Sometimes my favorite part about a blog post is reading the comments. Often, the post itself is simply a starting off point. It’s the beginning of a discussion that continues on long after the author has finished her own story. Such was the case with my last post on chronic pain. The comment section is a testament to how many of us have dealt with similar issues, but also a wonderful resource of tips and suggestions from people who have been there and come out on the other side. Similarly, my recent post on weight and body image yielded a number of thoughtful comments from women (and not to exclude anyone, there was also a great comment from a guy) who all understand the pressure to look a certain way. One thing that we all agreed on is that it’s time to start loving ourselves and stop letting the media dictate our self worth.
One of the comments that struck me was from a good friend and fellow blogger, who wrote that she was working on getting her mind to the same place as mine. Well here’s the thing. I am not there. I finally realized where “there” is, and it’s not some distant place where I look like a Victoria’s Secret model. There is where I’ve always been. My mind is just finally catching up. Like I wrote in that post, I’ve had 28 years to believe I wasn’t good enough. That won’t change in a day. But here are some of the ways I’ve been working on changing my way of seeing myself:
1. Focus on your favorite attributes, not your flaws. I imagine I’ve spent countless hours looking in the mirror at my flaws. Picking apart my face and body, wondering if other people see what I see. Now, whenever I find myself doing this, I stop and pick a feature I like. My eyes, my lips, my hair, whatever looks nice that day. And I spend as much time oohing and aahing over my beautiful hair as I would have spent critiquing something else. By the time I walk away from the mirror, I find myself feeling confident and quite sure that if anyone notices anything about me, it will be what a great hair day I’m having, not the fact that my stomach isn’t as flat as I think it should be.
2. Stay away from the magazines! This is a do as I say, not as I do tip. I LOVE reading People and US Weekly. But they never make me feel good about myself. It's almost impossible to read them without starting to play the comparison game. I think of them like candy. They taste so good, but rot my soul. My concession is that I won’t buy them because I refuse to give them money, but whenever I find a free copy (like at the library), I devour them.
3. Affirmations. This doesn’t work as well as my first tip, but I do find that when I’m feeling down, if I write the same sentence over and over, I eventually start to believe it. I am beautiful. I am beautiful. I am beautiful. Try it. It can’t hurt, right?
Now before you go, I’m going to ask you to do two things. One, if you have something you do that makes you feel good about yourself, tell us in the comments so we can continue this discussion. And two, pick out a favorite feature and go admire yourself in the mirror. You’re beautiful... Believe it!