I’m so stupid…. I’m so fat….. I want a body like hers…. If I only had thinner thighs…. If I only had bigger boobs…. If I only had a phat ass, others would love me, heck I would love myself….. If want her butt, her abs, her shoulders, her nose, her eyes, her hair, her arms, her legs, her feet, her fingers, her toes. I wish I had longer legs… I wish I had more muscle…. I shouldn’t have eaten that….. I should have made it to the gym…. I should have done this….. I shouldn’t have done that….. I gotta go to the gym…. I gotta eat healthy…. I can’t eat that treat…. I can’t ever eat pizza (or….) again….
Have you ever said or thought any of the above? Well I have and even today, I was saying “I need to get my shit together.” All of the above thoughts kill our self esteem and damage our self image. They make us feel inferior and they do not help us appreciate the uniqueness of ourselves. This is something that many of us struggle with, feeling “not good enough” and it is the cause for many of our woes and troubles in life. Whether or not you want to believe it, we set ourselves up time and time again to prove that we are not good enough therefore validating our negative self image and continuing to prove we don’t deserve to be happy. It is hard to swallow this pill I know, because who wants to believe that they are doing things to prove they are not good enough, we are trying to get better, but we can’t because of x, y and z excuses. Then we start to say things like, if only I had done this, I only I had done that, I am on the wagon again, shit I fell off the wagon, I can never eat pizza again, and the list goes one. I “gotta, must haves, can’t and should’ve” are killing us and making us feel worse. (I tell all the girls I work with “STOP SHOULDING ON YOURSELF!!”) These things are part of what we call self sabotage, the things we do that cause us to fail. Now most of the these are things we are not even aware we are doing them. Most of us do them because of how we were raised and because we don’t know any different or even because we are fearful of moving outside our comfort zone.
So where do all these issues come from?? Well as I eluded to it before, some of them come from how we were raised (not that our parents or other caregivers knew what they were doing). Many times parents do things that they don’t realize their children are picking up on until one day they see their child copying them. It could be they said “shit” when their blocks fell down or how they put their baby doll in time out because she was “bad” either way you understand what I am saying, most of what we learned about being an adult was from watching our parents and other important caregivers be adults.
I have talked with so many women who have weight issues and struggles because of the interactions with their parents. Think about this common statement “Clean your plate.” Have you ever heard it? I bet you have and you might even believe that statement and say it to your kids but have you ever thought where did it come from. Well some of you are probably saying that oh my parents used to tell me that, but where did they learn it? Probably from their parents. However, have you ever wondered why that statement even exists? It is speculated that this statement came out of the great depression when families didn’t know when they were going to get their next meal and so they needed their children to eat every morsel they could because it might be all they get. Does this statement still ring true? Do you know when you are getting your next meal? For most people they know when they will be eating again. The point of this conversation is to show you how things get passed down from generation without even knowing they are being passed down.
Many women feel like they are consistently watching the scale and may have even learned to do this from their mothers who have issues with their weight and body image. Without realizing it some caregivers have passed these down. Now this is not to blame them, but when dealing with body image, it is important for you to understand where your struggles come from to understand why they are so difficult to change. Why because we were raised that way, however that is not an excuse to continue to live in the negative self image and belief that you are no good.
Once we become aware of our issues, we have a choice. Continue the current way of thinking or move into the direction of a different way, which will be scary and at times almost unbearable, but either way YOU HAVE A CHOICE. You have to take responsibility for what you choose to do after you are aware and stop allowing excuses to stop you from reaching your goals.
For me this has been a hard road, I don’t know what happened exactly to me that I ended up with a negative self image and issues my body image but I think it happened when I was younger I associated my worth as a girl/women by how desirable I could be. One of my major trauma’s in life was when my dad left our family when I was 14. I struggled with that perceived abandonment from my father because I was the daddy’s little girl. I ended up looking for someone to love me and thought that I had to give up who I was to be loved, because if I spoke my mind or was myself, I would be abandoned again. This lead me into a very toxic relationship with a man who helped me continue to believe I was not good enough. Thankfully I was able to end that relationship and I am in much healthier one now. However, I still struggle with feeling not good enough at times and might even start saying things like “I’m fat, I have too much body fat, I have a ton of cellulite, why would anyone love an idiot like me”, but now I am able to catch myself saying these things and I have been able to see things differently. I can change my self talk and start asking myself is that true? Well no I am not an idiot and maybe I have more body fat than I want but I have less now than I did three years ago. The big success for me has been when I get to the place where I can honestly say, I am worthy of love not just from others but from myself. I have begun to have a relationship with myself where I truly love myself perceived flaws and accept myself for where I am now.
So you might be asking – how do I do that? What did you do to get to a place where you could do that? Or maybe some of you might be saying “well just because you did it doesn’t mean I can do it.” Whatever you believe will impact what happens to you, including how you perceive things. I am not sure if you noticed but when I was sharing a little bit of my story I used the word “perceived” on purpose because it is my perception that dictates how I view what happens to me and how I feel about myself. I don’t believe that my father abandoned me maliciously or to be evil and mean and give me a complex or self image issue, he left because he could no longer be in a relationship with my mother and he did the best he could do with what he had, which is what he learned from his parents. So now, I am able to not judge him or the situation and I no longer hold on to the emotional pain that made me feel like a victim for such a long time. Plus without all my experiences to this day, I might not be here right now writing this blog, sharing my story and information with you to help support and inspire you to reach your goals. So for me I am thankful for all my experiences in life because they brought me to this moment in time, right now, right where I need to be.
What can you do? Well first off just take notice of your self talk. How do you talk to yourself, how do you feel during different situations? Are you upset if you say I love you to your spouse or partner and he doesn’t say it back? The first step is to just become aware of what your story is inside your head – the crap that you are feeding it.
Next become aware of how your thoughts manifest in your behavior and what you put out into the world. Remember that your thoughts and feelings turn into your reality so be careful about what you are putting into the world because it comes back to you. So when you feel bad about yourself do you eat more junk food, do you avoid the gym? What do you do?
After you have been able to do those two things – try these next 5 things to do to change your self talk and improve your self image.
- 1) Focus on what you have accomplished. What have you accomplished? What are you proud of? I don’t care what it is, it could be that you made it to the gym or you didn’t eat the cake you wanted. The important thing is to focus on what you are accomplishing not what you are lacking.
- 2) Every day find one thing you love about yourself. I challenge you to find three things that you love about yourself right now, this moment. Once you find three you might just find it becomes easier to find more. If you can only come up with one, that is okay, focus on that one thing until you can come up with more. The important thing is that every day you tell yourself what you love about being you.
- 3) Do things that make you happy and stop doing things you hate. Why punish yourself? If you don’t like it, stop doing it, if you can’t yet then set up a plan to get you to a place where you can. When you do things that you enjoy doing you become happier and that increases your self esteem. Many times we get caught up in what other people want for us but here’s the thing – they don’t have to live with it like you do. Never let anyone else dictate what you enjoy and love (believe me this is one I work on daily). Taking pleasure in your life by doing things you enjoy will make you smile and also will help reduce your stress level which will help your overall health.
- 4) Find and cultivate a healthy support system and surround yourself with people who love you just the way you are. It is important to sometimes cut the dead branches (weight) from your life – it is hard to grow and blossom when there are so many dead branches weighing you down sucking up all your nutrients.
- 5) Love who you are RIGHT NOW, not who you were or who you are going to be – but who you are right now. When you can accept yourself and love yourself in this moment you feel better about who you are and start to talk better to yourself. This doesn’t mean you give up on improving yourself, it means that you appreciate you for you, right now in this moment, for where you are ,and who you are. You don’t judge yourself for not being further in your journey and you limit self criticism, which happens to be the death of self esteem. Remember YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.
Each and every one of us has unique talents and capabilities and those should be cherished and appreciated. We are all beautiful and sexy and deserve to appreciate who we are and to feel confident in ourselves. It is important that we stop devaluing who we are as women and human beings and use our struggles to build our strength to conquer the dragons that we have sleeping below the surface.
I believe in each and every one of you and I know that you have the capacity to change your life and improve your self esteem and body image, if you choose to do so. Remember you have a choice, stay the same in your comfortable little pot or let your roots and branch grow into new areas expanding your comfort zone. You are good enough, you are strong enough, you are smart enough, you are sexy, you are beautiful, you are powerful. You are YOU, so be the Beautiful U that you are and no one else can be, because THERE IS ONLY ONE BEAUTIFUL, FABULOUS, AWESOME YOU!!!
Try to pick one thing this week to work on and as it becomes more comfortable pick another one. Remember I believe in you!!!
Be the butterfly ~~Amanda