Last week I wrote about how we can ask for what we need. Because we can’t expect others to read our minds. And we can’t expect them to decipher our hints, jokes or passive-aggressive remarks.
That’s why it’s key to be clear, direct, humble and polite.
Sometimes, though, we might not have the words. We might not know what to say when we’re put on the spot. Or we might be too frustrated, angry or hurt to say the words.
I talk a lot on Weightless about exploring and responding to our needs. This is a powerful way to cultivate self-compassion and a fulfilling life.
But I know it can get tricky when our needs involve other people — which is often.
Personally, I used to assume that others, if they truly loved one, would automatically know what I needed. That’s how it works, right?
Assuming that others can read our minds — i.e., do the impossible — can lead to a whole lot of hurt feelings, resentment, miscommunication and arguments. Because when those people inevitably don’t deliver, we blame them and ourselves and still remain hungry.
Right now I’m reading the book Living with Your Body & Other Things You Hate: How to Let Go of Your Struggle with Body Image Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy by therapist Emily Sandoz, Ph.D, and writer Troy DuFrene.
In it, Sandoz defines body image as simply how the body is experienced. Our body image includes everything from the feeling of our clothes on our skin to the shape of our stomachs.
It includes “how your body feels from the inside out and how it looks from the outside in.”
I hope everyone is enjoying a great Sunday! I wanted to pop in and share several soothing visualizations with you.
You can practice these right now. You can practice them when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed.
You can practice them to help you ease emotional and physical tension, to decelerate the racing, body-bashing thoughts.
You can practice your favorite visualization as part of a daily ritual — in the morning, afternoon or at night. Light a candle, turn on some soft meditative music, and simply begin.
Recently Susannah, one of my favorite bloggers, shared this check-in post. In it, she lists what’s she’s currently reading, feeling, smelling, tasting, listening to, creating, wanting and pondering.
I love this list because I think it’s a valuable way to check in with ourselves. It’s a simple way to stay attuned to our inner selves.
By writing a list like this we convey to ourselves that yes, I am important, and yes, I’m listening, I’m all ears, You are truly being heard.
One of my favorite topics to explore on Weightless, in addition to cultivating a positive body image and compassionate self-care, is self-discovery.
(I also like to explore self-discovery on Psych Central’s main blog “World of Psychology.”)
That’s because in order to care for ourselves, it’s important to know what we need, what we like and what we don’t like — at the very least.
It’s hard to feel comfortable in your own skin when you’re stressed or tense. I think part of the reason my body image was so negative years ago was because my body felt foreign to me.
Because I rarely felt relaxed. Because I just didn’t know how to relax. Because I was constantly a big, tight ball of tension and anxiety and overwhelm.
Those emotions and reactions added to the physical heaviness I felt, making it very hard for me to feel good and safe and serene in my own body.
It wasn’t a weight issue (i.e., I didn’t need to lose weight). No, I needed better coping strategies. I needed to honor my body’s desire for movement and calm.
I needed to find ways to access this peace and energy within myself.
I used to spin many painful stories about myself, my weight and my appearance. For instance, I used to cling to a story that said that once I was thin, I’d be beautiful, popular and happy.
I also used to cling to a story that revolved around self-care: I didn’t deserve to take care of myself until I was a certain size; that I somehow wasn’t allowed to feel good until I reached my goal weight.
I believed that I had to earn self-care (along with respect, love and kindness, both from myself and others).
A few months ago I wrote this article about couples holding a marriage meeting once a week.
According to psychotherapist Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, in her book Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, marriage meetings help couples reconnect, resolve conflicts, work as a team and make sure the household runs smoothly.
Marriage meetings consist of four things: expressing appreciation for each other; discussing and delegating chores; scheduling activities together; and discussing one or two issues.
I think this actually provides a great structure for regularly checking in with ourselves. Think of this time as your self-care meeting.
According to life coach, speaker and author Renée Peterson Trudeau in her book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, self-care includes everything from silencing self-criticism to saying no to carving out downtime to not letting guilt drive your actions.