Where does a positive self image come from? Is it from the compliments of others? Is it looking in the mirror and liking what you see?
Let me help you have positive self efficacy through how you 'feel'. Let me start by sharing my journey of positive self image.
Growing up I was often teased by how I looked. I had big gnarly glasses that took up more than half my face, greasy hair cause I didn't know how to take care of it and outdated clothes, mainly because I had no sense of fashion. Then I got braces! Ugh, it's not like it is today. All the names in the book came at me, but it was really dumb to be honest because I was going to have the straight teeth while they would still poke fun at me through their wide gaped crooked smirk. Nonetheless, this was hard to hear as a kid. I questioned that my looks mattered so much to others that they would poke fun at what wasn't 'cool'. It made me sad, but it also toughened me up.
When I was a teenager, I learned better self care practices for my matted down hair, learned to wash my face so I didn't have hardly any pimples and dress a little more up to date, thanks to some well meaning friends who came to the rescue. By this point I was feeling a lot more self confident in my appearance. I mean after all, I wasn't getting picked on anymore. Except that wasn't true. I was still getting picked on for my weight. I was thin, but I wasn't weak. I was often challenged to races, basketball tournaments or dance offs that would leave my competition only making more fun of me out of their own insecurities because I beat them. While I had the pride of winning, I had the pain of constant ragging, all because of my image. Yet I stayed focused on what mattered most to me; how I felt about myself and how my Heavenly Father felt about me.
You see, people will poke and belittle your looks no matter how you feel about yourself. You could be the most beautiful, fit, stylish, blemish free person and there will always be someone that is intimidated or insecure enough to drag you down. But, the stronger your resolve to know of your worth, regardless of your looks, the more capable you are of becoming a more self-confident, radiant, inspiring to others human being.
Fast forward to being pregnant with 4 children and that's a whole new ballgame. So many people were willing to tell me that I looked so beautiful, radiant and angelic when all I felt like was a beached whale. While I did look in the mirror and 'look' beautiful, I felt bloated and tired. Yet at this point in my life, I hung tight to the compliments of others and the blessing of looking myself in the mirror and creating positive self image.
Some thoughts and actions that have helped me gain a greater sense of 'feeling' my best regardless of what I might look like in the moment include; power statements, not judging others, squashing limiting beliefs, seeking education, and finding a mentor.
These are statements that I repeat in my mind over and over again when I'm not 'feeling' my best. My go to statements include: "I got this", "You've practiced self care today", "It doesn't matter what other people think", "You are in charge of YOU." These statements help me pull out of the funk of not feeling positive about my image, physical and mental image.
No Judgement of Others
Whether that's through the eyes of others insults or my own, there are many times that I have to practice this. Without being envious, there are times that I catch myself wishing I looked like ......, their hair, their face, even their feet. (Yeah that's weird!) After all, women are literally the WORST about loving themselves. There is something we can find that we don't like about ourselves at any given point in the day. Instead of spending time judging others for what they have that I don't regarding physical features, I have learned to get to know their mental and spiritual features that I can emulate.
Squashing Limiting Beliefs
This one is VITAL to our existence. We can't say 'it is what it is' regarding some of our physical features. Just as we can learn positivity, spiritually, and skill, etc, we can seek education that will help us improve some of the things we don't like. For example, I used to say that I will always have weak arms because I'm a girl. Most women fall victim to this belief because, unless you're taking steroids or testosterone, our muscles will never visually look the same as a man's, yet this doesn't define the strength they possess. I have pushed myself to gain that strength to squash that limiting belief.
Without studying a topic, we can't say that we have learned about it. I love research and the energy and education that it provides me. I wanted thicker, longer hair for years. When my hair gets long, regardless of what I do to it, it looks like I'm a drowned rat, and that's after I fix it. It naturally is straight and thin. So I did some research to find out what hair extensions would be like for me. I had them put in and love them, at least visually. The time and effort that it takes to do my hair sometimes reminds me to be grateful that I don't have to do this on a regular basis unless I choose to. Sometimes the education we seek is enough to make us pull back from our physical desires to change and loving ourselves more.
Finding a mentor/trainer
This key seems silly. After all, I just explained how wanting to look like someone else isn't a good idea, but to love yourself. What I mean by a mentor/trainer is someone who will feed you positivity while you're increasing in it on your own. Similar to the compliments that I so appreciated when I was pregnant, mentors and trainers know your potential and provide you with REAL, AUTHENTIC TRUTHS that we are often blind to seeing.
After reading through all of this, I hope you're getting the point that I'm trying to make. I have created this blog and my personal training business to revolve around how you 'feel'. The world is constantly telling us to look in the mirror and love everything about ourselves or trash everything. And the truth is, you probably never will. There will always be something that you're tempted to dislike. My desire for you is to focus on how you feel. Stop looking in the mirror when you have the flu and judging your looks. Stop getting on the scale when you feel chubby. Stop asking people if something looks good on your body when you don't feel good in it.
Create your own power statements that will pull you out when you're not positively all in. Some days call for more statements than others. Some days call for phoning a friend and getting that mentor or trainer to tell you how strong you are. Some days call for seeking education to help you feel better. Whatever it is for you, stop looking for the judgments of others to define your physical beauty.
You are unique. You are beautiful. You are enough. You are loved by Him.
I want to be like MOST GIRLS!
Most Girls by Hailee Steinfeld (Radio Clean Edit version)