Tuesday, April 05, 2011
So you don’t have thin thighs and perfect skin – neither does half the planet!
Stop bashing your body and start liking what you have right now. A bad body image colors every area of your life – your mood, your interactions with other people (and the way they see you), and even the kinds of goals you shoot for-or don’t.
Here’s the good news: You can change the way you think and, in the process, change your life. Negative thought patterns, like reaching for a cookie when you’re stressed or thinking “I’m so fat” when you catch sight of yourself in the mirror, are simple reflexes. Retraining your brain takes practice, but very quickly you become as comfortable looking on the upside as you did on the downside.
ID YOUR SIGNATURE STRENGTHS. These are the skills, passions, and characteristics that represent you at your best – the qualities that make you stand out from everyone else and come to you naturally. They could range from being a fast runner, to having beautiful eyes, or being open-minded and always up for a new adventure. By identifying what these traits are, you can plan ways to make the most of them in your day-to-day life. When assessing your core strengths, try to list three or four, both emotional and physical, together they create a complete package of what you have to offer. It’s that unique combination that gives you power and confidence.
TRY THESE STRATEGIES TO ASSESS YOUR STRENGTHS AND GIVE YOURSELF A BOOST:
Keep tabs on the compliments you’ve received. If a co-worker says she loves your super-strength hair, take her words at face value: You have gorgeous hair. And if your friends are still talking about the fun dinner party you hosted last week, add “good at entertaining” to your list. Lingering on compliments (instead of shrugging them off) reinforces what your strengths are, and makes you aware of the ones you didn’t know you had.
Remember happy days. Think back to a time when you were fully engaged and loving life, and chances are you were doing something you excel at – for instance, taking pictures at a friend’s party or helping your sister redecorate her living room. Or perhaps you’re levelheaded in a crisis. (Okay, not exactly a happy memory, but situations like these can often be exhilarating and remind you how strong you really are.) By focusing on what you’re good at, you’re inviting positive energy into your life, which helps build self-esteem.
Write a letter…to your body. Take a few minutes and think about all it has done for you and give thanks for legs that can sprint for a train (or chase a toddler), a voice that can sing in tune, and arms that can carry bags of heavy groceries-you get the picture.
Take a good look. I’m challenging you to find three things you like about your body. As you stand in front of the mirror, avoid thinking about minimizing your flaws. Instead ask: What do I have going for me?” Paying attention to your best features means you’re defining yourself by what you like instead of what you don’t.