Feeling Beautiful is a Choice

All too often we blame ourselves for saying we want to change and then we find ourselves resisting moving forward and taking the actions necessary to make the shifts. We fail to accomplish the goals we set and we beat up on ourselves and stand in judgment of our failures. The more failures we endure, the worse we feel.

Many New Years resolutions end up being broken by the end of the first week of January.

For many people they believe that a lack of follow through on their part is evidence of having no will power or self-discipline. But that’s not true because our conscious minds are not in control of our body. That’s the job of the unconscious or subconscious mind.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some magic pixie dust that could make all our insecurites go away?

Some people believe that feeling beautiful is a choice. When you make the choice to feel beautiful, then you will be seen by yourself and others as beautiful.

I’ve learned that’s only partially true.

So many women struggle with a negative body image and don’t believe that they are beautiful. They wind up feeling ashamed and embarrassed by their bodies. Can you relate?

Have you ever played the body comparison game and felt that you came up short? When is the last time that you stood in front of a fitting room mirror and felt frustrated, sorry for yourself, infuriated, resentful or disgusted?

Ever wonder if and how those negative feelings may be affecting you? Let me tell you.

Since the early 70’s medical scientists and researchers have been working to prove the power of our emotions. The late Dr. Candice Pert, author of the book, “The Molecules of  Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medecine” and featured in the runaway film sensation, “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” says,

It’s your negative emotions that are keeping you in patterns of hating your body. Your emotions are chemicals in your body and the more you experience them, the more they will fire neurons in your brain causing you to experience feeling the same emotion over and over again. This is great when you’re feeling happy or filled with gratitude, but not such a good thing when you’re prone to feeling blue, angry or anxious.

As a curvy 52 year old woman, I spent a lot of years being sad, hating my body, thinking that I was cursed. To me, all my problems stemmed from being fat. I swore my life would be different when I lost weight, so I tried every diet always believing that my fat thighs stood between me and feeling more beautiful and confident. But even after I achieved my goal weight and slimmed down my thighs, I was still miserable; always obsessing and never happy with myself or my body. My mind set at that time was that I was miserable because I had fat thighs.

Then one day while attending a self-esteem coaching training led by Jack Canfield, I learned about the power of the mind/body connection. That led me to realize that my pained
relationship with my body was getting consistently fueled by my hateful and toxic thoughts which kept me in cycles of overeating and self-neglect.

My overweight thighs were my body’s way of screaming out for help, begging to be loved and accepted. Until I began to respect and appreciate myself, thighs and all, I didn’t have a prayer of ever being able to feel good about myself.

One day someone told me about Plus Model Magazine and I began reading it and educating myself to the many examples of role models for size acceptance. As my focus on self-love grew, I saw more opportunities pop up on the internet, watching movies, talking to women who felt good about themselves at any size. Seeing and surrounding myself by women who loved their bodies and respected themselves inspired me to see myself and my body as more beautiful than I had ever known.

As I worked to finish my book, “Lovin’ the Skin You’re In” I interviewed a lot of women who had found their way past their body shame into a loving acceptance and appreciation of their bodies. I was most profoundly touched by a story of Kelly Park, a working mom who nominated herself to be on the show, “How to Look Good Naked.” After gaining 90 pounds with her first pregnancy, she assumed that her body revolted her husband, John, so she stopped having sex with him and for the next five years they slept in separate beds. When she told me how her marriage was transformed when she started to see herself as beautiful, it brought me to tears.

Today I continue to surround myself with positive, joyful women who are actively appreciating and accepting their bodies. I’ve made a choice to keep on loving my body at any size. I still have my ups and downs, but I won’t settle for feeling miserable and beating up on myself up for very long because criticizing my body doesn’t feel normal anymore.

Have you become your own worst critic?

Living in a thin-obsessed society, women are taught to view their curvy bodies with a mixture of regret and apology. Fearing the judgment of others, we often feel pressured to hide so we shun family photos and put off doing many of the things we love. But you don’t have to live feeling those feelings of ‘not good enough’ anymore because the source of your insecurities is rooted in the lies that you tell yourself.

Your opinion of yourself and perception of the kind of person you are is stored inside your mind. Your self-image is that part of you that you can’t see that affects everything you do, feel and think. It came from years of growing up, learning and listening to the good, bad and the ugly people who have touched your life. It’s these mental tapes in your head that keep you acting out patterns of behavior that are making you miserable.

If you’re constantly doing and saying things that tell your body you’re ugly and unlovable, it’s because you believe you are.  Your body will respond by giving you more reasons to think you’re right. You’ll find yourself doing things that sabotage your happiness, caught up in bad habits, feeling all those different flavors of not good enough, and caught in a tangled web of constantly putting yourself down, looking for reasons to pick yourself apart.

If you grew up in an environment where your body was criticized, and everything you did was questioned, it’s likely that eventually you learned to put yourself down and doubt yourself. In this tempestuous and upsetting environment, you learned how to become your own worst critic.

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS): What they are and how they affect you

Science has proven that we talk to ourselves thousands of times a day and most of what we say in our heads is a cycle of repetitive and negative thoughts. These are known as Automatic Negative Thoughts and if they get out of hand, they can really mess up a good day.

In his book, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself,” renowned author, speaker, researcher, and chiropractor, Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics and teaches people how to change their old habits. He explains what goes on with our bodies and how we can become addicted to negative emotions.

When you do something enough times, it becomes a well-worn habit that gets caught up in your body’s memory. You can’t change a problem that’s rooted in your body by trying to use your mind. That’s like trying to break up an iceberg with a spoon.

It’s likely that you’ve got years of negative emotions stored up in your body that have been making you feel like something is wrong with you. Just like a broken record or skipping CD, your thoughts keep on playing out the same way every day.

This is because your negative emotions have gotten stuck in your body because they haven’t been flushed out of your cells.

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