Friday, November 18, 2011

Taking Care of You: It Comes From Within

Two weeks ago, I talked about taking care of yourself health-wise and how that goes hand in hand with how you take care of yourself from within. This week, I want to talk more about taking care of yourself - however, this time it's about taking care of yourself from within since that is really the starting point in taking care of yourself overall.

Society paints this picture of what the standard is for a “normal” woman, how we SHOULD look like. That standard is not only unrealistic but honestly, it’s unattainable. I say that because we all come in different shapes and sizes. There is no one type of body shape. Some of us carry or gain weight on top, some on the bottom. Even thin women comes in different shapes and sizes. However, just because we cannot fit the standard does not mean we are abnormal. We are unique beings and we are all beautiful by our own right.

We have to first let go of that standard that has been drilled into our heads since birth. We have to stop thinking that the standard is thin or that skinny is beautiful. There is no standard. Most of the images we see in the media have been photoshopped and altered. As I already said, none of us are perfect. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Other people’s opinions of us don’t matter and shouldn’t matter. What matters is how we feel about ourselves. It’s not you – it’s them with the problem.

Someone will always have something to say but at the end of the day, we can’t equate their beliefs with our own happiness. Once you accept this, you will free yourself from that mess and be able to feel confident about who you are. Our view of ourselves controls how we feel about ourselves and subsequently treat ourselves. That is why building confidence and self-love is so imperative to having a successful and productive, happy life.

We all have parts of our bodies that we are not happy with. Sometimes it’s to a point where we loathe certain body parts. So first things first, you need to make peace with your body. You have to understand that no matter what your size, you are a beautiful person worthy of being happy. You have to realize that none of us are perfect. Know your worth, inside and out. Our flaws are what make us beautiful. I have a small c-shaped scar in that area under my nose and above my upper lip. I got the scar when I was 12 - my brother was playing with my dad's tools and swung a pair of pliers, which accidentally hit me in the face. I hated that scar for years until one day I decided that it was my scar and it gave me character and a story to tell. I also found out that the scar was not even noticeable to others until I mentioned it. Sometimes we make flaws seem bigger or worse than they really are. The world does not always see what we see. So really it's the power of the mind and how we choose to view those flaws.

Instead of focusing solely on those body parts you loathe, focus on the parts of you that you love at that moment. Take it one day at a time. Look in the mirror and admire that feature. I know for me, I love my hair. It is truly my crowning glory. I will spend quality time in the mirror, flipping my hair or trying new barrettes or headbands in it. My hair makes me feel good. When you admire a feature like this, over time you will develop a habit of admiring yourself, appreciating those features and celebrating YOU. It’s about changing how your mind works, which will change your view over time.

Now for those body parts you loathe, you can use the same concept too but in a slightly different fashion. Each day, focus on one body part at a time and come up with one positive thing to say about that body part or feature. I will admit that this is going to be hard at first but once you develop this habit of doing this over and over again, you will eventually change your mind about those body parts for the better.

Fashion is another great way to boost your confidence. We tend to hide behind clothing to cover up parts of ourselves we don’t love. Some of us think if we wear baggy clothes that our lumps, bumps and imperfections will all be hidden. While you may be hiding your body parts by swimming in your clothing, you are not flattering your body at all. And you wonder why you are not feeling 100% confident? Who would feel happy wearing unflattering, ill-fitting clothes? Think about it.

It’s as easy as this…buy clothes that fit. You’d be surprised at how clothes that fit you well will flatter your body. And don’t wait until you have lost 50 pounds to wear that dress you have been eyeing. Wear it now. Trust me, it will give you such a spirit boost and a pep in your step. If you love what you’re wearing and rock it, the world is going to love it too. When having a bad day at the mirror, dressing yourself up can also help get you through that day and help you strengthen your positive mindset on your body.

In the end, it starts within. It starts with the belief in yourself and your beauty. You just have to keep pushing through. Don’t give up. You might fail at times but at least you tried. Everyone’s confidence wavers from day to day. We are all works in progress. But if we keep at it, we will succeed more than we fail. Once you’re happy with yourself, the world will be a better place – opportunities will open up to you, people will be more receptive to you and your energy will be off the charts. When you love yourself, you feel confident and that makes you want to achieve your dreams even more.

Think of it this way: there is only one you in this world. That in itself is pretty empowering. And you have the choice and power to make you the best YOU possible. Life is all about enjoying the now since tomorrow is not promised to us. Wouldn't you want to live the best life possible and enjoy it now? I know I do!

Be proud, be inspired to be you.

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