Last week, I opened a discussion about how we feel about our bodies and what we can do to love and accept them. Today, let’s dive into how our thoughts can either help or hinder our efforts.
Do you accept your body as it is today?
Do you embrace it? I ask because it’s really hard to have a healthy lifestyle if you’re constantly beating yourself up, unaware of how often your mind slips to inward body assault. This mind game uses a lot of mental energy, energy that you could be using to love your partner or redirect to your playtime with the kids and enjoyment of life.
We can eat all the right foods and do all the exercise we want. But, if our minds prevent us from celebrating who we are in the moment, and tell us that we aren’t good enough or that we just need to push that little bit harder….it becomes really hard to have that healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that, if not for our thoughts, is right in front of us and within reach.
Why/how do your self-depreciating thoughts limit your ability to have a healthy lifestyle?
Self-depreciating thoughts are stress trigger thoughts that prevent our bodies and minds from relaxing and just being, two key elements of stress management which is a crucial part of a healthy and happy life. When we’re stressed out, our bodies are in a fight or flight mode. When in this ready to run state, our bodies don’t optimally digest the foods we’ve eaten. Poor digestion leaves us feeling sluggish, bloated, irritable and desperate for energy (which means we eat again). The vicious cycle of self-criticism, stress and eating spiral out of control, getting us nowhere positive.
We’ve been culturally educated to think critically of ourselves. But it wasn’t always this way. At some point in our growth, at least in our minds, our once cute, pudgy legs transform from cute to thunder thighs. These thoughts start to occur as we grow and are exposed to and understand social media and the physical expectations it portrays. And it’s not just media. People, of course, play a big role in this. Consider someone who teases another who is not the societal norm of beautiful.
In our minds, all we know is, “I don’t want that to be me. I never want to be on the receiving end of judgment.” So we put parameters in our lives around what we should or ought to look like, and these become our critical self-judgment/acceptance parameters that we measure ourselves against.
I’m aware that blinders and complete avoidance of social media or critical people is not possible. But we can choose to acknowledge that social marketing is intentionally directing us to perceive ourselves as less than perfect. After all, it is here that we are influenced to spend, spend, spend in order to try to meet some expectation of beauty that is simply not achievable. And that critical person speaks from a place of their own fears and limiting beliefs, attempting to build themselves up by knocking another down.
When we choose awareness, we can see the connection and start to unravel some of our less favorable body image thoughts. We can see them for what they are, and we can understand that we are not alone in our mind-body struggle. A struggle which, regrettably, is played out in the bedroom, on the beach and in the boardroom.
Together, we can open the discussion on what it would take for us to transform our thoughts. A mental transformation that would allow us to truly believe that we are sexy and good enough just as we are. One that would boost our self-confidence, allowing us to avoid feeling that need to fit a particular physical stereotype.
This is how it should be. We should recognize that our partners, for example, love us for who we are: their best friend, confidant, mother and creator of their children’s dreams and financial contributor to name just a few.
If we could believe this deep down, wouldn’t we be so much better off? Wouldn’t we be able to relax into ourselves (and out of our clothes) more comfortably? Wouldn’t we be more motivated to get moving and to eat better because we feel good about ourselves?
Let me ask these questions….
If you believed without a doubt that you are exactly who you want to be (Sexy, Beautiful, Smart and Confident), and felt no pressure to fit any other mold, how would you benefit? What would you feel more comfortable doing? What would your confidence level allow you to do that you’re not already doing?
Coming soon, in the final part of this series, we’ll talk about the empowerment of acceptance!
Please share your comments and support below!