Ever wondered what drives your fears and negative self-image, and how to begin healing? It’s hard work, but worth every moment, every tear.
I recently heard someone say that who we are today is a chain of connections of our experiences and surroundings. This really connected with me as it made me think about how I became me. What has guided me to my beliefs and what has contributed to what I feel is important in life? Had these impacts had an empowering, healing or destructive impact?
I had to start by asking who has had long-lasting powerful impacts on me?
When I looked back, I am very grateful to have had many positive influences. My amazing husband of 23 years taught me what perfect love looks like. It is messy, there are ups and downs, it is hard work, and it is worth EVERY second. It takes effort, kindness, selflessness, selfishness, and truth.
Our beautiful kids have taught me about real love. What it means to want everything for someone else and be powerless in giving it to them. To allow someone to find their own way, make mistakes without making them bad, and celebrate their joy. Our daughter taught me to be creative, vulnerable, and authentic. Our son taught me to be fearless, witty and strong.
My gramma Cooper taught me about forgiveness, strength, and softness. I learned the importance of family, my love of reading and crafts from my mom Linda. There are many other strong women who impacted the women I have become. My Aunt Ally taught me true friendship and a love of nature, Aunt Laura taught me the importance of education and looking below the surface, Aunt Liela taught me about hard work and dedication and Aunt Terri taught me about how to love my spouse unconditionally.
Thinking about these people made me feel good, warm and loved.
Unfortunately, there are also negative experiences and negative influences, we’ve all had them.
The moments in our past when we’ve made a mistake when someone we trusted hurt us in our core. Someone important to us made us feel less than worthy, ugly or even stupid. It seemed for me there was one particular person who stood out.
When I look at my personal health and wellness I also began to clearly see the roots of my low self-approval. I have been the chubby kid as far back as I can remember. I wasn’t big on sports and exercise wasn’t something that was part of my lifestyle. This wasn’t something I really notice until I was a teen. It was then that I clearly remember comparing myself to those around me with lead to feelings of sadness and self-loathing.
As an adult having a busy lifestyle, parenthood and lack of knowledge led to eating diet foods and quick meals, ultimately this leads to more weight and even more sadness. Over the years I have tried every fad, diet and some have been successful, but in the short-term only. As soon as I got comfortable with my body I would stop the diet. Taking the “learning” with me, but ultimately the weight would return 3 times faster than losing it, as it happened I would fall further into the cycle of self-loathing and sadness. It seemed no matter what I tried I would fail, which only re-enforced my low self-image.
And of course, there are the media. Page 13 of a women’s magazine says “You’re beautiful the way you are”, Page 14 “How to lose weight fast”, and Page 15 has a cake recipe”. My life like yours is filled with the messages of a company looking to survive by selling to my human need to belong and be enough.
What I found? It was time for healing.
So, how could I change this horrible cycle into healing?
This is the hardest part, going back to the root of the feeling. I had to go back and face how I had allowed those negative influences. I had to face that I believed their words blindly. For me, this individual reinforced that being overweight made me unworthy, everyone knew it and no matter how kind and giving I was it was outweighed. Reinforcing my unworthiness was lack of acceptance, knowing no matter how hard I tried this person would never give me their approval.
How did this person gain so much power over me? Why had their comments to have so much power of me? It came down to trust, I believed him, I looked up to him and never thought he would lead me astray. It only helped that the messages of the media supported the messages.
What I have now come to learn is that I am the only person who has control of the impact others have on me. I had to challenge what was said and why it was said. Then look at what other sources did I have to compare to and why I had I believed this one opinion.
This was when I started the road to healing my own thoughts, my own feelings of self. Turning them from the negative story I had once believed into one of clear vision through my eyes and those who truly loved me for me.