Picking Apart at Myself

picking apart at myselfLast week I gave three talks on self-love. I was amazed at the audience reactions. During the first talk, I opened with Christine Arylo’s definition of self-love:

“Self-love is the unconditional love and respect you have for yourself that is so deep, so solid, so unwavering that you choose only situations and relationships – including the one you have with yourself – that reflect that same unconditional love and respect.”

Immediately a hand went up. “You don’t mean what I say to myself when I look in the mirror, right?”

“Is that showing you unconditional love and respect?” I countered.

“Well no, but that’s my body… Wait – you mean the negative conversations I have with myself every time I get dressed are not self-love?” she asked.

“No,” I informed her.

She was shocked and asked the women around her to back her up on this fact that your body is different from yourself.

Everyone laughed self-consciously as the realization dawned. Your body is you. By picking apart at ourselves, we are not showing our bodies, minds, or spirits the love and respect they deserve. Yet, we do it anyway, and I am, perhaps, one of the worst offenders. Not necessarily in what I say to myself but with my incessant picking.

I look in the mirror and see imperfection. I pick, poke, pluck, prod, ineffectively trying to remove any blockage, blackhead, whitehead, stray hair. I succeed in making things worse. I know I’m not alone in this. As women, we are our own worst critics, our own worst enemies.

I don’t care whether it’s fat talk, dieting, or popping zits. It’s all manifestations of the same thing – we pick apart at ourselves because we can’t stand to be less than. And for whatever reason, we’ve fixated on a certain aspect of ourselves that we tend to pick on more. But therein lays the problem. By picking apart at ourselves, we are sending ourselves the message that we’re never going to be good enough, worthy, perfect.

What we need to realize is that it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to just be you.

So do yourself a favor this week. When you start picking apart at yourself – in whatever form that takes – stop. Give yourself some love and affection instead. Let’s take a pledge, shall we: I promise not to [insert negative habit: pick apart at myself, talk bad about myself, etc.] for one week. Every time I catch myself [picking], I will tell myself “I love you just the way you are” (or some other affirmation).  If I make it through a whole hour (better yet, day) without [picking], I will reward myself by ________. Sound good? Let’s get started! Your brain – and your body – will thank you for it.

 

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