I marvel at women who seem full of self-confidence. They know they are beautiful. They know they are sexy. They know they are wanted. They feel at ease in that power. Or at least it seems that way to me as an outsider. God…what I would give for one day of feeling that — a moment of not feeling at war with myself, peace instead of hatred.
It is so difficult to try to see myself in any kind of an objective way. My reflection is distorted by memories. There were messages that I was fat. The dislike conveyed to me about how I dressed. The reaction to and my hatred of the things I can’t change like my height, my webbed neck, my weird feet. There were days where it felt like every message was “You are different, ugly, and you will never be beautiful.”
Now that I’ve lost some weight and people are commenting on it, it is a strange thing. I do my best to take it in the spirit of compliment and encouragement that it is intended. They know I’ve been working hard, and they are happy that I’m getting healthier. They don’t intend anything other than kindness and praise. But let me tell you where the wounded, fat-girl inside goes….
She gets hurt. There is a sense of Wow, I must have been an absolute whale. They really thought I was huge.
She gets pissed. Once again, I’m being judged on the physical. Oh what?! Now you think I’m becoming “acceptable.” Now you actually acknowledge my presence. I guess my soul doesn’t count for much to you does it?
She judges herself. It’s never enough. I don’t see strong, lean legs. I don’t see the fact that my arms are changing and getting some definition. I look at my stomach and the fact it isn’t toned despite my workouts. I see the fat there, despite my diet. And I want to break down. I want to scream and say, “What do I have to do? I’m working so damn hard…I’m giving up so much. What more do you want God? Why won’t you let me be pretty and skinny?”
I’m coming to realize how powerful my definition of self is. I am trying to change it, but I’ll be honest…I’m far from succeeding yet. For most of my life I’ve considered myself ugly, fat, etc. I’ve defined myself as the very opposite of beautiful. What else could I think growing up? Beauty was defined as blonde, blue-eyed, tall, thin. My God. How far from that am I?
And this way of seeing myself became a habit that now distorts what I see in the mirror. So now that I’ve come this far on the physical, I realize that I must go just as far inside.
Now the gal is the picture isn’t ugly. She’s pretty. She has great eyes and cleavage. She’s not skinny per say, but she’s not huge. She’s got a cute, sexy pose going on. I was struck by how different that picture is from how I see myself.
So…where do I go from here?
I’m going to try to change that inner voice. It is habit that reinforced the self-judgment. I hoping habit can reinforce self-compassion and self-love instead.
I’m going to try a few days of writing down the negative things I say about my body to help bring my attention to how often it takes place. And then I’m going to do my best to stop myself in the future when I start criticizing myself and either frame my thought in a more objective manner or replace the judgmental thought with something positive.
I’ve begun writing down the gracious compliments I receive and the things people do and say to show I’m appreciated. I’m hoping that will help remind me the painful picture I have of myself isn’t the truth.
I’m going to keep up the meditation and exercise. They do help me to feel centered, strong, and better about myself.
And I will do my best to just say “Thank you” to the compliments on the weightloss and kind words on my looks. I will make myself stay in that space of gratitude as much as possible.
I’m sure along the way I’ll do other things too such as affirmations and using my mala to reinforce positive thoughts. I am open to any suggestions you have as well. Leave them in a comment below.
So before I go, I want to say that I didn’t write this to “fish for a compliment” as my folks would say. I am writing this because I think most women feel like I do. I think most women have cruel, self-judging thoughts regarding their looks. I think most women struggle with wanting to be beautiful and yet wanting to be seen for more than just their bodies. I think most women fight against the media’s “Size 0 is beautiful.” and “You are ugly unless you buy this.” doctrine. I think most women don’t have a clue of their worth or how stunning they really are.
I want those women to fight too. I want them to join me in letting go of the past way of seeing themselves and choosing a way of looking at themselves that is empowering.
I want those women to know they aren’t alone, and they are loved. I’m here with ya and I’ll remind you of how gorgeous you are any time you need it.
We begin to change the way the world views/values women by changing how we view/value ourselves. So let’s make it about love. Let’s embrace our beauty. Let’s connect again with a sense of power. We can shine if we allow ourselves.