Archives for Body Image - Page 2
I just penned a piece for our main blog about being ourselves, what this really means and what it really looks like. One of the psychologists I interviewed shared this story with me: A young man was deeply ashamed about his enormous debt from student loans and credit cards. He didn't want anyone to know, including his friends, because he feared that they would judge and exclude him.
Here's what is so awesome about appreciating our bodies: We don't need to wait until we lose weight or change anything else about our appearance to do so. You can begin embracing your body right now. I hope these suggestions provide a helpful start:
Often we want to banish our inner critic. We want it to vanish. To eliminate it once and for all. This is totally understandable, because it's a cruel voice, which is painful to hear. Sometimes, incredibly painful. It just sounds so angry. Your inner critic might be akin to a person screaming in your face. Really loud. All the time. It might hurl insults. It might be a constant stream of negativity, and you can't do this and you can't do that, you idiot!
Maybe years ago you let everyone walk all over you. Like you weren't even there. Like you were a rug fit for stomping on. Maybe you weighed yourself all the time. Maybe you said yes to everything---except to acknowledging and appreciating yourself.
Be careful you don't blow up with all that dessert you've been eating lately. Make sure you work out. You don't want to gain the freshman 15. You're so small and slim. You'll make an adorable pregnant lady.
The foundation of compassionate self-care is paying attention to ourselves. It is noticing what's happening inside our bodies, since this gives us valuable information into our needs. Because once we know that, we can choose how to respond. And those responses might be as simple as eating when we notice that we're hungry and stopping when we notice that we're full. Or they might be learning that we're feeling upset when our heads hit the pillow because we haven't focused enough on our priorities---so you identify how to make those things first and foremost. And you do.
Many of us think we have to repay anyone who says something nice or complimentary to us, to anyone who takes us to dinner, to anyone who pays attention or is kind in some other way (whether the kindness is genuine or ill-intentioned). We think we owe something beyond a heartfelt thank-you.
Self-care is not a to-do list. I was recently reminded of this in this newsletter from Nicole Antoinette. In other words, self-care isn't a list of tasks you need to check off every day or every week. Get a manicure and pedicure Monday. Take a bubble bath on Tuesday. Work out on Wednesday. Make a home-cooked dinner on Friday.
I'm not sure that I've ever felt good reading a fitness or "health" magazine geared toward women. Instead, I've felt self-conscious, inadequate and way too big. At some point I realized the words in their glossy pages weren't gospel. I realized that I didn't have to believe or act on their tips---which focused on watching my weight and what I was eating (like a hawk), feeling guilty any time I wavered and preparing for (i.e., panicking over) bikini season and holiday parties.
I've been thinking more about self-love and what it means and looks like for me. Yesterday, I shared some thoughts in this piece. Today, I'm sharing more examples. I hope these inspire you to think through your own definitions and how you can start embracing and loving yourself. Because you can. No matter where you've been and no matter what others have said to you, you can. Start small. Start now.