I said to myself as I looked at my thighs in the mirror with some anguish.
“Maybe if I turn this way they won’t look so huge. Like, maybe it’s just the lighting.”
“It’s not. It wasn’t. It probably never will be the lighting,” I remarked… to myself.
At least I could admit that though, right? You know, at least I wasn’t lying to myself saying it was the construct of my mirror or the way the light was hitting my body. So, I guess I had that going for me. What’s the first step? Admittance? Yeah, that’s where I was.
Then, I stopped myself.
“Wait, really? You’re going to sit here and pick apart your body. This body that allows you to move, breathe, love, be present, experience wonder and joy, worship your Lord, hug your family and friends, work hard, write, listen to music, RUN. Do I need to go on? Don’t start your day by ridiculing your body, putting a damper on your day, thinking you’re not lovable, all because you’re bigger than you were when you were a senior in high school. You have come so far. So, so far and you are worthy of love no matter what size you are.”
Then, I smiled, said, “Hey girl, let’s live this day to the fullest.” And went on my merry way.
But the Good Lord knows it took me years and years to get to the place where I could talk myself out of that rut. Where I could push myself through that moment – that moment that if I succumbed to it, would surely ruin my day.
It’s taken discipline, practice, and a lot, a lot, a lot of reframing situations.
Let’s talk about you
And yet, how often do you ridicule yourself as you stand in front of the mirror? Maybe once a week? Every morning? Multiple times a day?
Then, you muster up the energy to get yourself dressed, because you’re already late for work, but your pants are too tight, so you feel a pit in your stomach, and what started out as a relatively positive and happy morning, is now tainted with the fact that, ugh, you’re getting fat.
And that feeling settles right into your very being, as you pull yourself through your day, avoiding mirrors and wishing you were a size (or three) smaller.
There are ways to overcome the cycle of negative self-talk, especially when you’re not the size you used to be or want to be. Let’s dive in:
1. Ground Yourself
For me, step number one is taking a moment to step away from my thoughts. To, quite literally, imagine a stop sign in replace of whatever negative thought is consuming my mind. The sooner you stop it, the sooner you can regain control, and that might mean you will have to stop yourself over and over and over again. It’s arduous and sometimes painful, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
You may need to even physically remove yourself from the location, and that’s okay. Walk away from the mirror, leave the room, distract yourself. Then regain control.
2. Practice Gratitude
If you want to listen to something heart wrenching that will help you look at your life and the world in a new light, check out Sheryl Sandberg’s episode on the Super Soul Sunday podcast with Oprah. For me, it opened up my eyes to what it means to be grateful despite facing pain and adversity.
She says to continue practicing gratitude on a daily basis, she has a gratitude journal, and throughout the day she’ll make note of moments in which she is grateful for. Then, come the end of the day, she’ll write these moments down. She’ll list them out and hold them in her heart. During the episode, the Sheryl and Oprah also talk about joy, and they say those who are most joyful are those who practice gratitude.
Sheryl Sandberg has a new book out that I just ordered on Amazon entitled, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. She tells the story behind the title in the podcast, but the TLDR (TLDL?) version – “Option A isn’t available, so we’re going to kick the sh*t out of Option B.” Listen to the podcast, it’s amazing. Clearly, I’m still gushing.
Write down what you’re grateful for on a daily basis and it will take away the pressure you put on yourself to look different. It’ll help you appreciate life as it is, in this very moment.
3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Talking yourself through a crushing moment takes practice and repetition. You will not go to bed self-loathing and then wake up feeling like:
Well, maybe some mornings you will. But when that feeling passes and the doubt creeps in, the more often you’ve repeated your positive mantras, the quicker and easier they’ll resurface during the bad moments.
For example, I say things like:
“What you look like doesn’t matter. What matters is your soul and the kindness and light you spread to the world.”
“Girl, you’ve got SO much going for you. The size of your pants does not diminish your worth.”
“God created YOU in HIS image. Do not forsake that.”
And if you’re a bit morbid:
“Does this even matter when you’re six feet under?”
4. Get Rid of the Junk
Somehow, much to my chagrin, I was subscribed to Cosmo, Women’s Health, and Shape. The Good Lord knows I did not inflict this pain upon myself, but I do feel like the world is testing me and saying, “Can you practice what you preach?” because those magazines are straight up junk with their airbrushed models and unsubstantial and shallow articles.
So each month when they arrive, I promptly make a sound of disgust and throw them away (don’t worry, I recycle). I suggest you do the same, and not just with magazines that don’t serve you, but with everything – especially social media. Unfollow your friends who aren’t really your friends – the ones whose posts make you feel less-than or jealous or just downright unhappy. (If I ever make you feel this way, I am so terribly sorry, and will not be offended if you unfollow me.)
You may also want to do a smartphone detox. I’ve been meaning to try this. If you’re in, message me, and we can conquer it together.
All in all, what we’re bombarded with every day – the fakery, the lies, the immorality – doesn’t help us conquer the negative thoughts about our body. Get rid of it… all.
In conclusion, you’ve got this
So, yes, unwinding the negative thoughts about your body takes work and practice, but I promise the longer you do it, and I mean truly actively make an effort to do it, the easier it’ll get and the less consuming the thoughts will be.
And when you need a pick-me-up listen to this song. It’s the sh*t. (Sorry, mom.)
P.S. – A couple things
You may think things like, “What the heck does she know? She looks fine.” Please, take what I say to heart. We’re all in this together. And, if you need someone to hear you out, to listen to you, to love you, I am here. Comment below, message me on Instagram, or feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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