Ugh…bathing suit shopping.
Is that the thought you have when it comes to shopping for a new suit?
Now…before you go judging me or anyone when we say these things, let’s remember that it doesn’t matter what we think about how that person looks, it’s all about the conversation and beliefs inside their own head that really matters.
It can help us to accept ourselves a bit better when we receive external validation that we look better than we think we do. Yet, it doesn’t necessarily stop the demon talk in our heads that we are too fat or too thin or that our stomach wiggles or look at that cellulite on the thighs or butt. Right?
Messaging from our families
We all have stories about our bodies. What kind of messaging did you receive from your family about your body growing up?
My family was a mixed bag of messages. My Mom was a petite 5’3″, very well-endowed robust woman who gained weight easily and turned to food for comfort. My Dad was tall and lean and had an athletic build and didn’t have to worry about what he ate, yet he turned to criticism for control.
I took after my Dad in my build. Yet it wasn’t easy. I was very thin (called “skinny”) with long legs (called “chicken legs”) and clothing never fit me quite right, so my Mom was always adding length to the pants or taking things in (always teased for my clothes).
Being teased about my weight and build of body was not comfortable and made me very self-conscious.
In my younger years, I loved to run, and I even got teased for how I ran. I was one of the fastest runners in the school and yet I heard things like, “You run like a funny chicken” and then in junior high it was, “You run like a crazy gazelle”. I didn’t think gazelles ran crazy, but you get the connotation. We say such mean things as kids.
There were other things said about my knobby knees and then the ultimate embarrassing body parts – my boobs. Yep, got teased greatly for not having any.
The teasing not only took place in school, but my oldest brother was the meanest by saying things like, “Your bra size must be an inverted triple Z”. This was in junior high when hormones are going crazy and other girls were getting bustier and I wasn’t.
Can you relate to not fitting in growing up and feeling like there’s something wrong with you? And probably not being able to talk to your Mom or another adult about what’s going on with your body?
And maybe that’s happening now for you as you get older. It did for me.
These self-conscious feelings showed up when I started menopause too. My body started changing, weight gained in places I didn’t think was possible, skin felt different, sagging muscles even though working out. And feelings of my body betraying me surfaced along with the buried memories of being teased.
Most of my clients share these same sentiments. Our stories may be a bit different, yet the feelings are the same.
When we didn’t have anyone to talk to about our growing bodies or when we hear things that hurt our feelings, it creates beliefs about ourselves. That seem to come with us into maturity.
The messaging received not only from our families but also society can be hurtful and damaging to how we view ourselves, which has an effect on our self-worth.
As human beings, we are always comparing ourselves. It’s part of our ego that helps to keep us “safe” because of the ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality going back to those cave person days. That’s not scientific language but I think you get where I’m going.
We learn that who we are is not enough and that we need to be smaller or larger or change our face or skin or look younger or look older to “fit in”. How damaging is that for our psyches? Especially as teenagers, which is hell to live through anyway.
And then most of us carry that forward into adulthood because we didn’t get the messaging that we are beautiful just the way we are.
The comparison then leaks over into not just our bodies, but our businesses, lives, friendships – keeping up with the Joneses type of mentality. We pretty much can feel screwed because it will never be enough. We feel like “we” will never be enough.
It’s not about other people or society. Yes, I get the programming we endured growing up, yet now we have a choice. And we can choose to change it. For ourselves first and then that can ripple out to others.
It must first come from within you. That’s how we change society and the world.
Start with Forgiveness
Even though it needs to come from within us first, it’s challenging to start there. Remember that demon talk in our heads? The one that tells you that you’re not pretty enough or thin enough or smart enough? So, we start with forgiveness in stages.
Forgiveness of those that taught us how to hate our bodies and ourselves. Forgiveness of society for not honoring each person for the beautiful and creative being they are individually. Forgiveness of ourselves for believing all those lies and doing the things we’ve done to our bodies to change them because we felt not good enough.
“Feeling beautiful has nothing to do with what you look like.”
It is truly about our insides that matter.
You have the power to change those beliefs and patterns that were created in your younger years and that are maybe still lingering.
And it’s not just by changing habits. Yes, that’s helpful. Yet, if we only change a habit and not the belief underneath, we have an extremely high chance of sabotaging ourselves.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How do you want to feel about your body?
- What would an accepting and loving relationship with your body look like?
- How would having a loving relationship with your body affect how you engage in other areas of your life?
- What makes you feel beautiful inside?
You’re Not Alone
These beliefs/patterns are deep, and it can feel a bit scary to navigate on your own.
If you want any guidance or support as you navigate these beliefs/patterns, I’m here for you.
To book a complimentary 30-minute call to find out more about the forgiveness process, click here.