Radio talk show host Dennis Prager often shares with his audience something his mother used to tell him, which went something like, “The happiest people I know are the ones I haven’t met yet.” This means that we all have problems, even the people who seem like they don’t.
In our culture, which glorifies physical perfection and sex appeal to a huge degree, this is really important. It’s easy to look at movie stars, models, pro athletes and other celebrities and think less of ourselves. Instead of drawing inspiration from these people, we end up resenting them and feeling insecure.
I’ve been blessed to have a wife who understands and supports my not-so-normal career. I’ve traveled the world alone with beautiful models and appeared in magazines, television shows, and movies with more beautiful women, so needless to say she’s had her fair share of pressure and insecurity.
The following chapter is taken from my book, Spiritually Fit:
Doing It for the Right Reasons: The Story of Anita Bartram
You get to pick up my book whenever you want to, but my beautiful wife Anita has to live with me all the time! My ’round-the-clock involvement in the fitness industry has created some extra pressures for the people who are closest to me, and they’ve had to work a little harder to figure out why it’s really good for them to exercise and eat right. But I’ll let Anita tell you all about it herself:
“Just because I’m married to the guy who wrote this book doesn’t mean that keeping fit is any easier for me. In fact, it can be even harder sometimes. “Some of the people Clark runs into in his line of work can be pretty superficial, and for some reason they hold me to a higher standard. They have this preconceived notion that I must be this perfect, flawless creature, and I often find myself thinking that I’m supposed to live up to their false standards.” And then there are all the women Clark works with. I admit I have a hard time with that sometimes. Not because I don’t trust Clark, but because I tend to compare myself to the “perfect” images these girls convey in their photographs. That can be a lot of pressure!â€¨”To top it all off, I seem to be a living example of the scripture that says familiarity breeds contempt. I know Clark’s an expert who can get anyone in the best shape possible – I’ve seen it happen countless times with his clients and fans who tell him how he’s been an inspiration to them. But I often find myself not wanting advice from him. I guess I just take it too personally. Even if I ask him a question and he innocently says something like ‘maybe those chips aren’t such a great idea,’ I hear ‘you’re fat and out of shape!’â€¨”Clark doesn’t put any pressure on me, but I sure put pressure on myself! It’s something I’ve had to work through, and as challenging as it’s been it’s helped me grow. I’m not out of shape, but I could do better. I may indulge in a snack from time to time (by the way, so does Clark, but don’t tell him I told you that!) but I try not to overdo it. And let me tell you, when you’re surrounded by people who are paid to stay super-fit all the time, you tend to get a little self-conscious no matter how good a shape you’re in!â€¨”For me, fitness isn’t a profession, but it’s important in my life. When I stop comparing myself to others, when I keep things in the right perspective, I find great pleasure and joy in exercise and good nutrition. I exercise and eat right because it feels good, and also because I want to set a good example for my children. My kids love to exercise because they see how much fun Clark and I have being active, and they love to pray and go to Church because they see that we take our spiritual side very seriously, too.â€¨”The two things go hand in hand, and I’ve even noticed that I exercise more when I pray more. I tend to withdraw and not do much of anything when I’m not purposefully investing time in prayer, and I benefit more in every aspect of my life when I consistently pray and ask God to help me deal with my insecurities.â€¨”I love being married to Clark, and our relationship has stood the test of time because it has many dimensions–physical as well as spiritual. I may get frustrated or intimidated by his profession sometimes, but I know that’s an illusion that isn’t real. Maybe you’ve had the same pressures from images you’ve seen on TV or in magazines. Believe me, all those people aren’t perfect (I’ve met a lot of them and they don’t even pretend to be!) and if you can relax, try not be so hard on yourself, and get in shape for the right reasons for you, I think your fitness endeavors will be a lot more fun and a lot easier, too.”
Think About This!
How have you let society affect how you see and value yourself?