Which World Do You Belong To?

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About Samuel Gentoku McCree

Samuel "Gentoku" McCree is a Mindful Fitness Thought Leader, Mindfulness Based Personal Trainer, and Mindful Living Coach from Portland, OR. He trained for over 2 years at a Zen Monastery and now strives to help people transform their lives through mindfulness and movement. His blog about fitness, mindfulness, and transformation can be found at mindfitmove.com. He also has created a special offer just for The Good Men Project Readers.

Comments

  1. Wow, even that first picture pissed me off. You’ve got it right. There are people who look like that woman, but she’s got an army of help and some photoshop masters to boot. This plugs right into Brené Brown’s wonderful piece on woman’s shame. Do it all, kids, work, workout, dinner, and still please your man in the evening. And NEVER show you’re working at it.

    I hate this kind of “marketing.” And we know the “health” of many of these models is not that healthy. (men and women)

    Thanks for the post. Well done.

    • Thanks for you comment. I love the perspective of the model it creates for women. It’s not something I had thought about much when I wrote the post but you are absolutely right. It’s an old perspective and not a very enlightened one at that.

  2. Fantastic. Enough of the binary thinking. We are all constantly being invited to pick and side and fight it out. Why? Because every time we fall for it and pick a side, someone makes a profit center out of that conflict.

  3. Agree with this article so much – excellent use of contrasting images too. My spouse and I increasingly feel ‘left behind’ by a culture dominated by binary, exclusionary thinking. So instead, we create our own culture. Turned off the television, put down our phones, and focus on reading, plays, performance art, playing sports rather than watching them, spending time with our family. The more we turn away, the better we feel.

    • That’s awesome Frederick. One of the reasons I moved to portland was that there are so many people like that here. Thanks for you comment!

  4. Good stuff. Now let’s extrapolate the lesson and stop divvying up the world into…

    - People that are married vs not
    - People that are straight vs gay vs bi vs trans vs asexual vs all/none of the above
    - People that are partnered monogamously vs polyamorously vs not
    - People that are conservatives vs progressives
    - People that are religious vs irreligious
    - People that appreciate labelling themselves with some sort of ideology (feminist, MRA) vs not

    I could keep going on…but the point is, all these divisions are essentially and ultimately BULLSHIT.

    Why are they bullshit? Because they are temporary states and situations, and marked by impermanence. In Buddhist languaging: “All dharmas are empty. All dharmas are like magical dreams”.

    That’s not to say we CAN’T use maps and models, and make categories to conveniently hold our values and views on life. Rather, the idea is to hold them loosely, knowing that they’re simply constructs that we create for our convenience – and not confuse the constructs with the deeper, more pristine, more profound reality behind them.

    BTW, I wore my Trilby hat while writing this.

  5. Love it. This is thought provoking article for me, because it helps bring light to a discussion I often have with my wife. She thinks she’s fat: in my opinion, she’s not. She has some extra pounds; she doesn’t always eat healthy foods; she doesn’t exercise. I’m the same. I’d like to get motivated, get some exercise, eat healthier, and lose weight, but it’s because I want to feel better overall. I want her to do these things because I love her and I want her to feel good, too, (and to live forever). I also want her to have confidence in herself, and I think I do my part to help her, but the media has afftected her for her whole life, so…plus, we both suffer from clinical depression, and the medication only does so much, so…

    So, yeah, it’s an excuse, but the degree of its validity isn’t clear. If we’re not satisfied with who we are, in the end, don’t we have only ourselves to blame? Do we allow the media to dictate our self-perception? Or are they just pointing out something we already kinda know? Maybe if we weren’t so thin skinned sometimes, we’d see it as a challenge and a pep talk for becoming better, instead of a moral condemnation of our imperfections. And then we decide how badly we want that “perfection” or “betterment,” and weigh that against what we have to overcome to achieve it. And if we decide to give ourselves a break and not seek such perfection, because we like dessert and relaxing our butts and our minds in front of the television, well, so be it. It’s up to us. You’re OK the way you are; you’re OK if you decide to seek betterment for your own sake. I’ll love my wife either way.

    • Paul,

      I really like your comment, especially the line “You’re OK the way you are; you’re OK if you decide to seek betterment for your own sake.”

      I often feel like I’m under attack from people who love to tell me that if I’m thin it’s not because I work hard at the gym (it’s privilege), that if I went to a good law school it’s not because I worked hard in college (it’s privilege), and that if I have a good job it’s not because I worked hard in law school (again, it’s usually privilege). I want to agree with Maria Kang’s message, not because I think it’s a healthy message, but because I feel a need to push back against a society that discounts all of the hard work I’ve put into bettering my own life. If we need to tell Maria Kang to stop selling her message, it’s equally important that we tell those on the other side of the spectrum to stop selling theirs, that hard work creates success and “privilege” is a poor explanation for society.

      That’s why I like you message best Paul, there’s no question that everyone is OK the way they are, and that should be a message for BOTH people who believe in hard work and those who want to chalk everything up to “privilege.”

  6. I do think there are two worlds: One with super fast internet speeds, & then mine. Why????? Safaricom mobile data. Why?????!!!
    Good article.

  7. Living in California, I see a lot of this binary thinking. I have lived long enough to see another delineation: young vs. old. I don’t care what I eat or how many hours I spend at the gym, at 67 I am not going to look like a 30-year old. As your pictures show, we humans are very diverse, which is probably why we still survive. It is lazy, selfish thinking that leads to simple binary solutions…

    • I love that this concept of binary keeps coming up. I think it’s so true. Our worship of youth means we lose so much wisdom that more mature people have to offer. I made a vow a long time ago to listen to and appreciate the wisdom of my elders and your comment reminded me why I do that. Thank you!

  8. Alan Bishop says:

    Thanks for the great article Samuel,

    First lets agree on Acceptance, then work on Tolerance and finally Peace. Picking sides is relevant when you’re playing pickup hockey, baseball, etc. Opinions are wonderful, we all have those.

    Don Miguel Ruiz makes it all seem so simple in the Four Agreements but DAMN they are hard to work on an everyday basis.
    The Four Agreements are:
    1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.

    2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
    Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.

    3. Don’t Make Assumptions
    Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.

    4. Always Do Your Best
    Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

    I’m just working on Being Better Everyday. That’s all I can ask of myself.

  9. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    I dated the woman in the first pic. She had problems. I look like the first guy with a beard.

  10. There are two types of people in the world:

    Those who believe there are two types of people in the world

    And those who don’t.

  11. There are 10 types of people in the World.
    Those who can Count in binary, and those who can’t.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Gentoku McCree wrote a really affirming piece about accepting ourselves despite the way the media portrays a binary view of health and fitness and while I agree that there aren’t just “fit” and “fat” people in this world, I wonder […]

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