“How YOU doin’?”

July 7, 2016

Have you ever noticed someone checking you out?  


I just walked by a 20-something woman and smiled at her as I do most people I pass in my hallway.  She didn’t really smile back at me, however, it was a sort of half-acknowledgement, and as soon as she made eye contact, her eyes immediately averted and traveled down my body to my feet as she passed.  


Hmm.  What am I to make of that?


To be clear, I don’t believe she was “checking me out” as that phrase has come to mean in U.S. culture.  It just felt odd for some reason, and gave me pause. She may have just liked my shirt and shoes for all I know, but the scan she gave me was just.. odd.


We do, however, check each other out all the time on a continuum from unnoticeably to blatantly, for many conscious and unconscious reasons.  We notice eyes and hair (or lack thereof) and clothes (or lack thereof) and movements and size and skin color and gender and height and every other possible thing to notice, based on what’s important to us, what helps us place them and ourselves in our world, to determine if we're safe, or worthy, or a hundred things.  And we frequently communicate our approval or disapproval somehow, also on a continuum, unless we’re good at a neutral face and composure.


Ever since I lost a lot of weight I have noticed people checking me out in different ways.  It’s brought about a lot of contemplation.


When I was larger, I felt fairly invisible, or negatively judged, or both in either order or at the same time in the matter of a split second.  And, I inevitably judged myself, and not in a good way, and usually wanted to be invisible in that and most moments.


As I have gotten smaller, the checking out has changed, and it has been a bit startling at times.


Me, walking along, approaching and passing someone who WAS Checking Me Out:  “Oh. OH! They looked at me like THAT? What? Really? Wow. I’m attractive to that person? Hmm. Oh…. Eeew. They looked at me like THAT. I don’t want that. Hmm.. is invisible preferable to that? Wait, what do I really look like? So I’m attractive? That person never gave me a second look in the past...harrumpf.”  


And the always-present judgment of my body started as usual.  Too this, not enough that, wonder if they noticed THAT (that I don’t like), wait, why do I not like THAT, it’s so much better than it used to be.. Oh, so now I’m the one judging my old self as bad/not attractive…?


And, self-coaching would then commence for all the beliefs, thoughts and feelings behind it all.  Then, I learned to consciously and gently give myself compassion and soothing, and remember that what’s on the inside matters the most, and tell my body and my whole self that I love all of me… This process is good and it works and has helped me be more peaceful and positive and loving.  (And the bonus is that it creates so much time and energy for everything else!)


I learned to judge others just as harshly as I judged myself. We all learn this beginning at a very early age from our families, friends, religion, society, media, history, from all sorts of sources we're not even conscious of.


I became aware that when I judged others harshly, it was because I was judging myself harshly in the same way.  Ouch.


Over time, I watched my judgment of others change at the same time I was working to end my own self-criticism. As I got smaller, I had a hard time figuring out how much space I took up in various places, how big or small I really was, so I did keep judging myself and others, though differently.


Am I bigger than her, is he bigger than me, will I fit in that seat, can I pass through there without turning sideways…


Eventually, I wasn’t judging them with any kind of negativity, I noticed, and that was a passageway into size and shape acceptance and eventually appreciation for them and for me.


I very deliberately and happily "check" people out:  I see people’s hearts and essence and spirit now, and see but do not judge their size, shape, appearance. (And, when I ask them "how are you doing?", I actually want to know.)  


I’ve also taken it further and send people love and good energy because of their size and shape and appearance, no matter what it is. That’s what I always wanted, and it feels really good to be liberated from the tyranny of judgment of self and others.


I have noticed that some people can feel my love and acceptance of them, as evidenced by smiles, a more relaxed posture, a thankful look even. I have noticed how much better I feel when I give this to myself, too.  



Awesome Lauren, thank you!
By: Rose S on July 8, 2016
Great post Lauren! I have certainly experienced this and wondered about it.
By: Genevieve on July 9, 2016

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