Hello everyone! I hope you had an enjoyable and restful holiday!
While discussing the holiday adventures with a friend, our conversation soon turned to the insecurities women feel about our own bodies, specifically in situations requiring swimsuits. These insecurities can inhibit our ability to have an enjoyable time at the pool, lake, or any swimsuit wearing activity as we compare ourselves to each other and to society’s unrealistic ideals.
As women, how many times a day do we find ourselves saying “if only…”? If only I were taller, shorter, skinnier, blonder etc. We go on and on and we use all these products to change ourselves – make-up, spanx, hair spray, straighteners, high heels, extensions and this list goes on. The real kicker is the fact that we are lead to believe that these things will help us “feel better” about ourselves.
My question is, at a time when we have the most “feel better” products available in history, why do women, arguably, have the lowest self-esteem in history? Don’t get me wrong, I love playing “dress up” as much as the next girl; playing with make-up is fun and if it is used to enhance ones natural beauty, that is one thing. However, it’s when women and girls believe they NEED these things or have to change themselves to be of value, that is when we are doing 1/2 the world’s population a huge disservice. According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, approximately 13.5 billion dollars were spent on cosmetic surgery in 2016 alone and rising every year. Why do we think we need to do this to ourselves?
We Are Our Own Bullies
The sad thing is, we are our own biggest bullies. Women tend to be the biggest culprits of body shaming. Our own negative self-talk creates an inaccurate and overly harsh image of ourselves. The more we have unrealistic ideals splashed upon magazines and drilled into our heads, the more our brain wires itself to focus on and enhance the belief of our own inadequacies. As a therapist, I have seen a disproportionately large amount of women and girls over the years, in addition to the conversations with my own friends, that see themselves in a very different light than what the people around them see. There is a profoundly enlightening video created by DOVE depicting this phenomenon. (See the video link below)
So, What Can I Do About it?
That is a really good question! The change has to start with YOU. YOU are the model for future generations: moms, aunts, cousins teachers, friends, business women, athletes, the list goes on. How you hold yourself, talk to yourself, and believe in yourself will be an example to all those who look up to you. In an effort to help you begin to enjoy being the wonderful person you are, I have compiled a list of things that can help you feel better about yourself:
- Continually remind yourself that you are your own worst critic.
-Eat something that helps energize your body every 2 hours. Low blood sugar has a huge impact on our mood (why do you think toddlers are more susceptible to tantrums when they are hungry). Keep your energy up and mood regulated by having a meal or small snack every 2 hours throughout your day. (I keep almonds, seaweed snack packs and freeze-dried fruit in my glove compartment for when I’m on the run.)
- When you catch yourself starting the “if only…” game, replace that with a positive affirmation (My little sister used to write things like “Hello Beautiful” on her vanity mirror with a dry erase marker – yay for positive reminders that make you smile!)
Let people around you know when you need a self-esteem boost. Contrary to popular belief it is OK to ask people for reminders of how amazing they think you are (I know someone who will occasionally say to her husband, “I am feeling really down on myself right now. Please tell me 3 good things about me or that I do well, having nothing to do with looks”). The more you ask for what you need, the more likely you are to get it.
Make time to do at least ONE thing EVERY day for yourself, even if it is only a small indulgence CLICK HERE for a wonderful Self-Care Wheel full of ideas that I give to many of my clients!
Do at least ONE thing EVERY day that makes you laugh, the healing properties of laughter have been proven time and time again (Put on your favorite song and dance around the kitchen)
- Meditate – There is a wonderful app that reminds you throughout the day to pause and take two deep breaths, as well as, provides meditation exercises when you have a little more time. It is called Mindfulness Daily, I love it!
Help someone! You can volunteer for a non-profit organization or you can just take a meal to a sick friend. Altruism is the best antidote for depression.
Exercise! I’m sure I do not need to tell you the many benefits of exercise, however I have a very wise friend who told me there should be a few rules to your daily exercise:
The type of exercise should bring you joy (skip the 6 AM Spinning class if the idea of it makes you dread waking up!)
If you are exercising and you find yourself falling into negative or stressful thoughts or you are not enjoying it – STOP and try again tomorrow.
I know those rules are not for everyone, but I thought they were pretty good!
- Get your beauty rest! Sleep is very important to regulate mood, improve your ability to process information and energy to do things, like dance around the kitchen while making dinner. 🙂
Always remind yourself –
YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU THINK!
To end this post, I would like to share a new music video by Colbie Caillat that brought tears to my eyes because the message was so beautiful!
To begin working on recognizing and valuing your own worth, beyond appearance, make an appointment with Ashley today! See below for details: