Self-Love Reflection: More Than Numbers

Posted: June 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Our lives include so many numbers. Numbers on the scale, numbers in our bank account, number of designer clothes in our closets, number of activities we participate in, number of calories we eat, number of workouts we complete or miles we run, number of Facebook friends, number of page views. Sometimes we fall into the trap of  allowing the numbers to define our lives and our worth.

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We get discouraged that we don’t make as much money as someone else. We see a number on the scale and it determines our mood for the day. We constantly check in on stats as a way to verify ourselves. We doubt ourselves in comparison to others for not doing as much.

Numbers can start as a tool to help us reach certain goals. For example, to run a marathon you have to track mileage to adequately prepare yourself. When working to lose weight, counting calories can help progress. When keeping up with a budget, we must track the numbers in our bank accounts. Numbers do serve a purpose. They can help us achieve certain tasks. Yet often they can also create a slippery slope for our self-esteem to slide down.

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We need to stop using numbers as a measuring stick for who we are. You can’t put love for others on a scale. You can’t put passion in a bank account. You can’t put fun and enjoyment on a tally sheet. You can’t put friendship in a spreadsheet. So, look past the numbers and to the bigger picture of what makes up our lives.

  • Have you ever been stuck in a numbers trap? What could you have focused on besides the numbers?

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34 Comments to “Self-Love Reflection: More Than Numbers”
  1. I have definitely been stuck in a numbers trap- calories eaten, calories burned, mileage, weight, etc. To get out of this I try to focus on how I feel and how my clothes fit. When I focus on the numbers I get too caught up in it and it honestly wears me down. I’m much happier when I’m focusing on my health and loving who I am as a person- it’s good to remember that I feel better when numbers aren’t a determining factor 🙂

  2. I definitely get stuck playing the numbers game. That’s why I went scaleless this summer! I’ve just got to get away from my scale and really focus on what I’m eating, when I’m working out, and how I’m living. That’s really what matters… not the number on the scale. I think we get too discouraged by numbers, whether on the scale, in our bank account, or on the thermometer. Sometimes we just have to accept the numbers.

  3. I have definitely been in the place where the numbers on the scale determined my mood. Or if I went over my calories for the day I felt like a failure.

    But, 2 things I did were 1) stop counting calories and 2) got rid of my scale. Doing this helped me focus less on the numbers and more on how I was feeling, which is healthy! It’s been very freeing and encouraging since making those small changes.

  4. Jill says:

    I am currently working on getting out of the numbers trap. The number on the scale has a strong hold on me. I suppose you could say I have become obsessed with it. I am working on hopping on the scale to take a quick peek on my progress and then not giving that number another thought. (unless it continues to go up up up) Some days this works- others… not so much. I am trying to focus more on the good things in my life rather than how much I eat or overeat. I recently did an ABC post on my blog that helped me to think about the good stuff. It really has helped!!!! Take a peek at mine and then give it a try! 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for this! I needed to this reminder today. Lately I’ve been trapped in a numbers cycle: calories, miles, money, stats…. It is so easy to lose sight of the big picture- to enjoy life to its fullest with the ones you love. How about in 1 month, you repost this so I don’t forget 🙂

  6. jobo says:

    Great post and timely once again as I try not to beat myself up for going over my ‘number’ yesterday food-wise at the wedding I went to in NYC. numbers should give us a general idea, but not something we should fixate on. Thanks for reminding me of that!

    • Tina says:

      I like that – give us a general idea but not something to fixate on. Great balance between using them as a tool when needed, but still keeping the bigger picture at the forefront.

  7. Wonderful post – numbers ARE everywhere and it’s important to not get caught up and enjoy the moments rather than just the results. Awesome reminder!!!

  8. vivoir says:

    again, another great post. i think it’s a confidence thing… as we recognise that we are worth x, y and z, we no longer feel the need to use numbers to gauge how we ‘ought’ to feel about ourselves. we don’t need them because we KNOW how great we are

    • Tina says:

      Great minds think alike! I have a very similar point to this that I plan on making in the panel discussion at Healthy Living Summit. 😉

  9. Kara says:

    It’s funny, right before I read this post, I was looking at my daily mile totals and getting pissed that I didn’t hit 40 miles this week. Thanks for reminding me that it’s not a reflection of my bad character that I was a few miles short of some arbitrary goal. 🙂

  10. I think most everyone can relate to this in some form or another. If may be numbers on a scale for one person and could be numbers in the bank for another. I don’t think I ever had a serious fixation with numbers but they did bother me until I started seeing results with my health and weight loss. Like Vivoir said above I think it is directly correlated to confidence. As one goes up the other goes down.

  11. Kristi says:

    I am stuck in the numbers trap! It’s so hard to get out of that trap once you are in it. I do look for approval from the numbers in my life, not the substance.

  12. Jane says:

    Such a great post. It’s all about balance. Especially with numbers!

  13. Koko says:

    Love this post- especially the number on the scale – you can totally change your mood when you look down and we should all get out of the numbers rut.

  14. Such a great post – I think it’s so easy to get consumed by numbers. Thanks for the insight and making me stop to think (once again!)

  15. Katie says:

    I’ve totally gotten in a numbers rut and it drives me nuts, because it can consume your day. I’ve become way too absorbed with counting calories in and calories burned. It’s exhausting. I have found it best to talk about it with a friend to just bring me back to reality and walk away from the numbers. Life is too short to stress about these things. Great post!

  16. Rachel says:

    you’re dead on for this one. i was talking to my friend earlier today about how i have to give a speech in one of my summer courses and we need to use three items that represent our past, present and future. i told her i was going to use a calculator to represent my past because that’s how i defined myself: grades, GPA, calories, weight, money in the bank. it all had to add up, but somehow i never did.

    now, i focus on myself as a person. i am so much more than a number, and more than the sum of my parents even. instead of numbers, i focus on who i am in Christ, my personality, my passions, and all the things that make me feel alive. you said it so well in this post, and it always makes me smile to have women who realize the veracity to this point!

  17. I don’t think I get stuck in numbers traps – but – measurements are a good way to reality check myself. It’s easy to wave away tighter pants to a hot dryer setting. But an extra five pounds for several weeks in a row? It’s staring at you. I could just tell myself I am fine financially, but checking out my 401k tells me what’s really going on.

    I think the key is to not dwell on what the numbers say, but to look at what habits and behaviors are resulting in those numbers and change them to improve the outcome.

    • Tina says:

      Agreed. Numbers DO have their place in letting us know key information. We just have to keep from letting them define us as a whole. Great point…as always. 😉

  18. This is such a great reminder that numbers are everywhere and it’s so easy to fixate on them, yet they do not define us or measure our happiness. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in all kinds of numbers – relating to my running (not being satisfied unless I ran X number of miles or at a certain pace), food, money and other measures of so-called “success.”
    I know I’ve said this before, but your self-reflection posts are so wonderful to read. They always really hit home for me and leave me feeling empowered and determined to work on the important things in life that I want to be putting time and energy into.

  19. I was stuck in a numbers trap for awhile trying to be a certain weight that’s just not easily maintainable for me — my solution now is to rarely weigh myself and go about living life and enjoying myself — seems to be working great!! 🙂

  20. I’m stuck in one right now… thinking of how I weigh too much, don’t make enough, etc etc etc. I need to stop trying to lose 6 pounds and concentrate on getting back to feeling healthier!

  21. I used to be stuck to the number on the scale in collage. Now I don’t own a scale. I stick to how I feel, the way my clothes fit, my energy level.

  22. Lisa says:

    The numbers are hard for me. I’ve written about it before about how focused I can be on them. I’m going scale free this summer in order to teach my body and brain to just LIVE and not focus on what the scale says. It’s a hard road so far!

  23. Great post as always!!

    I used to be defined by a lot of numbers (GPA, scale weight, number of workouts per week) but in the past year I’ve learned to let go of that. I look better at 130 with a lot of muscle than I did at 120 with no muscle; I love feeling STRONG; and I can’t control how others view me anyway so why waste my life trying?!

    • Tina says:

      I always say I would rather look like I work for my body than starve for it…so yea – having muscle and weighing a bit more rocks!

  24. I agree with this completely! I am a rising high school senior and I feel like everything I do is defined by a number. There are so many!

    -number on the scale
    -number on the inside of my jeans
    -number of hours spent exercising [not a large number (; ]
    -class rank
    -the not perfect number on my ACT and SAT
    -number of days till graduation…

    sometimes I just wish that we could all stop counting and enjoy life. This is a great post – thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Tina says:

      the great thing is that you’re recognizing the way they affect us now. 🙂

      Yay for senior year! I hope its a GREAT one for you!

  25. I used to be obsessed with the scale but ours broke when I was starting to lose my baby weight and we never replaced it. Now I have no idea what the number is, but I kind of don’t mind. As for $$, ugh don’t get me started.

  26. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! As always, I feel like most of the time you are writing just for me! The numbers game is such an emotional thing for me – darn scale! Love it, thanks for sharing!

  27. This is a great post. The scale can be a problem with me but I have to just put it aside though I do like to weigh myself once a week where as in the past I use to weigh myself daily….not good!
    Oh and now that I’m getting older, I really can’t do much about that number! lol

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