Thursday, May 26, 2011

Group Project: 8 Weeks to a Better Me (Week 4: Loving Yourself)

We have hit the midway point of 8 Weeks to a Better Me, an amazing group journey to self-improvement, launched by Danielle from Sometimes Sweet. Each week, we make and meet small goals that will reap major benefits over time. So far, I feel more enlightened as to what is going in my own mind. I also feel like I have made positive changes in how I conduct the business of living my life. Pretty soon, I hope these small shifts in behavior will become more apparent to the world at large.

Loving Yourself is this week’s topic. While I like my core self most of the time, I have struggled with body image issues and insecurities for as long as I can remember. Having a poor body image has affected nearly every aspect of my life, from being a late bloomer in the romance department to the type of art I made in grad school. Now that I’ve turned 30, it has become a huge goal of mine to get right with myself on all levels. I am all me, and my body is all mine.

Kaelah Bee from Little Chief Honeybee, who knows a little something about liking herself, shared her experiences as Danielle’s guest blogger. Kaelah brought up a really good point. While I always try to dress nicely (and I LOVE my fun jewelry collection), I never really thought about getting rid of clothes as a way to make myself feel more confident. I tend to hang on to clothes out of sentimental attachment OR because I hope I will someday be able to wear clothes I can’t fit my pinkie into anymore. When I stop to think about it, though, having clothes that really fit my body and my lifestyle well at this point makes me feel good about myself. Owning clothes that no longer fit me or where I am in my life hold me back. They keep me from living completely in the present. Cleaning out my closet is a major goal this summer.

1. Silence the inner critic. - I have this inner critic who is relentless. She drones on about my body, my face, my mind, my words, my abilities, everything. I may not be able to turn her off completely, but I can flip the channel whenever she gets too loud. By making a conscious effort, I can start tuning into the cheerleader who also resides within. Any time the critic starts talking, I can choose to replace her words with the words of my inner cheerleader. In other words, listen to the positive and forget about the negative.

2. Be here now. - So, you know the Serenity Prayer? If not, here it is: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And Wisdom to know the difference.” I have recently adopted the Serenity Prayer as a positive affirmation (No, I’m not an alcoholic, but I am addicted to beating myself up.). Something that keeps me from really appreciating myself is my concern with maintaining control, but that just isn’t feasible in life. The result of my struggle is worry and dissatisfaction with myself. I can’t help what I weigh today (so I shouldn’t beat myself up about it), but I can eat healthy meals (and eating well will make my body feel energetic). I can’t help that I lost my job in February (and no matter the circumstances for job loss, it is a huge hit to your self-esteem), but I can stay positive and productive (that will make me feel like I have a purpose, and having a purpose makes you feel good about yourself). Being in the moment and allowing myself to accept what is will give me freedom to simply be my best.

3. Learn something new. - There’s nothing like mastering a new skill to make me feel accomplished and proud of myself.

What do you do to love yourself better? 
Alison :)

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