Self Image in 2013 by Amanda Reed

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

As we start a new year, many of us are making resolutions, or avoiding making resolutions, or resolving to call resolutions something else, so that it’ll be different this year than it was last year. And in any case, most will probably have forgotten them or altered them in some way by January 15th. We have good intentions. It’s a fresh start, right? Out with the old and in with the brand spankin’ new.

For some of us the new is keeping in touch with friends or family that we often lose contact with after the holidays. For some, it’s to be more patient with our littles, or to do more activities with them. And there are, on a different spectrum, those that are hoping to make more money this year, to get a promotion, to work harder then they have before. There are a wide range of needs and wants, carnal and spiritual, that we are wistful about as we say goodbye to 2012: to pray more, to read more, to be more… to be better.

Commonly, at this time of year, we also resolve to “fix” our body. I’m certainly there myself. I want to lose “a lot” of weight this year, and to get as strong and as fit as possible. You may want to lose a few pounds yourself, or to gain a few pounds, or to change that soft, squishy part to a firm, muscled part or to get some fancy serum that promises to tighten the wrinkles around your mouth and eyes. Whatever your resolution concerning your body may be, I’d like to impart something to you regarding your self image.

I’ve been a member of the “yo-yo dieters of the world club” for many years now, I’m like the vice president or something, I swear. And for the last 3 years, I’ve also been a member of a very popular weight loss group, you probably know the one. During this time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about others who struggle with their body image. So, at the risk of sounding like a know it all (I’ll pass out wet noodles to beat me with after), here we go.

First and foremost, it’s a mental struggle; before food or drink, and before exercise or the lack thereof, we have the battle of the bulge in our brain (ha! I’m so clever!). Now I don’t mean that you need to sit for hours trying to figure out the exact moment you gave up on your body, or seeking out the person or persons that wounded you so gravely that you lost your self worth. You don’t need to go find a personal trainer, Jillian Michaels style, that will scream at you until you break down crying and spill your guts about how awful your mom or dad or childhood bully was. Because the fact is, most likely, you are your own worst bully. I recently read a book by a very famous person about learning to talk to ourselves more positively. Her book costs money, but I’m going to give you the gist for free. (I’m so nice! Give me back those noodles…)

When you see your best friend in the whole world, do you look at them and say, “Gee whiz, Meredith*! Eat a cow today?” or “You are so stupid stupid stupid!” No, of course not, because (a) Meredith wouldn’t stay your friend for very long if you did and (b) because you don’t see her that way. You see your beautiful friend that has been with you through thick and thin, and has always listened to you cry and laughed with you when you were joyful and loved you even when you were a little unlovable. (*I picked that name from nowhere, so if your name or your best friend’s name is Meredith, pretend I said Louise.) And yet, we do those exact things to ourselves all the time. You are with you through thick and thin, too, and through joy or tears or unlovable crabby times. And yet you (and I) treat ourselves like rubbish.

Now is the time to realize that, and this is my own quote - I’m so smart:

A body is a body, regardless of whether the person abused food or was using food to abuse themselves. And your body is just that: yours. Your own. It’s the only body you get. Loving yourself, no matter how you look, is the single most important thing any person needs to overcome whatever caused them to gain the weight in the first place. It's a mental battle field before all else. We must love ourselves the way we are to realize we are worth the effort to take back our health!

You can take out the gaining weight part and put in whatever matches your circumstances. Because it’s true, regardless. We must begin to love ourselves, no matter what we look like or how we feel or whether we’ve abused ourselves or been abused by others. That does not mean that we must be satisfied with our lot, or ok with our lumps, it just means that we love who we are and what we are no matter where we are … in life, in our journey, or in our place in the world. That is the first step to a successful resolution. Take it day by day, talk to yourself in the mirror, hug yourself, and tackle the bad internal dialogue, and that’s how you will see changes. Because you cannot change the outside, without first changing the inside.

Alright, that was so way too deep… I need to do something goofy and frivolous now, like dance around or make funny faces. Do you know how to spell that sound you make when you stick out your tongue, clamp it with your lips, and blow (otherwise known as a raspberry)? It’s just like this, and I quote, “plllbbbbbbbbbbt”. Three Ls and ten Bs. I’m serious. Sometimes we need to do that to ourselves in the mirror, too. Hehe.

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading the book I mentioned, it’s called “Talk To The Mirror” by Florine Mark. And I resolve to read it cover to cover before January is out. I wish you a happy new year and a happy new you.

About Amanda: Amanda is a homemaker, wife and mother. She has a deep love for the Lord and family. You can learn more about Amanda at her blog Shine Like the Moon

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