Our bodies are our closest environments and yet many women see their bodies as threatening, distasteful, unacceptable and even downright ugly. Why is it that so many women simply do not like their own bodies and what can be done to improve their relationship with the one environment they will carry with them for life?
We learn about our bodies from a young age. Being an infant is a state of total dependency with reliance on our carers for the fulfillment of our most basic needs. To an infant, feeling hungry or cold is a terrifying reality, since, until they come to know the world as separate, they just feel the pain of absence or discomfort without the ability of knowledge that the pain is ‘out there’ and outside of their bodies. The carer’s attunement to the baby’s needs plays a large part in educating the child to experience the world (initially ‘their’ body) as threatening or comfortable. Hopefully, appropriate and timely meeting of the infant’s needs creates in the child a growing confidence and understanding of their bodily needs. However, this is not always the case.
Learning to understand and accept our bodies from infanthood is only part of the challenge to liking or loathing our bodies. At school, feedback about our size, agility or ability to run and be good at sports, provides more feedback. Depending on whether this is positive or negative, a healthy or unhealthy relationship is made with our bodies. The changing years of adolescence pose another challenge and then we are faced with the social world of exclusive beauty. Images from society that there are certain ways to be to be beautiful is enormously powerful upon women – makeup, clothes and diet industries thrive on it. When this approach is exclusive i.e. when one is only acceptable if fitting a certain mould, it raises anxiety about being ‘less than’ or unacceptable and needing to change. However, images that are inclusive and which celebrate diversity in beauty with a focus on enhancing or nurturing ourselves, encourage far more positive relationships with our bodies.
When there is an over-reliance on external beauty which is unmatched by a strong, positive internal picture of self-worth, a woman can literally be ‘Stunning on the Outside, yet Dying on the Inside’. Because she may receive positive compliments, interest or envy at the same time as feeling unworthy, inadequate or even desperately unhappy, she can feel totally misrepresented and confused. Additionally, external pressures and myths to conform to externally presented images of beauty can increase the confusion, leaving her feeling increasing lonely and bewildered.
What can a woman do to develop a greater sense of self esteem, acceptance and love for her own body? This can be a difficult and long journey, especially where such self-loathing has resulted in denying the body true nurturing and care. However, beginning a journey of recovery begins with recognising there is a problem. Seeking help from others in the form of reading, online and face to face support groups that focus on positive self-development, supportive counseling and a commitment to challenging society’s norms of beauty, all form part of a journey to recovery. Change begins with a choice to fully commit to knowing and loving yourself and becoming your own best friend during this journey called Life.
Building self esteem is like building anything else – you build one brick at a time, one step at a time or one thing after another. Taking on the whole project at once can be too overwhelming and too confusing. The question is, where do you start?
The answer to the question, “Where do I start?” is unique to each person and the next question is “What about me seems to hold me back the most?” or put another way “If only I could ___(fill in the blank)___then I would like myself more.” When you answer the question or fill in the blank you have a starting place.” Some frequently heard “if onlys” are
If I could only lose weight, then I would like myself more.
If only I was prettier/handsomer I would like myself more.
If only I wasn’t so shy -
If only I was smarter -
If only I had stylish clothes -
If only I had a better job -
And the list goes on.
Often what is chosen is the tip of the iceberg, with a multitude of complex issues lurking underneath. Weight loss, for example, is often a conglomerate of related, convoluted issues. It may include issues such as eating for comfort, using food as a replacement for love, using fat as a protection against hurtful relationships (the fat will keep people at a distance – literally and figuratively). So the solution - eating less and exercising more - may not work until the underlying issues are addressed.The good news is that when you begin to feel better about yourself in one area, you come to terms with other issues as well.
But lets get real here. Most of the problem is in thinking that you don’t measure up, you aren’t good enough, you need to change to be acceptable and accepted. I other words you need a major overhaul to be lovable and loved – to be good enough. Don’t worry about what caused your lack of self esteem. That’s in the past and you’re living in the now. So where do you start?
Ask the question again, “If only I could … Now try it on for size. “If only I could _____________ I would like myself more.” And then ask yourself, “Why can’t I like myself right now just like I am while I’m taking care of ____________? The answer is “You can.” (e.g., If only I could lose weight I would like myself more. Hmmm. Why can’t I like myself right now?
But if I weight 300 pounds and hate who I see in the mirror, how can I do that?
Change your thinking.
Look in the mirror – regardless of what the issue is that makes you dislike yourself – take a good look at yourself in the mirror. What you see in the mirror is the physical you. But you are more than that. You are also a mental, spiritual, emotional being. What about those parts? Do you like who you are emotionally, spiritually, mentally?
What do you see in the mirror? What do you like? Beautiful eyes? Great hair? Amazing smile. Each of us has his or her special physical beauty. What is yours?
But, again, what about the other parts of you? You are a conglomerate – emotions, body, intelligence, and spirit are all so intertwined that they cannot be separated and anything that affects one part affects the other. You are holistic.
Begin by thinking about all the good things about you. Identify them one by one. Attach positive emotions to them. For example, “I am told that I have a radiant smile. I can see it for myself in the mirror. That makes me feel really good. When I smile I see others smile back and it makes me forget that I don’t like myself much. So one starting place for me will be to smile more.”
This is a tiny step but it IS a step forward. I recommend that you visit Allison Maslan’s BlastOff so you can learn to design “mini feats” that help you reach your goal. You are, remember, holistic. When you improve in one area, you improve in others. Your thinking and your emotions affect the whole you. BlastOff will give you the tools to improve one “mini feat” at a time and achieve one goal after another.
You can do this. It’s a matter of taking the first step. After all, as a dear friend of mine asks, “What’s not to love.?”
Obesity is rapidly becoming one of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century. No disease is more common and causes more unnecessary illness or early death than obesity. Furthermore there is no other single problem that so reduces the quality of life or increases the demand for healthcare services
The problem is worldwide. In the United States, more than two of every three adults are overweight and about one in three is obese This means that approximately 60 million people have the disease of obesity in the United States alone. More than one in five Australian adults, an estimated 2.6 million of a population of 20 million, are obese. For both countries, the incidence of obesity has doubled since 1980. Alarmingly, obesity starts in childhood and already 7% of our teenagers are obese.
Around the world, all countries have a growing problem. There are now an estimated 300 million people around the world who are suffering from obesity and its consequences. In both developed and developing nations, a similar pattern is occurring. In Russia, 54% of adults are overweight. In Brazil, the figure is 36%, and in Malaysia, 27%. Even China has a developing problem. A recent survey of adults in urban Shanghai reported that 29.5% were overweight and 4.3% were obese.
After millions of years of evolution we carry a genetic structure designed to enable us to survive the life of the hunter-gatherer, but our health and our lives are now threatened by a lifestyle characterized by ready access to copious amounts of attractive food and very little need for physical activity. Foods high in fat, carbohydrates and, in particular, simple sugars, are booming. The US Department of Agriculture reports that the US per capita intake of sugar was 152.4 lb (69 kg) in 2000. This is equal to nearly half a pound (230 g) of sugar per person each day. Most people will claim that they are not eating that much sugar. However, sugar is now a part of so many foods that we don’t even realize that we are eating it. Sugar has infiltrated out diet to a frightening extent. One hundred years ago, the sugar intake per capita was only 0.5lb (230 g). Is it any wonder that we have a [http://www.trueresults.com]problem with obesity?
And we don’t even need to get out of the chair to order the food to be delivered or to change the channels on the television. Activity has become optional. The combination of increased intake of energy and reduced energy expenditure inevitably leads to progressive weight increase.
Debra Donahue is a 20 year nurse and freelance medical writer who hails from Dallas, Texas. She has written for some of the top hospitals in the world. Learn more about a true surgery center by visiting Dallas Lap-Band Surgery or learning about weight loss surgery options in Dallas.
Midlife Women in the Age of Miracles – Learning to Love Yourself at Any Age
By Dr. Toni LaMotta
By the time you have become a woman in midlife in “the age of miracles”, hopefully you have learned that true love is an inside job. And only when you have learned to love yourself can an outer love really work. Sometimes people think that loving themselves is selfish, but it is truly becoming our Self that makes all love possible.
There is no way to reinvent your life until you have fallen in love with yourself. Midlife can be an awesome time to have a wonderful sense of discovery. Try the following:
- Take the time to look at yourself again through fresh eyes,
- Become more attentive to the your special uniqueness.
- Pay more attention to the GOOD in the details of your life.
Most women have learned to treat the people who are special to them quite well. It’s high time, YOU become one of the special people in your own life. This is a perfect time to become more attentive to your own needs and desires.
Louise Hay at one of the I CAN DO IT conferences recently told us all to say each day, “Life Loves Me”. I think she wouldn’t mind my adding, “I Love Me” She recommends that we tell ourselves how much we love ourselves while looking in a mirror and saying our name. This can take time, especially if you have had low self-esteem and are used to denigrating yourself.
Set this as an intention even if at first it feels odd and then deliberately take some action. For example:
-write out a list of activities that you love to do and put them someone on your calendar.
-pay attention to the things you say about yourself, even only to yourself, and begin slowly to change the self-talk
-spend time each day remembering the Good things you achieved rather than looking at what’s not done
-make sure you get plenty of rest
When you start to love yourself more, you’ll be amazed at how the rest of the world treats you. Like does truly attract like. You are special. You deserve Love. If you haven’t felt this way before, make it your midlife resolution. This truly can be your age of miracles.
And so, I would like to offer a support system for getting and keeping love and all good things in your life. When you subscribe to my Women Reinvent Midlife newsletter, you’ll get free instant access and receive a special report called, “7 Secrets for Reinventing Midlife from the Inside-Out”. You can get your copy right now at http://www.reinventmidlife.com
From Dr. Toni LaMotta, Midlife Reinvention Specialist and Spiritual Life Clarity Coach.
Body image help could benefit many people. While each human body is similar in anatomy each is different in looks and society often judges people on those looks. Additionally, many of us compare ourselves to the images of models that we see in magazines and feel that our bodies have problems. We lack the self confidence and esteem to recognize that the models are extraordinary and that our human bodies are beautiful as well. It is important for those of us who struggle with the imaging of our human anatomy to understand that support is available. Sure, you can consult a troubleshooting guide, FAQ website or one of many tutorials about how to look your best. However, there is likely not going to be a tutorial that can instill you with confidence. Self help is more likely to come from hypnosis. [Read more...]
China, in its desire to impress the world decieved the world in its opening ceremony, perhaps to the lasting detriment of a little girl. Yang Peiyi, the little girl with the beautiful voice was not cute enough – did not fit the image they wanted to portray to the world – so they had a “cute” little girl lip sync to the singing of Yang Peiyi, the little girl who didn’t measure up. They got caught.
I don’t care that they tried to deceive the world and make a good impression, but I do care about that little girl. She’s most likely aware that the whole world knows she didn’t measure up. She wasn’t good enough. She’s not pretty enough. How hard is that on your self image and self esteem? China isn’t a country known for caring about individuals and their self esteem but maybe they should take a look at it. [Read more...]
I received this as an email from a dear friend of mine this morning. It could speak of men as easily as it does of women – it speaks to human beings. I wish I knew who authored it because I would love to honor them. Enjoy.
The Real Woman’s Creed
I believe that within me lies an extraordinary radiance, and I commit to letting my light loose in the world.
I believe that the source of my power and wisdom is in the center of my being, and I commit to acting from this place of strength.
I believe that I possess an abundance of passion and creative potential, and I commit to the expression of this gift.
I believe that the time has come to let go of old notions and unhealthy attitudes, and I commit to re-examine what I have been told about beauty and dismiss what insults my soul.
I believe that negative thoughts and words compromise my well-being, and I commit to thinking and speaking positively
about myself and others.
I believe that young women are in need of positive role models, and I commit to being an example of authenticity and self-love.
I believe in the relationship between my
well-being and the well-being of the planet,
and I commit to a life of mindfulness that regards all living things as holy and worthy of my love.
I believe it is my spiritual responsibility to care for my body with respect, kindness and compassion. I commit to balancing my life in such a way that my physical being is fully expressed and nurtured.
I believe that joy is an essential part of wellness, and I commit to removing obstacles to joy and creating a life of exuberance.
I believe that a woman who loves herself is a powerful, passionate, attractive force, and I commit, from this day forward, to loving myself deeply and extravagantly.
My thanks to the author of this wonderful statement
Some of you have written to find out why there haven’t been new articles on this blog and I am grateful for you. It’s nice to be missed. Thank you, Lou for telling me so. I didn’t abandon the blog and looked longingly at it each day. It had a virus and the virus was on its server rather than on my computer. No one knew what to do about it and no one seemed to know if it could hurt anyone else’s computer. So I left it alone, not knowing what else to do. I removed all the most recent articles but that didn’t help.
My son fixed it. How he did I don’t know and if I did know I probably wouldn’t understand it. He knew where the virus was but it wouldn’t show up in the code so he couldn’t get to it. And today, miraculously, he figured out how to get that little bug out. (He’s a great guy who does cutting edge work for websites and blogs. If you want to see his work go to http://www.web30technology.com)
Having the virus on my blog tested my self improvement level, let me tell you. I had all kinds of thoughts like, “There must be a special place in hell for those who do this – those creeps who put something on the internet that damages other people’s sites and/or computers.” And another thought, “Why me?” And another, “Let’s just take the stupid blog down.” (Now I never thought for a minute that this blog is stupid, but my frustration level was higher than it’s been for a while.) Now it’s back and I feel like I have found a long lost friend.
During the two weeks it was down, my lovely Google ratings sank lower and lower and I felt helpless to do anything about it. Feeling helpless is not something I’m used to and I hereby declare that I don’t like the feeling. We will probably talk about helplessness down the road.
Anyway, the blog is now once more in operation and I have a lot of thoughts about new material. So I’ll see you on the blogosphere. Let me know your ideas and I’ll include them as we go along. Or better yet, submit your own article. I’d be honored to post it.
Melanie Brocklehurst, the guest on last week's Self Improvement Show, brought to our attention the plight of little girls in Nepal and Tibet. (If you didn't hear the show, it's worth listening to - click the video above and hear what Melanie has to say.)It is an opportunity for you to help someone … [Read More...]
Frontline Learning is making over 40 online learning courses available to 5000 unemployed individuals. Any currently unemployed person is eligible to receive these programs simply be registering online (see link below).
There is no hook or catch or "fine print" here - these are full featured … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan -
For some it was a stretch to accept the idea of the wholeness of the individual—that we work as a unit with body, mind, emotions, and spirit working together and what affected one part affected the whole. If my emotions, for example, are seething with anger something will … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan -
Thoroughly researched and carefully crafted this is a program that is designed for success in a field that sees far too much failure. How many people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol check themselves into rehab over and over and never seem to be free of the need to … [Read More...]
This morning when I started working on this blog, I opened the Dashboard, as usual, to deal with the comments. Often I get great comments about the articles I've posted. Occasionally, I get comments by someone who thought the article was wrong, needed changing, or just didn't measure up. I welcome … [Read More...]
By Irene Conlan-
Have you seen the ads for electronic cigarettes? It's an interesting twist on the ordeal of quitting the smoking habit.
My son decided he wanted to quit and after researching a number of companies settled on a productg by LeCig.
His package arrived Friday and today he … [Read More...]
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