another swimsuit season come & gone, & now it’s daaaamn cold! thank goodness I have a love of boots that borders on addiction :). but, do the insecurities that go along with exposing our bodies disappear along with the healthful summer sun & ahhhhhh warm breezes on our skin?
uh no! they’re just easy to cover up & the relief that comes with it, well, feels EASY temporarily!
fall….the great clothes, the crisp, refreshing, new life in the air…sure, it’s nice for a bit, but how deep does it go if inside, we don’t feel good about ourselves?
even with an eating disorder in so distant my past that I can’t even imagine having had one & even with my years being an advocate for “know your beauty” on so many levels, I can’t shake the nagging fixation on the 10 pounds I’ve gained in the last year.
yeah, 10. I look at pictures of myself competing in my last dance competition, when I thought my body was at its best. but the truth is, I’m actually in better shape now than I’ve ever been! I think, what a waste of time & energy, but…I just can’t let go. ugh, don’t get me started!
& why? well, part of it is all summer long, media headlines have been aggressively screaming a common theme: shape up for summer! get your bikini body back! even the most confident & mentally healthy folks begin to feel the pressure that something is not quite right with themselves. but, what if we could really celebrate who we really are instead of obsessing over who we’re not—a person that doesn’t even exist. in my case, someone always stressed out & constantly tense, trying to be & do everything absolutely perfect, always apologizing for myself, feeling guilty about—jeez, who the heck knows!
we know body image isn’t based on facts, but emotions, & emotions start with thoughts. & the best place to begin improving how we feel about ourselves is to do some hardcore work on what we think about ourselves. more importantly, how our thoughts LEAD to the emotions that get us into the “funks” we find ourselves in. it’s really as simple as that….& as hard! I mean, our minds are darn difficult to deal with! in my dancing, the very moment I let my mind in, & this is hard to explain, everything goes all to h*ll. but if I can lower my mind, much like meditation, & be at one with myself & my partner, my body, the music, it’s the most beautiful, amazing, transforming experience there is. as my partner/teacher says, where is music? it is everywhere? in our dancing in that mode? WE ARE EVERYWHERE! we are nowhere, we just ARE. it’s the closest thing to zen I’ve ever experienced. and the journey to this place, the constant journey here is battling & being aware of my negative self-talk, my brain telling me what I’ve always told myself since childhood.
the first step is to become aware of our constant self-talk or self “noises”. when I force myself to be aware of my thoughts, I become hyperconscious of words like “you’re stupid” or “ugh, Suki” in an inner voice that screams “lame girl!” & wow, what a punitive reality that is.
our minds first create our intentions & then create our reality. our minds are actually the ruler of our worlds, not our hearts, not our emotions! when we realize this, freedom is near, with a confidently JLO-sized butt load of hard work! & isn’t she a great example of how one woman changed a whole culture of women to want large rear ends instead of running from them? how’s that for some self-love & working with whatcha got! hoooaaaa!
positive self-image, like “confidence”, is like retraining a muscle that not only has gone dormant but has actually been trained to work against you (science has shown this starts in the womb! when my mom had a car accident, was in traction & had a C section, & fought with my dad non-stop, this started me out with a high cortisol level that has stalked me til today!). so you must exercise your self-talk in positive ways to make it strong, automatic & make it work for you, just like any other muscle! if you can, find a trainer to help (mine just happens to be my amazing dance teacher, which I’m telling you, has helped more than years of therapy).
makes me think of Stuart Smalley, the character on Saturday Night Live. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, & gosh darn it, people like me!” the truth in that, about positive affirmations & becoming our own best friend, hits home. there’s also this Disney movie called “The Kid” that always makes me cry in this one scene where the adult (Bruce Willis) is hugging & consoling himself as a weeping child, saying “it’s not your fault”. kills me every time (but I am a big baby after all 🙂 but think about it, what would it be like if we could meet ourselves as child, knowing what we know now, & truly explain it all, hug ourselves, reassure ourselves that we are not to blame for the horrible things we may have been accused of, or held accountable for, or blamed for, or not protected from? that’s deep man!
as an adult, you are the architect of your own self-concept. so the next time you notice a negative thought, it is your job to stop it in its tracks! replace that BS with new words of encouragement that make sense to who you actually are & lift you up! be honest, you are not (fill in the blanks), you are (insert the good things people say about you, but you just can’t seem to believe).
for me it’s “I’m not stupid or ugly, I’m smart & pretty”—gotta admit it’s even hard to write those to this day.
you know, I would love to hear your experiences & help with your struggles as you create this new minute-to-minute discipline in your life & watch the changes take root & grow. & hey, DANCE y’all! seriously. or challenge, or just plain enjoy yourself through something that makes you feel scared & vulnerable. there’s nothing better for your self-esteem than the growing awareness that comes with seeing yourself for the first time, again & again! my next thing, aerial wrapping (or whatever they call it). I cant wait!