Good eeeeeevening! [muahahauha]
There has been a question that I received a little while back that I admit I have been putting off. I apologize Mariposa. I really do.
It’s just that, well, your question sort of threw me off guard.
It is one of those questions that you know someone is eventually going to ask, and you will then have to actually sit down and have one of those deep thoughtful and reflective moments. I admit, something that I have not had much time for as of late.
But tonight seemed like one of those nights. Ever since I gave my two weeks notice at work, I have sort of been in a reflective mood. Reflection over the past year, the huge ups and the huge downs. Sort of like my year in review posts from a couple weeks back.
Only this reflection will be precisely on my growth in the area of self-acceptance. I admit, it is not something that I often reflect upon unless asked. Life is usually too busy for that, but I think that it is entirely necessary for continued growth. So Mariposa, I thank you for this wonderful question (and your patience):
“Angela, I’m fairly happy at my current weight although I struggle all the time with my body image and self-acceptance. It’s not so much the food with me, it is looking in the mirror and liking what is there staring back at me. How does that change? Does anyone know? How do you get to the point where you are really loving yourself?”
So you can see why I was a bit nervous responding to this question. See, the truth is, if I said to you that I was always happy with what I see in the mirror that would be a complete lie. I don’t know many people who are happy with what they see all the time.
What I can tell you is that I am happy with what I see in the mirror more days than not. Which is huge for me because it used to be the other way around. In the past, the norm for me was to not like what I see in the mirror. I have realized that happiness comes and happiness goes, but contentment is something that is more stable and consistent. I would not say that I look in the mirror and I am happy with my body everyday, but I would say that I am content with what I see. Am I loosing you here?
Something that has always stuck with me is what I read in Tal Ben-Shahar’s book called “Happier“. I wrote a post about it a while back. He says that as humans, we focus way more on the negative than the positive. He gives an example of the psychological literature and this is a fact: For every 1 article on happiness there are 21 articles on depression in the psychological literature. How is that for unbalanced thinking?
As a society, we are taught to find flaws and fix them. We have medical issues and we fix them, we have mental issues and we fix them, we have physical issues and we fix them. Is it any wonder that when we look in the mirror all we see are flaws to fix?
And let me just say that learning to love your body doesn’t suddenly happen when you lose weight or get to your goal weight. For a long time, even at a low weight, I didn’t have self-acceptance and I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror. I have been thinner than I am now and miserable with what I saw and much more critical. It was because I didn’t have my health.
All I had was a number on the scale.
And if that is all you have starring back at you each morning, you are in for a long and lonely haul.
So no, the self-acceptance doesn’t come when you lose the weight. It is such an illusion. I used to say to myself ‘if only I were ‘x’ weight, I would be happy with my body’, but that just isn’t true. If we spent as much time working on loving ourselves rather than calorie counting or dieting, we would likely be much father ahead in the game. At least, that is what I have found for myself.
So how do we stop the self-loathing?
Well, here is a start. Write down all the things you typically say to yourself when you look in the mirror. We all have what I call ‘trigger put-downs’ that we have been telling ourselves since we were young. After a while these trigger put-downs become a habit, which is why so many people feel like they have all aspects of health except for the self-acceptance.
So did you write them down? I did.
Now look in the mirror and counter each trigger put-down. If you said ‘my butt is huge and ugly’, say something like I’ve got a sexy giggle that make all the boys quiver. lol. Ok, it doesn’t have to be as silly as that, but make sure whatever it is, it makes you smile. Because when you smile you are beautiful. Did you say something like ‘my stomach has rolls and stretch marks….yuk!! How will I ever wear a bikini?’ counter it with something like I have a soft feminine stomach with lovely and goddess like curves.
Also try giving practical reasons for your self-love:
- Damn, that is one sexy ticker I’ve got inside me!
- I have two arms and not one, therefore I can get twice as much accomplished! I am a multi tasker!
- I don’t have any white spots on my nails. Mom would be proud.
- My long & beautiful eyelashes keep dust and dirt from entering my lovely peepers!
- My belly button is a fantastic decoration for my stomach. Useless but fantastic.
- Look at those pearly whites! I brush them twice a day. Mom would be proud. So many teeth to chomp all this delicious and healthy food!!
Did I make you smile? I hope so. Because this is exactly what you should be doing in front of the mirror until it becomes a habit.
So go on, don’t be shy. Follow these easy pieces of advice. Get silly. Make yourself laugh. Then come back and leave a comment sharing what you said and how you made yourself smile.
It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.
~Norman Vincent Peale
PS- 1 day til the Oh She Glows Contest #3 closes!!! Submit those entries! I cannot wait to show you all the wonderful slideshow I have put together!!!!! weeeeeeee :D
Let me just say that I have never thought of afternoon powersnacks the way I do now after seeing all your fantastic ideas! WOW!