I just finished writing an article on strategies for staying curious and why curiosity is so vital to our lives. (I featured tips and insights from Ian Leslie’s fascinating new book Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It. Stay tuned for the piece on Psych Central next month.)
So I have curiosity on the brain. And, naturally, this curiosity pertains to our bodies and ourselves.
Many of us are hesitant to accept our bodies because they’re “flawed.” We have stretch marks, cellulite, too-big thighs, too-small breasts, too-round bellies.
We assume all these traits are terrible imperfections which preclude us from appreciating and loving our bodies.
How can I accept something that is flawed? How can I be positive when there is negative surrounding me, part of me?
In Heart to Heart, my eBook with Anna Guest-Jelley, we focus on cultivating kindness, because we don’t heal ourselves with insults, judgement and body bashing. We heal ourselves — our bruised body image, our sinking self-worth — with compassion.
I like Sharon Salzberg’s definition of kindness in her book The Kindness Handbook: “Kindness can manifest as compassion, as generosity, as paying attention.”
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.
This week Anna Guest-Jelley — a close friend and founder of the ever powerful Curvy Yoga — and I introduced you to our eBook Heart to Heart: 20 Poems, Meditations + Affirmations to Embrace Your Body & Cultivate Kindness.
(You can learn more here. Plus, until Tuesday, the 19th, enter the code “HEART” to save $5.)
Today, I wanted to share a new poem with you about being worthy. Because it’s so easy to internalize the message that we must earn our self-worth with accolades, accomplishments and changes in appearance.
When you feel this way, when you second-guess your self-worth, if it resonates with you, return to this reminder.
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.
Honest, open communication is key for healthy relationships. Talking to your loved ones about your concerns, needs, conflicts — and truly listening to their concerns, needs and conflicts — strengthens your bond.
The same is true for your relationship with yourself. It’s important to regularly ask ourselves about our needs, concerns and preferences. And, like all effective communication, it’s important for us to listen to what we hear.
Doing so creates a solid, strong connection to our inner selves (our real selves). It provides important insights to help us make good decisions, to create lives that honor and nourish us.
Today is my 32nd birthday. Every year, for my b-day, I’ve been republishing a version of the below post. It’s become sort of a tradition around here.
In it, I share what I’ve learned about body image, well-being and life in my years on this earth thus far. Why 35? Extra lessons for good measure and good luck!
1. Be you.
In all your amazing and unique glory. Trying to be like others or pretending you like something you actually don’t doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried. It feels awkward and itchy. And then there’s the matter of life being too short.
Find out who you are. Explore your likes and dislikes. Explore what makes you happy. Explore what feeds you, what gets you up in the early hours of the day. Spend time by yourself. Take yourself out on dates.
This week I read two powerful posts on being ourselves, which I immediately pasted into Evernote, because they’re key reminders for me.
In one post Therese Borchard talks about wanting to be Gretchen Rubin and struggling with her commencement speech for her alma mater.
I just read this great post from Dani Shapiro on Marianne’s blog. In it she explains that we don’t need confidence to write something great. In fact, confidence gets in the way. She writes:
Show me a confident writer, and in all likelihood you will also be showing me work that falls short of originality or greatness — because originality and greatness come from the willingness to take risks. To leap into the void. To do what scares you. And while it may seem that this leap would take confidence, what it really takes to leap is courage. Which is a whole other kettle of fish.
Courage isn’t the same as being fearless. It’s doing that thing, anyway, despite the fear, despite the panic.