Most of us have a mean — maybe even cruel — inner voice that says everything from “You’re too big to wear that!” to “You’re so stupid!” Understandably, we may grow to dislike — maybe even despise — this inner voice.
We might dislike it because it sounds like someone who used to bully us. Because it sounds like a parent, past partner or so-called friend. Maybe it sounds like the younger you, who regularly received hurtful remarks about your appearance in school.
I like the approach in the book Mindful Compassion, written by researcher Paul Gilbert, Ph.D, and former Tibetan Buddhist monk Choden.
When I was deep in the well of body hatred, I didn’t really see any other path, any other way of being with myself. My friends and family loved me unconditionally, and told me not to be so critical.
But aside from them, there was always a sinking, gnawing feeling that I wasn’t enough, one substantiated (or perhaps triggered) by everything around me.
I ate up these messages. I ate up the messages that said I’d finally be enough when I looked a certain way.
As I’m reading through The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance and Happiness by James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher, I’ve been thinking about all the things we can say no to. (I’ve already mentioned their book in this post.)
Because saying no helps us make room for the important yeses in our lives — the yeses that nourish and serve us.
Because saying no leaves us with more time, energy and even health. It’s how we can listen to ourselves, stand up for ourselves and practice compassionate self-care.
Right now I’m reading the book The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance and Happiness by James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher. I came across a line that struck me:
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.