Body Image

darbycaseybyobcloudsOne of Flora Bowley’s Bloom True Boot Camp prompts for this past week was to draw yourself: The Original Selfie.  Which I did, but not ready to share those drawings yet.  But I did want to give acknowledgement to Vivienne McMaster’s class Be Your Own Beloved for helping me get to the point of doing those drawings today.

In February,  I took an online photography class Be Your Own Beloved which was about learning to love yourself more…to gain a better self-image and body-image.  The daily assignments of this class were taking self-portraits.  It helped me so much being able to see myself and talk to myself in a way that I would to someone I care about and love.  In speaking to myself with more kindness and compassion, it helped me accept myself even better than I have in my past. It also helped me see that how others see me really doesn’t matter.  How I see myself is more important.

I haven’t overcome the battle of negative self-image, but I do think I have gathered some tools to help quiet those negative tapes that play.

Tools in my toolbox…lessons learned over the years things to help me view myself differently….

* It’s all about attitude. It doesn’t matter what size I am – I am attractive because of a variety of factors, but mostly my attitude and personality seem to be the main factors in attraction.

* How I see myself is more important than how others see me.

* Through others eyes. So although how I see myself is more important  – looking at myself through others eyes has helped me see myself with more kindness and compassion.

* Friendship with myself. Treating myself as I would a good friend. I would never tell a good friend she is fat and ugly so why do I do that with myself?  I shouldn’t so I try to create a friendship with myself and talk to myself as I would a good friend.

* Gratitude of  where I have been and how and where this body and taken me there. Meaning I have survived a lot and through it all – I have had pain in my body, but experienced pleasures as well and in the end my body got me to where I needed to be. Being grateful for this body and my experiences – good and bad have made me who I am today.

* I feel good….when I wear clothes that reflect what is inside. Meaning when I wear clothing that reflect my feelings and who I am such as  when I am happy my clothes show joy.  When I am feeling soft, vulnerable, delicate, feminine – I wear soft feminine clothing maybe with lace or a little delicate detail.   When I am feeling blue, I wear clothes that sometimes reflect that too such a soft warm sweater to help embrace me.  Maybe I feel sexy and sultry – putting on clothes that reflect that always makes ME feel good.  It isn’t about what others view as sexy.  It is what makes me feel good. What makes me feel whatever I am feeling inside putting it outward.

* Looking at the whole instead of the parts helps me focus on what matters. Seeing me as a kind, compassionate person instead of the girl with a big belly or chunky thighs. Instead of focusing on the parts I don’t like I focus on the overall picture of me. I focus on who I am inside and out.

* Stop comparing myself to others. Truthfully do I really want to be like anyone else? Many things I love about myself and would I really want to give those up to be someone else? NO.  So when I find myself comparing myself to someone else – I try to look at them and send them on their way with light and love and talk to myself with the same light and love focused inside.

* Stop the negative talk or tapes. What goes with the one above – but doesn’t just happen with comparison, but also when trying on clothing, during bad hair days, or just for whatever reason they start up. This one is the hardest for me.  But when I can recognize the negative talk, I try to re-frame the critical voice inside and to actually look at the truth of the situation or moment. I can slow those tapes or eventually stop them. Affirmation of who I am – helps catch those thoughts and stop them each time they crop up.

* We are all the same.  We all struggle – no matter what size or shape we all struggle with body issues. I had a girlfriend once upon a time who was a size 0 and she was very self conscious of her body. She felt her breasts were too small and her hips were boyish.  When I was skinny, I thought I was fat so really struggling with body image happens no matter what size.  I will always have struggles. Everyone struggles –  so we are all the same.

I still struggle with body image – on and off.  But with those tools in my toolbox and the Be Your Own Beloved class, I now know how to see myself and talk to myself with kindness and compassion.

If you struggle from body image issues, you need to find the tools and lessons that work best for you.  As you will notice I don’t have affirmations or mantras on that list, it works for some people, but not for me. So do what works for you, find the core of your issues and find solutions and tools to help re-frame how you look at yourself.  And even better take Vivienne McMaster’s class Be Your Own Beloved.