You Are What You Pay Attention To

There’s this stupid photo of a dress that just went viral, and my Facebook news feed is blowing up with people arguing over whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black. The top trending topic worldwide on Twitter right now is #whiteandgold. If you listen hard enough, I’m pretty sure you can literally hear civilization coming to an end around us as billions of brains grind to a halt. I’m going to write this blog post, then log off of the computer for the rest of the night to escape the bread and circus atmosphere for at least a few good hours.

This is appropriate, according to today’s Beautiful You prompt. I’m slowly moving along, and am now at Day 23: Realize That You Are What You Pay Attention To. This chapter asks us to think about what we focus on and give our energy to. If we are what we pay attention to, am I comfortable with that reflection of me? If not, what would I change to better represent who I am?

I focus on a few major things these days: working out/getting in shape, working, and going on pilgrimage this fall. If “focus” also means “waste time” then I also spend way too much time focusing on my looks (mostly hating them), watching TV, and playing around on social media. I’ve been working on trying to take the pressure off of myself when it comes to hating my body, and have found that working out, eating well, and reading this book (albeit slowly) has helped a lot. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m getting there. But the internet addiction is real and scary. The best thing for me is going to be sticking to a schedule and planning in lots of time to be offline.

When I think about how people see me, I want them to think of me as a reader, writer, animal lover, and world traveler. I want them to think that I’m friendly and kind, and though a little awkward, actually quite interested in who they are as human beings. I’d love to be considered a great marketer, but given the amount of internet addiction I’d need to encourage to keep up to speed with every single change we’ve got going, I’m just not ready to put that much strain on my mental health.

And that’s that for the day. I’m going to go read a book. I’ll be back tomorrow with some great photographs. Hope you’ll come back to see.

5 thoughts on “You Are What You Pay Attention To

  1. treatwilliams says:

    Hey nice post- I think it’s very true. Does it explain how to change what you pay attention to? Seems to me it’s not a simple matter of choosing, but rather a reprogramming of sort sort is required. Ideas on this would actually be very useful to me at this moment in time if you or the book has any notions. The 30 days to form a new habit thing perhaps?

    • Anna says:

      This book doesn’t explain how to reprogram yourself to think differently, but I’m sure there are others out there. Beautiful You is more of a guide to daily “meditation” on topics related to changing self-image. But I think it’s a good jumping off point, because so far every one of the topics has made me REALLY stop and think about just not how I’m treating myself re: body issues, but also how this is deeply affecting the rest of my life and relationships. It’s been a little like having a very cheap personal therapist – the book asks me a question and I spend time mulling it over, then talk about it. Except if I were meeting with a therapist, s/he’d expect me to answer then instead of taking a week to get around to it, I guess. As far as this topic goes, though, I guess the first step has to be choosing to make things different, because that’s the only way to make a real solid effort to take next steps (like finding a resource to help change habits). Which reminds me, I did see a book about habits in the airport on the bestsellers list. Let me get back to you about that. It might be worth looking up…

      • treatwilliams says:

        That might be helpful thanks. I might have a look at Beautiful You also though it sounds like it’s aimed at women. Ha! There’s a feature about that dress on Newsnight tonight, like, the highbrow news discussion programme on BBC2. Funny. Also Leonard Nimoy. My thoughts are with you at this time! There’s a blogger I follow called The Belle Jar who has written a big tribute to Spock.

      • Anna says:

        Here’s the book. It looks like there’s a large focus on business, but I think the fundamental rules should be the same. It’s about the science of habit, and how to make/break them. Also, re: BY – it is aimed at women, but I think that’s just because the market isn’t there quite yet to get enough male buyers, so it makes sense to specifically target ladies. I have quite a few guy friends who’ll be brave enough to talk with me about body issues one on one, but would never hear the end of it if they brought stuff like up with the guys in their lives, and that’s terribly sad. Everyone’s fucked up in some way. The sooner we all get used to it and admit that finding ways to help ourselves isn’t just OK, it’s GREAT, the easier it’s going to be to figure out how to not perpetuate the cycle with our kids, etc. Jeez, I should have just written another blog post…

      • treatwilliams says:

        Yes I think beautiful you would be an embarrassing one for me to read on the bus. Also it’s not totally where my difficulties lie. Thanks for the link.

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