I don't know about you, but numbers give me anxiety.
The weight on the scale
Numbers put us in labeled boxes.
I used to tell myself I would read X number of pages in my book each day, and I found myself with a racing heart and not enjoying the book at all. I was flying through the book without hardly reading it, just so I could hit that number.
When I used to count calories, my anxiety was at an all-time high. I remember standing in front of the pantry crying because I couldn’t find anything that “fit my macros” for the day.
In school, I was a pretty average student surrounded by above-average friends. They were constantly doing better on tests than I was, they got higher ACT scores than I did, their GPAs were higher than mine despite taking harder classes than I was. It was stressful. I felt like I was always in competition but then I was constantly let down when I consistently “lost”.
I stress myself out all the time thinking I’m “getting too old” (at my ripe age of 23). I tell myself I should be so much farther in life than I am. I look at people who have been in business for 10 years and compare myself to them, wondering why I’m not as successful as they are, regardless of the fact that I’m only 23 and they’re more like 30. I make myself feel like I’m running out of time to accomplish my goals, which is absolutely ridiculous, but it’s a thought that I have daily.
I used to step on the scale and measure my waist 5 TIMES A DAY, and without fail my day would be ruined if the number went up. Of course, as you eat food and drink water throughout the day, your body will begin to weigh more because you now have more volume inside of you. It didn’t mean that I actually gained weight, but I didn’t care. Seeing the number rise meant that I had been devalued.
We are addicted to numbers. We feel the need to quantify every aspect of our lives. Think about it…how often do you catch yourself beating yourself up because you didn’t hit your PR in your sport? Or, seeing the weight on the scale and being disappointed in yourself? If we’re being honest, we’ve all been guilty of this at one point or another.
When you view life from the perspective of numbers, nothing will ever be good enough.
But what even are numbers? You can’t see them, hear them, or taste them. Yet we let these things define who we are. We let them limit us and set boundaries.
Numbers instill limiting beliefs.
When we get preoccupied with numbers, we keep ourselves small; we become totally distracted from creating a meaningful life. We were not meant to compete with each other. We were meant to live our best life while uplifting and supporting those around us. So why do we feel the need to constantly compartmentalize our performance in life?
I think so many things in life are abstract to us, so in order to understand, we assign a number to everything so that it can be defined and ranked on a scale. At the same time, this may be causing us to lose sight of reality. Numbers are helpful in many ways, but they are only a tool to help us understand life, they do not define life. A number does not define happiness, laughter, love, experiences, adventure, spontaneity, or human connection, the things that truly make up life.
Numbers don’t define you.
My grades didn’t define me. I am now a business owner. My weight doesn’t define me, my friends and family still love me regardless. My salary doesn’t define me, as a broke college student I lived life to the fullest. My age doesn’t define me, I am still the same person with the same passions.
You have so much within you. You have love, passion, memories, health, vigor, vitality, and LIFE! Think about how much happens within a lifetime….you can’t put a number on a complexity like that.
So love hard, be present, and crash into your fears, because your life is not quantifiable.