We all deal with them.... those days when the scale serves us an unpleasant surprise (warranted or not), or you catch that glimpse of your reflection in the store window and get that unsettled feeling, or maybe it's seeing a photo of yourself that catches you off guard even though you woke up feeling "fire" that day. If you are human, you deal with it. No exceptions! No matter how "flawed" or how "perfect" society deems you, you deal with it. What is it?! I am talking about bad body image days.
But listen up! Even Beyonce has bad body image days! So if Beyonce has bad body image days, I think it's safe to say much of the time when we do, we are thinking irrationally. So while we can't help a bad angle, the choices of our past, or our human programming to compare ourselves to others, we can learn not to allow those temporary (and irrational) negative thoughts take us down. Here's how:
Focus on what's really important:
That's right... your physical traits are the least important thing about you. The most important thing is not the number on the scale or the size of your thighs. No. The most important thing is how you feel. How you FEEL has a much greater impact over how you SHOW UP in this life than your pants size or a number on a scale ever will. Oprah didn't take over the world by looking like a fitness model. She took over the world with her ENERGY. And your energy is what will help you take over YOUR world. So focus on that today! Focus on how your supportive choices make you feel: light, strong, capable? Whatever it is, focus on making choices today that help you feel that word and nothing less.
Let your actions speak the loudest:
Guess what? Perfect doesn't exist. Numbers sometimes lie. And our hormones and mood change as often as the weather. So only choosing to make good choices when we feel great is like saying you'll only wake up when the sun is shining and it's 70-something degrees out. If we did that, we'd be jobless, homeless, friendless, and missing out on over HALF our life.
We are also missing out on much if we were to apply the same behavior on our health journey, (which is guaranteed to have a few depressing moments, especially in the beginning). See here's the thing...and I want you to remember this. Write it down, put it on your fridge, whatever you need to do:
We don't ever actually feel great because of a number on a scale or perfectly smooth thighs. No. We feel great because we put effort in. Because we did something that was hard! And because we continue to pursue hard things over and over again. Your actions, your experiences, and what happens on the days "we don't feel like it" are the things that make the end destination great.
Need proof? Think back to all the things in your life. I bet the things you're proudest of weren't the easy things to do when in the most perfect mood. No, they are the things you did anyways despite the struggle, despite them being tough. So remember...confidence may not be coming from your appearance today. But it can come from your actions every day.
Decide who you are:
Bad body image days come from a variety of circumstances and happen to all body shapes and sizes. It can come from inside ourselves, or it can come from some unsolicited outside perspective. The thing is, they all have one thing in common: they usually come out of nowhere.
You know what else comes out of nowhere? Panicked calls from clients, sick coworkers, car accidents, illness, sleepless nights, a sick child, a worldwide pandemic, ripping your pants right down the butt crack seam when you bend over...you get the idea. We deal with all of this, and yet, we still show up to our jobs.
So on the day your appearance has you wanting to take a time out, think back to the standards you hold yourself to when it's for someone else. Who ARE YOU in the face of adversity when it means only letting yourself to let down? If you have a history of now showing up to your job, you lose it. If you have a history of not showing up for yourself, you lose it. SO DO IT ANYWAY! Make the empowered choice.
You do it for your boss. Do it for yourself.
Consider this: of all the years struggling with your body image, when is the last time hating yourself worked to fix it?
(I sense a heavy silence).
So now here's your homework...I am asking you to do exactly the opposite. After all, what have you got to lose? Loving on yourself may sound selfish and undeserved when we are picking ourselves apart, but these are precisely the times we need it the most. The next time you are beating yourself up, change the conversation.
1. Stand in front of a mirror as naked as you feel comfortable.
2. While looking at yourself, notice three things you appreciate about your body. Maybe it's a small detail like your beautiful nail beds. Maybe it's a non-visible trait like the strength of your thighs. Maybe it's something emotional like the scar you got when you were having a blast with your friends in high school or the eye color you inherited from your mother. Get detailed.
3. Speak out loud to yourself, "I appreciate my _______ because/for _______", listing each one and why you appreciate that thing.
That's it. Very simple. But it does a powerful thing. This "Mirror Exercise" changes the conversation happening in your head. You purposefully shift from negative to positive thinking. The size of the things you find positive is not relevant! It's simply about changing your energetic perspective. When you practice this, you get better at trading negative motivation for positive motivation and seeing yourself in a more positive light. And that can't hurt ANYONE. It also becomes easier over time to focus on your assets rather than what you deem are weaknesses the more you shine a light on them.
So next time you have that bad body image day, remember these tactics, and remember Beyonce. Above all, remember thoughts and emotions and temporary and fleeting. Don't allow them to keep you stuck in a permanent position.