"It's not about being good at something. It's about being good to yourself."
This is NOT an easy concept for many and I am one of those people. Negative self talk has been my reality for the majority of my life. Looking in the mirror had been one of my biggest challenges all because of terrible self esteem. Years of conditioned negative body image don't just disappear it takes a lot of work.
Most recently I've been frustrated and discouraged when being asked if I'm pregnant (I'm not) even with teaching full time and in the gym 5 days a week I STILL look 4 months pregnant. I've beat myself up about it for far to long only to find out last week it's because of my Diastasis Recti which has now caused a hernia. It's not the end of the world and there are ways for me to take care of the condition, but instead of seeing a doctor I spent the past 2.5 YEARS blaming myself that I couldn't meet the ridiculous appearance standards I have set for myself.
It's actually amusing that this diagnosis came at the time it did because in recent months I have completely embraced my body. That doesn't mean I've stopped working on it. I'm TRULY proud of how strong I am physically and emotionally, and of all the things my body is capable of regardless of what "look" others may perceive. So this came at a time of acceptance and understanding. A time when I could finally look in the mirror and say I'm proud of ME and who I am not what I look like.
In today's society we are starting to see a glimmer of hope in the media and advertising industries around body image. More companies are embracing the "every BODY" matters mind set, but there is still a very long road ahead. The change has to start within and with ourselves. We cannot expect big changes in our society if we do not make big strides within ourselves. When I finally decided enough was enough I did three things to help me move on and away from the negative self talk.
1. Face yourself in the mirror with a smile
This was my most challenging DAILY key to working toward self acceptance. Any time through out the day that I passed a mirror I would truly look at myself and smile. For me it required faking it for the first few days (or weeks), but I didn't give up. Over time it got easier and now I've taken it a step further to think of one thing I'm internally proud of when I look at my reflection. For instance maybe today was the rare occurrence where I awoke before my kiddos. Go me!
2. Any activity that makes your heart sing
I have MANY hobbies! My interests change from day to day and even minute to minute. This gives me the opportunity to find joy in so many ways. It's easy to get bogged down and feel depressed about life when we don't take time for ourselves. Take just 15 minutes to do something that makes you happy so the next time you face negative self talk you have something to think back on that you are AWESOME at!
3. Wear clothes you LOVE!
When we feel insecure in our bodies it's often hard for us to get dressed everyday. We tend to wear clothes that don't fit and don't make us fall in love when we do look in the mirror (remember that's step one...look in the mirror!). Do NOT wait until you're such and such size to go out and get yourself clothes you love. Go out and pick up something NOW for the body you currently have. And pick something that the colors make you happy. Don't stress if you have to try on 10 different sizes because let me tell you none of the brands run the same in sizing anyway it's an arbitrary number.
These are just a few of the ways that I started to turn around my negative self image. Now don't get me wrong there are still hard days and society (or people's unwanted comments) will still get in your head. It's easier to pull yourself out of the funk when you have tools and the WHY behind it. If you don't have a WHY yet I'll give you one until you come up with your own: