic’ and be attractive to others. We count how many friends we have seen in the past week, to tell others how much of a busy life we are having. We tell tales of all the relationships (or *cough cough* one-night stands) we have had in order to sound more attractive and desirable. We relay every country we have been to, every city we have visited like we are checking in a passport security. On social media, we watch how many likes, comments, and shares we get, feeling overjoyed at the rising number of our following.
That is a lot of facts and figures to keep tabs of considering most of us never really liked or understood maths (if you did then I have a lot of respect for you, no lie). It seems to be that we have become a society built on numbers and stats, so we have a solid validation of how successful we are, how popular we are, how ‘fitspo’ we are, how well we eat/drink and how well off we are for the things we own and places we have seen.
But exactly why are we so obsessed with numbers?!
What are we trying to prove and who to?!
It has dawned on me that I have fallen victim to playing the numbers game for so many years, and that thought alone has scared me. I did not realise that I had become addicted, as they literally ruled my very existence in more ways than one. Through my eating disorder, the scales became my frienemy. I checked every single day how much I weighed, and that would dictate how much I would eat that day. Even as I was ‘recovering’ I became gripped by counting macros as a way to gain back ‘health’ and maintain it. I looked at how many friends I didn’t have, the relationships I hadn’t had, due to how isolated the eating disorder had made me and felt my self-esteem fall even lower.
My self-worth seemed to be defined by numbers. I believed that I was the numbers and nothing more.
Playing by the rules can be all fun and games until the novelty wears off.
This may all sound familiar to some of you or maybe only a little. But I can guarantee somewhere at some point you have relied on numbers to dictate how happy you are with yourself.
It is only natural for you to want certain things for yourself. But it is vital you think about the real reason why you want to pursue that goal. Question whether your intentions are really your best interest.
Take a look at your core values; the things that really matter to you, and see whether these aspirations you seek that are reliant on a number actually fit into those values well enough to make you happier long-term. Quite often when we look to get to a certain number, we only feel that happiness for a short period of time, before we start seeking the next figure, then the next.
No number can define your happiness. Only you can do that.
Also, we all want to be wanted. It’s another human instinct in-built inside us all. So by chasing after that ideal body or lifestyle can appear to be the answer to this search for our purpose, as others will see us as desirable, attractive and aspirational to be around. However, we only ever really need to impress one person and that is ourselves. Living for the approval, acceptance or love from someone else will have you dependent on others, restricting your ability to just be. Of course, we still need these fundamental connections with people but they are not meant to dictate how content we are with who we are.
Being your authentic, for yourself. Let nothing or nobody make you feel you need to alter yourself and fit in (quite literally) with the ideal. If someone cannot accept you for you, then let them go. You don’t need to have people throwing negative vibes at you when it is their own insecurities that need addressing.
By taking a step away from the constraints that ‘The Numbers Game’ creates, you open up so many doors to other avenues to go down. You start to see that there is more to you than those targets, figures, measurements, and numbers. You begin to see what you are really made of when you break free from the safety net ‘rules’ provide you.
There are no instructions for leading the best life. There is no one way of finding true happiness, love, and self-belief. The only way to finding out is by doing it your own way.
Escape from boundaries. Roam where you thought was off limits and explore the wonderful parts of you that you haven’t appreciated before. Let them shine. Let the world see you as you are.
You are amazing. Never forget it.