In a world where imagery is EVERYTHING, and the images that you see are contrary to your reflection, how do you love and appreciate the YOU staring back? Self-image is defined as “the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality” and is very important. How you see yourself as opposed to how others see you is very eye-opening. Loving the me I see can be difficult, but I have shared with you some of the things I did to change my perception.
For as long as I can remember, loving the physical me has always been difficult. The me I see when I look in the mirror has never conveyed beauty, or strength. Not because I am never told that I am beautiful or strong but because the examples of beauty I see on my social media feed, TV, magazines, and all over the internet, is the opposite of what I see in me. What I had to learn was that I was in control of what I actually see in my feeds. All I needed to do was unfollow, unsubscribe, or what ever other terminology you use to stop seeing the things that made me feel less than. Why torture myself with the highlight reel of the mundane. I follow things that enrich and enlighten me, as opposed to making me question who I am.
Another aspect of this that I have struggled with, in my not so distant past, is not feeling like a success. Or should I say, not feeling accomplished at the traditional aspects of what makes a person successful. That is until I realized just how subjective the word success is. Everyone has a different definition of success and as soon as I realized that fact, I was much better off for knowing.
My best friend and I were having a conversation about this a while back and she said something that snapped me out this way of thinking. She asked me a question… “When we were in high school, what did you dream of being?” That seems like a really simple question, but in the context of our conversation, it clicked. All I ever thought about with regularity as a kid/teenager, was owning a business and being happily married with children. To the average person, this may seem strange, but these were my specific life goals growing up. Fast forward 20 years, and here I am, VERY happily married to my Amazeball Husband and four psychedelic kids AND we are business owners. I have achieved my goals. That equals success. PERIOD. I had to stop letting my brain tell me lies and see the truth for what it is.
So, my main dilemma now as an adult is learning how to love the me I see when I look in the mirror, despite the general definitions that are put before me. Here is a list of a few changes I made to help my mind and spirit come to an understanding about this here self-image of mine:
The first thing that I have discovered is that taking moments for YOU throughout the day is VERY important. It doesn’t mean that I must complete a textbook self-care routine. In my case, any form of care that takes time for me is a win! Simply giving myself a quick manicure and a clear coat of polish on my nails works wonders for my self-image. It can take as little as 15 min. I do little things like changing my hairstyle, spritzing on cologne, or choosing a bright color to wear (because a little color never hurt). Heck, plucking my eyebrows and shaving are on my self-care list LOL! Just fit in as many little YOU things in your day/week as possible, it doesn’t take a whole lot.
Secondly, start investing in your outward appearance. If you are anything like me, the clearance racks are your first stop when going shopping for clothing for yourself. (Yes, I am frugal and I save coins as often as possible) I had to learn that I can’t be upset with my reflection if I am unwilling to put forth the effort to look the way that makes me proud. Instead of buying something because it was on sale and it fits, try things on with the intent that if it doesn’t make you genuinely feel like YOU (the you that makes you smile) don’t buy it. Only curate looks that are immaculately YOU.
I have numerous Pinterest boards that I have organized to remind me of the looks that are ME, the me that I love to see. Use these dream outfits to navigate your clothing purchases. Stop with the yoga pants, t-shirts, and hoodies! Take better care to look the way that makes you proud.
Accepting the compliments you receive is MAJOR! Stop looking at yourself through those same misleading lenses. See yourself the way those that love you do. Notice your positive attributes and stop focusing on the negative. I am guilty of receiving a compliment and not truly “accepting” it. But how you ask? How can a person who has trained her mind to disbelieve the admiration, rewire her mind to absorb them? It is a difficult task, BUT possible. So, before you respond in your normal way, take a pause and just say thank you.
Before you go off to love yourself, remember, YOU are beautiful, strong, and successful! Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise!!!
Photo by SALOMON JR on Unsplash