“Stop the wardrobe wait”. I read those words in an article about lies women tell ourselves about our looks. The lie in question was “I’ll be beautiful when I’m thinner.” Have you told yourself this lie or something like it? Do you deny yourself a new outfit because you’re waiting until you lose those last few pounds and then your life will be better and you will be more deserving?
Recent research is showing that the best way to lose weight is to love and accept your body as it is NOW. Sounds counter-intuitive but apparently it works. So the best weight loss plan is to feel good about yourself. Hmm. Research also shows that talking negatively about your body lowers your self-esteem and even causes depression. How many of us have a tape running through our heads which constantly criticizes our bodies and tells us we’re not good enough? Yet more evidence reveals that women berate their own bodies an average of 14 times a day. That’s a lot of self-loathing.
The reason diets don’t work is that the whole motivation behind them tends to be based on external validation. The idea that self-esteem can be raised by a smaller dress size is ludicrous. Self-love must come from within. All the energy we put into berating our bodies and counting calories is better channeled into working on self-love. Admittedly, it’s difficult, almost impossible, to love your body because we are inundated with images and cultural messages that tell us we’re not good enough as we are.
And whether we realize it or not, all those glossy Vogues and Glamours are contributing to our poor relationships with our bodies. It works on a subconscious level so you can’t say “those images don’t affect me”. They do without you even realizing it. I’ve been putting aside my Vogue magazines in favour of blogs that promote healthy self-image like By Anika, Already Pretty, Medicinal Marzipan, and Becoming A Better Woman From the Inside Out. These ladies know that we are already beautiful as we are and that we do not need to wait until we’ve lost a few pounds before enjoying a new outfit (or a cookie). The time is now. Changing your body size will not make you happy if you weren’t happy to begin with. Basing our happiness on how others perceive us doesn’t work.
When I get down on myself about my looks (it happens to thin people, too!) I think about the way God loves me, that unconditional love which has nothing to do with the shape of my body or the depth of my smile lines. My friend gave me Karen Moore’s book of daily quotations for women and my favourite (because I love hearing the truth) goes like this:
“The world does not make you feel beautiful. So, as you go about your day today let the world keep its best and worst lists, its beauty standards, and its superficial identities. You have the real thing and it’s part of what makes you a gorgeous woman of worth.”
Do you have a favourite self-worth blog?