I think it’s key to feel our feelings — whatever the feeling that comes up. All feelings are valid. So if you’re feeling like crap about your body, then you’re feeling like crap about your body.
It’s something to acknowledge, accept and feel — instead of beating yourself up for beating yourself up.
But sometimes these feelings and thoughts stick around too long. And they start dictating our decisions to not take kind care of ourselves (which only boosts our negative body image). They become overwhelming. All-consuming. Stressful.
Rachel Eddins, one of my favorite experts to interview for Psych Central, shared a powerful story for a piece I’m writing on self-doubt:
For years her client believed she was unworthy, which held her back in many areas of her life. It was a story created for her by someone else. It was a story that followed her for her most recent predicament: She needed to find a new job.
When she and Rachel started exploring what she’d really like to do, her self-doubt started roaring — I can’t do that! – and she felt stuck.
This weekend I took out my journal and wrote a kind of letter to myself. I started with these words: I forgive myself…
I wrote down the things I am ready to forgive myself for (and a few things I am not). Maybe you, too, want to focus on forgiveness, and write about what you’re ready to let go.
My whole life I’ve leaned toward all-or-nothing thinking. Black or white. Binge or restrict. Terrible day or terrific.
In my mind I was either the energizer bunny or a sloth. I was either beautiful or blah. And how could I be beautiful if I was only pretty sometimes?
If I ate too much, I’d think F that, my diet is ruined! and pile on the extra helpings. I didn’t ask myself if I really wanted more, if I genuinely wanted to enjoy extra bites. No. Instead, I was focused on the fact that tomorrow I’d need to be perfect.
Tomorrow would be the day. The day I’d follow that diet flawlessly. And then in a week, a few weeks, when I lost some weight, I could finally start taking better care of myself. I could show my face at the gym. I could finally appreciate my body. I could feel better about myself.
I think one reason we have an unhealthy relationship with food and ourselves — eating ’til we’re uncomfortably stuffed, restricting ourselves, hurling insults, not practicing compassionate self-care — is because of judgment.
Specifically, we judge ourselves for all sorts of things. We judge our appearance. We judge our mistakes. We cling to shoulds that fuel self-judgment and keep us stuck.
I should weigh less. I should wear a size 4. I should eat less. I should never eat dessert or pizza or pasta. I should be able to do this with zero help.
Yesterday I talked about how we can create a safe space for ourselves, to listen to our needs, wants and wishes and to compassionately care for ourselves.
Today, let’s talk about how we can do the same for others. Whether this is your child, spouse, best friend or family member, here are some ideas:
This week I talked about creating a safe space to listen to ourselves, without judgment or criticism. Because it can be scary to explore our needs and wants. Because for many of us we’re doing this for the first time.
For the first time, we’re shining the spotlight on ourselves. We’re asking questions like: What do I need to feel better? What do I want to do today? What makes me happy?
We’re exploring — territory that might’ve gone unexplored, abandoned for years. We’re putting ourselves third, second or maybe even first. We’re actually listening.
A few years ago, I was walking out of our then-house to meet Brian for his birthday dinner. I was distracted and looking down at my feet, walking toward my car. Suddenly, I saw a thick, long multicolored snake in the grass.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a palpable fear of snakes. I can’t even look at their pictures. (Seriously.)
I stopped, and started walking, slowly, back toward the door. But I kept stopping and hesitating.
I remember trying to will myself to step to the side of the snake. I remember berating myself for being so silly. You’re scared of everything! It’s just a snake! The car is so close! Only you would react this way!
You are a small, unsophisticated machine
simplistic in your function.
you rule my moods
dictate my diet
and overshadow the joys in my life.
I talk often about focusing our attention on the things that serve us and letting go of the things that don’t.
For instance, in this post, I wrote: “There’s so much freedom in relinquishing the beliefs, behaviors, habits, objects, stories and people that don’t serve us.”
In this post, I said: “…saying no gives us the time, space and energy to say yes to what truly nourishes and serves us.”
But what does this really mean?