Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?

I’m delighted to share my article which got published on Navigating the Change: A Guide for the Menopausal Journey, created by K E Garland! It is delightful to be able to connect with a wider audience of readers! Please visit Ms. Garland’s very helpful and informative site, which serves almost as a one-stop-shop for information!

Do you find yourself speaking very harshly to yourself when your body doesn’t conform to the ideal you hold in your head and praising yourself ONLY when it does?

Do you find that you speak unkindly to yourself NO MATTER what your body shape is?

Are you able to accept yourself? To what degree? Do you begrudgingly accept yourself but also hold strong distaste when you look at yourself, or are you able to speak kindly to yourself when you look in the mirror?

Culturally our collective mental health has taken a huge hit, sometimes for the past few generations, as women feel pressured to conform to certain body shapes, regardless of age, physical ability, or life circumstances.

Name-calling, fat-shaming, and stereotyping, have affected all aspects of our lives from being able to find jobs, friends, mates, and clothes. It has become so ingrained that to learn self-acceptance and self-love is in itself an act of rebellion!

As I’ve gotten older, I have found more and more strength to do exactly that – learn self-love. It isn’t a badge of honor to put ourselves down! It isn’t a mark of inner strength to be brutal with ourselves!

Our bodies change as we age, and weight gain, unfortunately, seems to be part of that package!

As we age are we able to make the mental shifts in how we speak with ourselves so we can develop a healthy relationship with ourselves?

As a former Anorexic (in my twenties, and currently facing sixty), I find myself sometimes still triggered when I glimpse my rounded midsection.

I have worked very hard on myself these past few years, so I no longer call myself terrible names. However, I still do get that chill down my spine, and the gut urge (no pun intended!) to go on a diet!

Accepting myself for who I am, in my current phase of life is an ongoing work I need to do, otherwise, I might slide right back down that old rabbit hole into negative self-talk!

My mission now isn’t to be skinny, as it had been in my twenties. I paid that steep price with my physical and mental health when I went through exercise Anorexia and occasional Bulimia.

While I hadn’t gotten to a point of experiencing some of the symptoms of severe Anorexia, I did go through that terrible time with very dark self-talk, of having my menstrual cycle stop for a year, having weakened muscular issues due to insufficient calories, and even having difficulty finding clothes which fit properly.

My current mission is to focus on being healthy, in the 3 major areas of body, mind, and spirit.

Having experienced some mild COVID symptoms last year, I find that my stamina was greatly affected, so I become tired and out of breath far quicker than I did previously. That promoted more sedentary behavior so now I’m trying to be very mindful about getting outside for walks when the weather permits.

In the great heat of summer and with the loss of daylight in the winter months I find that I totally miss my fitness goals and the weight gain shows up. When the weather gets better I am back out doing my walks and other fitness activities, but I find I need to develop alternate strategies to sneak fitness into my life.

A co-worker and I have started doing short walks inside the building we work in, and then tagging the other person to go do it. When we need to go to the restroom is a perfect time to get in a few extra steps, even to walk up and down the stairs.

While I enjoy listening to the news on Public Radio station when I’m on my commute, I also try to turn on a music station to move a little while I drive. When I remember, I turn on Pandora on my TV while I prepare dinner, because I tend to dance around and get some movement in.

Even little things we do can add up to a healthier life, so don’t dismiss those things as not being meaningful enough!

Developing a healthy relationship with ourselves takes work and persistence, especially in the beginning because it won’t feel at all natural!

We may think that speaking harshly might motivate us to do better, but in truth, it only ends up discouraging us and removing our desire to persist! I have found that learning to speak to myself in a gentle and positive way has in turn given me even more inner strength to be able to accomplish things!

Here are some links to help you accomplish this:

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