Let’s talk self-image and body image. Something I’ve struggled with my entire existence. Anyone grow up thinking 5’10” and 100 pounds was the only definition of beautiful?
Transformation involves transforming the prior beliefs and definitions that have “set up tent” in our brains. Transforming previous beliefs we’ve accepted in the past is the best way to create more self-confidence, self-love, and a better stronger self-image, which is the key to attracting everything you want into your life. You will not allow anyone to treat you with disrespect if you love yourself and have a strong self-image! You won’t allow it. So how do you break this cycle of thinking we’re not enough? How do we get OUT of the cycle of attracting the same types of men (teachers) who are not emotionally available and give us crumbs? We transform our self-image.
First step: Awareness. What do we believe and WHY do we believe this? Most of us have been programmed to believe one image or one set of features/stats/height/weight/tone etc. is the definition of beauty. That definition of beautiful doesn’t have a very long list. I read a study in a magazine a long time ago that said African-American women have higher self esteems and were proud of their full-figured bodies. That’s their definition of beauty. I envied those women. I desperately wanted to believe that my full figure was desirable and beautiful. I didn’t.
I grew up in the 90’s so, the ONLY definition of beauty (in my programmed-by-Cosmo-magazine brain) was tall and anorexic. That’s what I believed. Anyone who was beautiful was 5’ 10” and weighed 100 pounds, and if you didn’t look like that, you were fat and ugly. And I know there are a lot of us that feel the same way. I spent decades with a terrible body image, no matter what I actually looked like at the time. I always saw a fat ugly person staring at me in the mirror. I remember when I got a physical in the 5th grade, it was the first time I weighed triple digits. I was the ONLY girl I knew who weighed over 100 pounds. I asked my mom if I weighed too much, and she said, “It’s the perfect weight.” I didn’t believe her.
I’ve always thought I was too big. I’ve always thought that my body shape was not desirable. I always thought I wasn’t beautiful; because I’m so tall and big-boned. I’m not beautiful because I have a big butt. Which, by the way, is hysterical because now everyone is getting butt implants. Insane. I told my daughter, “all you have to do is live long enough, and what you got will be the new stupid trend.” Screw the trends! We’re Vikings! Love what God gave you!
When I got a divorce, I looked in the mirror at my naked body and said to myself, “No one will want to marry me unless I get a boob job and liposuction.”
Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with getting plastic surgery or doing anything that you want to do to your body. The problem lies in my having the core belief that no one will want me unless I cut open my body, add some here, and take some away there, and spend $20,000 cutting snipping boosting tucking. I spent decades trying to chase that definition of beautiful. I also did want to be healthier. I knew that if I “dropped a few” (or, “donate a few pounds to the Universe,” as I like to say, then I would feel better and more confident. I knew I hadn’t been very active, and I hadn’t been eating as clean as I know it best for my body, and I had gained a few. And first and foremost, I want to dispel that belief that only skinny b*tches are pretty.
I don’t want to believe that you have to be 100 pounds to be beautiful. I was exhausted. I had had enough. I wanted to learn how to reframe that. I wanted to learn how to transform that belief.
The first thing I did was throw my scale away. Weighing myself every day and seeing that number was making me miserable. I had an unhealthy relationship with the number on that scale.
Next, I asked myself, “What could I do to disprove that belief that I’m not healthy, I’m not fit, and my body isn’t the way it’s “supposed to be”?
And I made a small, quantifiable goal.
If you can’t quantify it, how do you know you did it?
I made a goal to do something active 5 days a week.
And I chose the things that I really love to do. I didn’t really like going to a gym and doing weights. Although, it’s funny, now I love going to our gym every morning. There’s a history of osteoporosis in my family, and I know that weight bearing exercise is the best way to fend it off. But at the time, I felt like going to the gym was punishment for what I ate or drank the day before. What I LOVE to do is hike and practice yoga. Those are the two activities that when I finish, I feel good about myself.
It sounds so simple, and it may sound too simple to even make a difference, but your image of yourself can only come from, well, yourself. It can only come from within.
So if your focus is on everything outside of you, everything you consume, all the images you see on a daily basis, what people say, or anything that makes you feel bad about yourself, like I did for years, it’s going to be a long uphill battle.
But when you focus inward, focus on the girl in the mirror, loving her the way she is, and being proud of who she is and what she has gone through and accomplished so far, magic starts to happen.
It’s like a remembering. We have very selective memory if we don’t practice shifting the focus to remembering the good things we have done and how far we have come! I was raising two kids alone. I switched gears in my career during a recession with no guarantees of a paycheck after the first four months, and we were still alive! I made enough to feed our children! I paid the rent on time that month! Winning!
Then, practice. Practice is the only way we can get better at anything! It’s the intentional practice of defining what it is to be worthy of love. Finding ways to serve your body. When you serve your body, you’re serving your mind. I remember I saw this T-Shirt that said “I do yoga because punching people is frowned upon.” My sentiments exactly. Moving my body with love instead of punishment changed my mind. Taking action toward your goal changes your mind! What’s good for your body is good for your mind! And visa-versa! Of course, nothing major happens after you work out once, or for two weeks, but after 4 weeks, you start believing differently. I believe that I am worthy, I feel good, I am strong and fit, because I made a small quantifiable goal, and did it. 20 times. After 40 times it gets so much easier. After 60 times, it seems normal. After 80 times, it’s a habit. It’s just what you do.
It’s just a practice of redirecting.
Just like we do with our kids! I always say that our minds are like toddlers! They constantly need to be redirected! Once they start destroying things over in one corner, you redirect them with a book! Once they start ripping up the pages out of the book, you redirect them to play with clay! When all else fails, throw them in the bathtub! Our minds are exactly the same way. When one thought enters in and it’s a negative limiting belief, redirect to the truth. Prove it wrong. Remind yourself that you’ve already proved that belief wrong, and run through the reminders.
And the final step: journaling.
Physically writing (if you can remember how…who does that anymore?) slows down your brain. It take more focus to write the words you’re writing, so it takes the focus away from just your limiting negative thoughts.
Every morning, I do the same thing.
First, I write everything I’m grateful for. Specific details that I have going right in my life right now.
Next, I write all of my wins from yesterday. No matter how small. A great conversation, a funny text from my teenager, softball practice, card night with the kids, took a walk. ANY WIN. I write them all. That shifts my focus to the now. To the things going right in my life right now.
Next, I write my goals. My family goals, my healthy goals, my financial goals, and my environment goals. Goals always change as we change and as the kids change, so I physically write them down and practice visualizing accomplishing them. I visualize me playing cards with the kids in Flagstaff when we take that vacation. I visualize the kids and e sitting around the new fire pit in our future back yard making s’mores next to our new pool I’m dreaming about.
And I write several affirmations. Some people say they don’t work. I like them. I use them as a tool to help me intentional each day. I write “I am guided” every day. I remind myself that God always knows what’s best for me and will always guide me to the best next step, the right words, the right tone and the right timing. If I’m working on being a good example to my kids, I write “I am a great example.” If I’m struggling to believe that anything I’m writing is making a difference, I remember a text I got from someone saying they really resonated with one of my posts, or a conversation I had with someone who told me one thing resonated with her, and then I write “I am making a difference.”
I actually created a beautiful journal/daily planner just for mamas who want to be intentional about manifesting their soulmates. It’s a beautiful daily planner I created based on the strategies I used to create the life I wanted and the attract the love I wanted. I’m not gonna brag, but t’s basically the most beautiful journal/planner ever, and it’s what I wish I had had when I was single. If you want to check it out, you can purchase it here!
But you don’t need anything fancy. Just a desire in your heart and some good tools!
My wish is for all of us to transform how we feel about ourselves. Then help others transform. Help everyone we know build self confidence and self love, and then we will all have amazing relationships. That’s what happened to me. And if one woman who spent four decades hating herself and hating her body can unlearn self-loathing and embrace the big bootied body God gave her, then ANYONE can do it!