{With the beautiful ladies in my wedding last summer, the day before I got married}

I’ve been meaning to share my story on No Fat Talk Tuesday for quite some time. I was actually planning on posting my story today, but it’s a story I’ve told very few people and it’s taken me longer to find the words than I had expected. So today, I want to talk about comparison. Man, I shudder just saying that word because of what it means of each one of us.

More often than not, the times when I tend to get down on myself most are the moments when I am surrounded by other women. Perhaps it’s because they are beautiful, or super outgoing, or because they always seem to be having a good time and I’m feeling like the Grinch. Whatever it may be at the moment, it strikes me to the core, and instead of enjoying the moment, I start to question who I am and what I have to offer those around me.

In the last couple months, I’ve become acutely aware that fat talk flows directly from a lack of security. Have you ever asked yourself why it matters so much? Why we feel the need to be the prettiest, skinniest, smartest or fittest woman in our social circles? I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately, trying to figure out why I fall into the comparison trap more often than I would like to. Then, last week, I read something that made me stop in my tracks. It spoke directly to me, and I’m guessing it might speak to you, too.

“Most of us have what I’ll call a prominent false positive: one thing that we think would make us more secure in all things. You want to know how you can pinpoint your own prominent false positive? The thing you associate most with security? Think of a person you believe to be secure and determine what earthly thing he or she has that you don’t feel like you possess, at least in the matching measure. That’s liable to be your prominent false positive: the one thing that would make you more secure in all things. Needless to say, we would all like any number of things to give us the security we’re after, but we each of a tendency to prioritize one above the rest. Our attachment to it is not a cerebral thing. Few of us would reason that the weight we’re giving to the object or circumstance makes sense intellectually. It’s an emotional thing. Often we’re not even aware of it, but we demonstrate it by the inordinate power we assign to it.”

- Beth Moore, So Long Insecurityย 

Did this hit you the way it hit me? If I had to identify my “prominent false positive” I believe it would be thinness. I’ve made strides toward healing and growth, but there are still times when I think that “If I was skinnier” I would be happier, more secure, more confident.

Now it’s your turn! I challenge you to identify your prominent false positive. If you’re comfortable enough to share, I would love to have a discussion in the comments section, too. I’ll be doing my best to answer the comments promptly.

Madison

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  • UrbanWife

    My prominent false positive has always been my hair. It’s wild, curly, unruly and doesn’t seem to grow long ever and therefore, I’ve always compared myself to all the other girls with gorgeous locks. Wow, that was pretty difficult to admit but there it is. Thanks for this post, Madison.

    • Madison Mayberry

      I find it so interesting to hear what everyone’s “false positive” is, because we’re all so different! Thanks for having the courage to share yours and be open about it. :)

  • Stephie80b

    My prominent false positive is definitely to be outgoing. I am extremely shy. It has affected me my whole life. I kept thinking I would outgrow it, but I never did. I’m 32 years old now. That’s considered grown up, right? I really feel like it has held me back and I always wonder at what I could have accomplished in life had I been ale to speak up or ask questions or say hi to someone. Atrggghhh. Now i feel like crying.

    • Madison Mayberry

      Thank you for having the courage to voice those feelings! I find that I identify as a “closet introvert pretending to be an extrovert” and have to really push myself to put myself out there. Sometimes I feel an incredible pressure to “perform” or at least that’s how it feels to me. Maybe you can relate? My mom recently started reading a book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and I’m dying to read it this summer. Perhaps it will help me embrace my introverted nature a bit more. :)

      Here’s the link if you’re interested:
      http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352145/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339514439&sr=8-1&keywords=Quiet

  • http://natalieborton.com Natalie Lynn Borton

    Madison, what I beautiful post!! I’m right there with you on the false positive of thinness. I find myself running in circles because while from experience I’ve learned that thin does not necessarily mean happy, my heart is fooled too often–brainwashed by the culture we live in.

    Thank you for sharing!! I look forward to your “no fat talk” story in the future :)

    • Madison Mayberry

      Thanks, Natalie! I’m nervous and excited to share my story. I think it’s about time, considering so many other women have been brave enough to do so on No Fat Talk Tuesday.

  • Emilie

    definitely agree with you on the thinness. It’s sad how easily it can take over our thoughts!

    • Madison Mayberry

      It’s amazing how all-consuming it can be, isn’t it? And the worst part is how it steals our joy! (or at least it does for me) I know it’s a cliche at this point, but all our bodies are created so differently that to assume we can all achieve the same look as the women in movies, on tv on in magazines is crazy.

  • http://www.theflippingcouple.com/ Cindy @ The Flipping Couple

    Wow, that excerpt definitely resonates with me. I think my false positive might be happiness. When someone seems so happy I want to BE them, but then I realize I’d never be happy with their life and I have to find my own happy place in the life I’ve created.

    • Madison Mayberry

      Gosh, I can relate, Cindy! Sometimes other people are just so bubbly and happy and I feel like I need to be that happy, too! It’s it crazy that we can make almost anything competitive?

  • Lauren

    I totally resonate with this! I used to be underweight and desired to look more “normal”, and now that I am at a healthy weight I tend to idolize others who are thinner than myself. This just shows me that I am looking to weight/body size as an unachievable mark of security and contentedness. Thanks for this post!

    • Madison Mayberry

      It’s it crazy how we can strive for one thing, and then after we get that thing that we think will make us “happy” we just strive for something else we don’t have? After Joe and I got married, I gained a few pounds in the post-wedding bliss. I found myself saying, “Once I get back to my wedding weight, I will be happy about my looks 100% of the time.” Then, when I did get back to that weight, I just found other things to criticize. It just goes to show that we all need to fix the underlying cause instead of the externals that we push our problems onto. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.bringinthepink.com/ Amber

    Love this post, Madison. Your heart is so beautiful. The excerpt from So Long Insecurity is incredible challenging and true. A false positive that comes to mind for me are people who always seem to have it all together. It makes me feel like if only I was more organized, disciplined, or prepared, then life would be so much better. Obviously all of these things have their place in life, but I need to remember that my capacity and circumstance is different from what someone else’s might be. God designed me to be me, and if that means I’m behind on laundry and didn’t work out as much as I’d like to this week, it’s okay. God often works in the most powerful ways for me when I admit that I “don’t have it all together.” Thanks for the encouraging post!

    • Madison Mayberry

      I find that almost everything Beth Moore has said in that book has been challenging and insightful! I know that it wasn’t written directly to me, but often I find myself feeling like it was. Thanks for sharing your “false positive.” I think that when we read one another’s blogs, it can seem like we all have it together, when in fact we really don’t! Of course, I don’t want to read about people’s laundry, bad hair days, and dirty dishes all the time, but it’s easy to think that no one else has the same issues we do. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9343602 Kristin Twigg Darhower

    I so agree with Stephie8ob. I do wish I was more outgoing. However, my true false positive is thinness. When I feel thin, I feel happy. Period. If I was a size 2 two years ago and now I’m a size 4, how can I make peace with that? What’s next? 6? 8? 10? Where will it stop? It’s probably a control issue (for sure!), but if I felt my “happiest” at size 2, then thinness is what I associate with happiness.
    It ties into the idea of being outgoing. I’m more likely to be outgoing if I feel good about myself. I feel good about myself if I feel thin. Such a cycle it is.
    I’m anxious to hear YOUR story, Madison. Knowing that that other 20-somethings have the same thoughts bouncing around in their heads makes me feel like it’s not just me :)

    • Madison Mayberry

      Kristin, you are most certainly not alone! I’m nervous and excited to share my story. I’ve been so inspired by all the other women who have been brave enough to do so on No Fat Talk Tuesdays. I can’t believe the series has been going on for over 6 months now.

  • http://www.dessertfortwo.com/ DessertForTwo

    You’re so brave for sharing this!

    My false positive is outgoing-ness. I shrink away when there are other women around me who are very chatty & find talking to others so easy. I battle with my shyness daily. If I say something awkward, I fret about it all day. “Why did I have to say that? Why can’t I be one of those women who puts people at ease? Why can’t I tell funny stories? Do I only talk about negative things?”

    This really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Madison Mayberry

      You have such a beautiful heart, woman! The crazy thing is, I would have never guessed that your false positive is shyness! From the outside (from a distance) I took you to be one of the most bubbly, outgoing people around. I think we probably all learn to disguise what it is that makes us insecure. I can totally relate to what you said about second-guessing what you said in a particular social situation. I find myself thinking, “Why am I so awkward?” or “Why did I just say that” all the time. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.thesweetslife.com/ natalie (thesweetslife)

    you’ve given me some food for thought–thank you my dear!!

  • Erika

    I love this post and the Beth Moore quote! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Madison Mayberry

      Beth Moore sure has a way with words, doesn’t she?

  • Wanda in Edmonton

    I am not a 20-something, but I loved your post. My false positive used to be shyness. I always thought that if people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me, so I kept myself a little distant. And it turned into a cycle. Then at college, I really needed a Resident Assistant job that opened up in my dorm because it came with free room and board and I was a scholarship student with no money. Part of the requirements was to go through a series team building sessons. I knew I would have to be honest in my responses or my evaluation would not be good. So I tossed the shield away and decided that I would just be myself and, if people didn’t like me, too bad. I was going to do my best to become qualified for this job. The result was one of the most rewarding expereinces I EVER had in my life. I found that people I barely knew already had very high, very kind opinions of me and that some of them had even wanted to approach me and try to get to know me but saw how I held people away from me. It literally changed my life. If you knew me then and met me now, I don’t think you would recognize me as the same person, personality wise. I say personality wise, because for sure I have changed physically – for the better, actually, despite the onslaught of few years.