When was the first time you looked in the mirror and realized what you looked like?
I was 8-years-old. And from that time on, ‘loving my body’ was a foreign concept. I hated on my body for years. Although programs and campaigns and movements to “love your body” exist…many of them tell you what to do, not HOW to do it (how do you genuinely–like really–be at peace and love your body?! Here’s what I’ve found…
I love my body
Not in a self-conceited, vain or self-absorbed way.
This has been a long time coming. From the time I was in the 3rd grade, on, it’d been an all-out war.
Never pretty enough. Skinny enough. Strong enough. Lean enough. Healthy enough. Lovely enough. Beautiful enough. Enough. Enough. Enough.
- I’ve signed up for body image challenges.
- Done the whole “Operation Beautiful” (write it on a Sticky Note) campaign.
- Watched the Dove “Real Beauty” YouTube videos.
- Gone without makeup.
- Read the statistics.
- Smashed the scale.
- Tried to re-frame that ‘little voice’ in the back of my mind that kept beating me down (“You’re not good enough”)…
And these are all GREAT! But still…without fail…
Never felt completely, 100% good enough.
Trying to find my self-confidence in whatever “positive mantra”, educated study and statistics and “faking it until I made it” approach…At the end of the day, when I laid my head down at night, or woke up the next morning to face my reflection in the mirror, “Not enough” stuck out in my mind.
In my pre-eating disorder days (ages 8-10), I called myself “pudgy”, “not skinny enough,” “fat.”
In the thick of the struggle (ages 10-24), the words “ugly, fat and stupid” were etched in my head.
And even post-eating disorder, in recovery, that inner mean girl—though more tamed—still reared her ugly head. This time saying things like, “You’re too thin”, “You’re still little Lauryn,” “People are judging if you are recovered enough,” “When you look like ‘XYZ’, then you’ll be good enough.”
Damned if I do and damned if I don’t—never lean enough, or big enough. Never thin enough, or ‘rockin’ a hot body’ enough.
This inner mean girl does NOT just apply to eating disorders.
Your Inner Mean Girl
It’s that voice that plays on ‘replay for all of us throughout our lives…
- You suck
- That was so stupid
- Look at those thighs
- She’s way prettier than you
- So big
- Too “_____” (you fill in the blank)
…Until, one day, we put our foot down and decide to yell back at it:
A LOT of programs and campaigns and movements out there tell us WHAT to do to “love our bodies” or to “declare peace with our bodies.”
And they are great! We:
- Smash the scales
- Don’t wear makeup
- Advocate for no air-brushing
- Speak words of affirmation to ourselves
- Cut the size tags off our clothes
- Burn the “skinny jeans”
But what many of these programs and campaigns and movements fail to do is teach us HOW to love our bodies—how to GENUINELY look in the mirror, or inside ourselves, and GENUINELY feel amazing and at peace.
We can talk until we are blue in the face, but believing it in our hearts?
HOW DO WE DO THAT?!!!!!
The Slight Edge
I’m going to share a secret with you today.
The key difference I have found in my journey and search to discover HOW to GENUINELY love my body is this…
- Re-connecting with your body. More than a number, a size, a shape, diet you eat on auto-pilot or workout routine. “Re-connecting” means getting in touch with how you really feel and what your body (and your mind) needs. I teach clients to do this in a number of ways, such as: re-learning how to be intuitive, exploring what “moves” you and makes you come alive (physically, emotionally, soulfully), eating out of love-not fear, listening-not just hearing-your body. Sometimes, simply by slowing down and getting off the hamster wheel, reassessing habits and rules, and gaining clarity paves way to newfound respect for your body.
- Doing what you love & living your passions—Find your passions, your hobbies, your skills, talents, and going after them.
(When your doing what you love, who has time to hate on their body?!
- Recognizing your unique, beautiful, lovely self (the things that make you YOU—your quirks, your strengths, your personality)and playing it up.
- Getting outside yourself. Finding community and doing life with others who help you also come alive! Having fun, making memories, being true friends.
- Knowing truth about your self-worth.
Get quiet and still for a moment to reflect on what each of these points means to you.
I’ve come to the realization that no matter what the scale says, or what the mirror reflects, or someone else says…by the world’s standards, I am NEVER going to be “good enough.”
I am NEVER going to have 100% total self-confidence in “rocking my bikini body” or posting half-nudie selfies on Instagram of my 6-pack abs or ‘hard work’ for the rest of the world to see.
BUT…I CAN have self-worth (and that runs DEEP).
Self-Confidence vs. Self-Worth
A final thought for you today…
Consider the concept of “self-confidence” vs. “self-worth.” The (often interchangeable) words have a SHOCKING difference:
Self-confidence is ego-centric. Ego driven. Self-confidence is finding my own validation in things that are like sifting sand (i.e. the number on the scale, the number of Likes on a Facebook post, awards, compliments, other’s opinions about me, photos, achievements, accolades).
Self-worth, on the other hand, is 100% unshaken. It’s a deep understanding of my truth and roots, based on who God created me to be and, more importantly, who God says I am.
While self-confidence can change on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis, self-worth is a rock—constant and steady.
This is my Fight Song
My self-worth is this:
“For He formed me completely—mind, body and soul; He carefully, skillfully knit (every part of) me together throughout my mom’s pregnancy. I praise Him, for He says ‘YOU are thoughtfully and wonderfully made!’ Wonderful are your works, God; my soul knows it very well.”-Psalm 139: 13-14
When I listen to my inner mean girl, I am basically saying: “God, your work sucks!”
- I no longer weigh myself.
- I no longer set goals around physique, looking a certain way or based upon body fat and percentages.
- I no longer laboriously read magazines or scour the internet for articles on attaining the perfect body.
- I no longer deny myself food, meticulously count or plan my calories.
- I no longer stuff myself full, trying to ‘get bigger’ or overcome my ‘small-framed’ genes.
- I no longer whip myself like a slave driver to go to the gym, or beat myself up for NOT being able to snatch 200 lbs. or hit a new 1-rep back squat.
I’ve accepted the fact that self-confidence can change, but my self-worth runs through and through.
YOURS does too.
I am excited to announce the POTENTIAL for the latest documentary on beauty and body image—“Embrace” to come to Austin.
I have petitioned for a special screening to be held September 22nd at 7:30 pm at Regal Gateway 16 + Imax.
The event needs to sell at least 68 tickets (only $11 bucks) to “make the movie happen.” Reserve your tickets (Plus, spread the word!) with this link: http://gathr.us/screening/15865.
It’s going to be great.
Check out the trailer here:
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