Perfectionism is a cruel trickster. It promises us the world but it never delivers. Why? Because perfection is unattainable.
The rules of beauty are always evolving and every season a new product is marketed to offer a remedy to something we didn’t even know was a “problem.” I’ll never forget the day I saw an ad for an underarm deodorant that contained a bleaching agent. OMG! Now we have to worry about what our underarms look like? Are you kidding me???
I was so angry.
For about a minute.
Until I realized that buying into this idea was a choice, and I was choosing not to shame myself over my underarms.
Even though body shaming is rampant in our beauty-obsessed culture, we do not have to participate in it.
Life is offers its share of challenges to each of us; let’s not heap even more pain upon ourselves by judging our bodies on a daily basis.
Our bodies are valuable.
So very valuable.
When my mom had a stroke and could no longer bathe or dress herself, I remember kneeling down on the floor to help her put her pants on and then one sock at a time. That was a life-changing moment for me.
There I was in a body that could kneel down on the floor. I was in a body that allowed me to help my mom when her body stopped working. My body’s value was never more apparent to me than in that moment, and I have seen it through new eyes ever since.
Be willing to see your body through new eyes.
Be willing to see its value and treat it like the treasure it is.
What’s the kindest thing you can say to your body today? Start there, and slowly begin to replace any body-shaming thoughts with thoughts of gratitude and love.
Trust me when I tell you that your body will respond to your kindness, and you’ll feel ten thousand times better without all of that negative gunk in your head.
How much time and energy do you devote to the weight struggle? How many of the thoughts you think each day have to do with how much you weigh, what size clothes you wear, or what you should or shouldn’t eat? How much energy is left over for you to actually enjoy your life?
Diet Mentality has become a way of life for so many people that they seem to run on autopilot with each day being a repeat of the same body hate and food policing as the day before. What these people have forgotten is that this lifestyle is a choice and that it doesn’t have to be this way if they don’t want it to continue. Some may choose to hold on tightly to their self-defeating daily rituals, because they have built their identity around them. This is what they have come to know and as sh*tty as it feels, it also feels oddly safe and familiar.
There is however, a growing population of people who are becoming tired of the daily routine of self-created pain and are ready to make a significant change, even if it feels scary to try something new. Are you one of these people I’m talking about? Are you ready to swap the diet mentality way of life for something richer and more fulfilling? Let me share with you the first step I took in making this swap in my own life: Caring for your body instead of trying to control it.
Any time you think with a Diet Mentality Mindset, you are focused on looking good. You want dramatic results in lightning-fast speed and your actions will be based on controlling your body with some kind of diet plan and/or strenuous exercise routine. Any progress you make is fleeting, because you can’t sustain these controlling actions long-term and back to square one you go.
When you think with a Wellbeing Mindset, you’re focused on feeling good. You understand that there is no race and there is no finish line. There’s only this life and how well you can live it. With that in mind, you know how important it is to care for you body, so that you can use it to experience all of the pleasures life has to offer. Each day, you show appreciation for your body by providing it with adequate sleep, energizing exercise and stretching, hydration, and proper nourishment, taking good care not to overload your system with extra fuel it doesn’t need. Caring for your body is an act of love; and besides feeling good, you also look good, because your body is healthy and you radiate the inner glow of someone who genuinely likes themselves.
That’s the key really, liking yourself. Diet Mentality tells you that you have to be thin to be likable, to be lovable even. That’s such a horrible lie we’ve been led to believe. “Thin” is not a character quality, like being kind, or generous, or lovable. You are already lovable; and when you decide to believe that about yourself, you will find it very easy to care for your body. And a body that is well cared for makes a lovely home for you to live in.
Something remarkable happened today.
I went bathing suit shopping and tried on over a dozen suits. Each suit I put on seemed worse than the next. What’s the remarkable part about this scenario? NOT ONCE did I have a moment of body hatred.
None of the suits worked out, but I didn’t blame my body. I blamed the suits. The cut wasn’t right, the style wasn’t flattering, or I didn’t like the print or color. My body is not wrong – the suits just didn’t work for my figure and I was okay with that. I left the dressing room just as peaceful as I walked in.
The only moment of annoyance I noticed during this whole experience was when I tried on a suit that seemed really tight and restrictive. I later noticed that it was one of those “miracle suits” that is supposed to make you look 10lbs slimmer. I was annoyed by the thought that our bodies have to be restricted from breathing and free movement, just so that we can look thinner. No thanks! I like to feel free when I’m in the water. That’s the point of swimming (for me anyway) and I would never buy a suit that I had trouble breathing in. Oh, the price of vanity! Call me crazy, but I enjoy my oxygen with abundant regularity.
The search for the right suit is still on, but I like that I loved my body in that dressing room today.
My body is not wrong. Neither is yours. Ever.