I don't have to try it on. I can just pick it up, commit to it and know that it'll fit me. I definitely come under the category of "all" right? Of course I do.
Oh, wait. What's this?
It's huge! I guess it technically fits... Me and three other people!
Let's think about this for a second. One size fits all: So inclusive. But in order to encompass the "all" we have to overwhelm at least "some" if not "most". And unfortunately despite the generous allowance, it probably still doesn't quite stretch for a "few".
In an attempt to be all inclusive, everybody who does not fit the garment quite right (which will statistically be the majority) could interpret the ill fit as a result of their inability to meet the norm.
Would it surprise you that I am a 20 year old female who struggles to accept her body? Unlikely.
Do I possess the ideal feminine proportions? No.
Is there anything wrong with my body? No.
Am I overweight? No.
Am I underweight? No.
Yet I am constantly made to feel like I don't quite measure up. To what, I'm not exactly sure but whatever it is I know I don't. Otherwise I wouldn't not fit things or look bad in chain store trendy clothing or be bombarded with multiple ways I could improve myself.
The crazy thing is that this is a total waste of energy. I am learning that my body knows what it wants and needs far better than I do. I don't need to change me, what needs to change is my acceptance of my differences. Differences after all are the things that need to be harnessed in order to stand out and be memorable.
I think this lesson can be applied in many other domains.
Overall I think we have gotten better at accepting differences in others. We can appreciate other people for being quirky, confident, funny or intelligent. We are getting better at respecting each other's political and religious views. We are very good at finding things we like in other people, but how good are we at recognising those qualities in ourselves?
Think of how many differences there are within the Christian denominations alone. We co-exist with each other more or less harmoniously but we don't pretend that we are exactly the same either. Jesus teaches us to love everybody. I'm not saying we succeed at this 100% of the time but we recognise the expectation and do our best to put this into practice. Sometimes showing grace and love to other people is actually easier than granting it to ourselves.
I would encourage anyone who feels like they don't measure up in some way to try and step outside of themselves. There must be an art to being inspired and encouraged by other people's lives and stories without making a mental list of all the ways you are not like them. You are loved no matter who you are, where you're at or what you look like.
See others how God sees them and see yourself how God sees you. Nobody should ever feel bad for not meeting a certain criteria, uncomfortable in a particular category or swamped in overly large clothing. You are not the problem or the exception to the rule. You are exceptional and your category maybe just doesn't exist yet.
Love thy neighbour as yourself. That's important — keep doing that. But it's funny how no one ever says love yourself as thy neighbour.
First published November 11, 2014
Helen McIntosh is a 20 year old trying to create more than she consumes. Writing is a way of banishing any circulating thoughts to make way for the new.
Helen McIntosh previous articles may be viewed at