Loving the Woman in the Mirror- Part 1
I’m super excited because this is going to be my first series on the blog! I sat down with the intention to write a blog post about loving yourself and by the time I stopped pouring my heart out I found that I had way too much material for just a single post. I didn’t want to trim anything because this is important.
To introduce the topic of this first post in the series I have a question for you. How would you feel if someone important to you told you that you weren’t pretty enough? Would you be sad? Angry? Disheartened? Would you have to re-evaluate that person’s position in your life?
Here are the sad truths ladies, many of us have had that exact conversation with ourselves far too often. I have an example from my personal life I’d like to share in fact…
A few weeks ago I had a professional photo-shoot done. Pretty standard really. A headshot and some other pictures and poses that could be used for advertising campaigns in the future. The hair and make-up were done to perfection by a fabulous local professional and a local photographer that did an amazing job.
Yet, I found myself avoiding the pictures when they came in. I was afraid of how I would look in them. (Disclaimer…the next few lines are my reaction with a skewed perception and does not reflect the photographer’s actual work.)
I opened the pictures and I felt dread well up in the pit of my stomach. I systemically criticized every aspect of myself in the pictures. “Is my face that fat? What is going on with my hands? Are they really that fat?” Followed by…”Is my wrist actually eating my beautiful bracelet?” Then I thought, “That cannot be the beautiful dress the Perky Man says I look amazing in. I look horrible!”
I stood in the middle of my shop, where I encourage and coach women on how to support and love their bodies, and teared up. I took a deep breath and sent the pictures to the Perky Man. Of course, I sent them with a reserved version of how I was feeling. It must be noted that The Perky Man totally loves me and my body in every way. He is the most supportive person I know. He sent back a very encouraging and truthful response. I let him have it! How DARE he tell me I look beautiful when I feel this way! I rattled off a list of things that were wrong and demanded that he justify his position.
I stood in the middle of my shop, where I encourage and coach women on how to support and love their bodies, and teared up.
He explained that in those pictures he saw a very beautiful, attractive, successful and loving woman. He went on, “If you could see what I see you would never say those awful things about yourself. You have no idea how bad it hurts me when you tear yourself down. These pictures are of you, the woman of my dreams, the woman I love madly.” The look on his face was one of anger and deep sadness. The Perky man was angry that someone told me I wasn’t pretty enough. Even though that person was me. He was ready to go to battle for me and was visibly upset that I was fighting against myself instead of by his side on the issue.
At that moment I sat down and decided I needed a hard reset…and fast! I set out to take back my inner dialogue and encourage others to do the same. These are my 4 ways to reset my self-esteem:
Accept yourself as you are in this moment in time. Big, small, short, tall – learn to be happy where you are. Treat yourself. Seriously! Be your own best friend. What I am saying is don’t punish yourself…”In 5lbs I’ll get a new sports bra.” Get one now! You are working out. Not only do you need one to do that and accomplish that 5lb goal – you are essentially punishing yourself for not getting there. Support yourself and your goals. If you don’t who will?
Don’t look in the mirror. Yeah, I said it. Are you telling me to hide from myself? Nope, its an exercise. During your “me” time sit or lay in a comfortable position. Clothed, unclothed, calming music – it is up to you. No, this isn’t about “touching wear your bathing-suit covers” (as my mother in law says). Although, I say if you feel an itch – scratch it.
Anyway, close your eyes and get comfy. Start with your feet and just feel them with your hands. Work your way over every inch and body part until you reach the top of your head. Stay in the moment and consciously (this is important) feel the texture of your skin. The firmness or softness of your body. Notice any smells? Pay attention to the curvature and the path your fingers and hands take.
Tell yourself what you notice and compliment yourself. “I love how soft the skin linking my shin to my ankle is.” “My hair has grown out nicely.” “My lungs are strong and I breathe clearly.” Our eyes lie by way of how our brain processes information. Take your eyes out of the equation and you can literally feel your beauty. Let it grow and resonate within you. Feel it wash over you and see it in your mind’s eye. Then give yourself a big hug when you are finished!
When you do look in the mirror, do so with love. Look as if you are talking to the person you hold most dear in your life. Talk to yourself gently, lovingly, complimentary and even encouraging. If you cannot do this, stay away from the mirror until you can. I know how hard it is to honestly look yourself in the eye and say good things to yourself. Trust that you can do it. Practice slowly. Until you can do it and believe yourself, you best learn to put on your lipstick by feel 😉
Practice positive self -talk as an inner dialogue. Do this especially when talking to others about yourself. Notice the self-deprecating comments. All of the “cant’s” and “don’ts”, the name-calling, the shaming, the “I hate” declarations, the nitpicking…I can go on and on. Try not to chastise yourself for this. Simply notice it and turn the words around. Turn “I’ll never learn this.” Into “I am actively learning this.” Or “Geeze, those fat rolls.” To “I love the fact that I am healthy enough to eat”
There are plenty more that we will explore throughout the remainder of the series, but this is a wonderful place to start. Love yourself. Be confident in who you are. Magnify the woman within. (Ready for more? Parts 2 & 3 are up!)
I’d love to hear from you on what you do to reset yourself in those moments and what wonderful and encouraging things you say to yourself that others might use and benefit from. We’re in this thing together ladies. Let’s lift each other up!