Sometimes I talk to myself.
In fact, some of my best conversations have occurred completely inside of my own head. I fancy myself pretty entertaining, and usually I amuse myself. But too often I do something else. Something that I’d bet my bottom dollar that you also partake in. This is a serious statement because if you check my wallet at this present moment I think I’m literally down to my bottom dollar.
But that is neither here nor there.
What I’m talking about is self-criticism. I do it. You do it. Don’t even pretend you don’t. Even the most confident among us has a momentarily lapse of self-deprecation. It happens. But why does it happen? I’ve been thinking on this subject a lot lately, and I think I’ve had a semi-epiphany about it.
Like many of you, most of my self-criticism concerns my weight. I’ve often said that not a day has gone by in my adult life when I haven’t obsessed over money or calories. In fact, I can’t remember a time in my life when I was even consistently “ok” with my body, and believe me, I’ve been chunky, skinny and everything in between. I’ve always had a knack for feeling good for a second, and then immediately following up that feeling with, “oh but if only I was…” and fill in the blank. A little thinner. A little less thunder-thighed. A little less ham-like-armed. Blah blah blah. If you’re like me, and I sort of hope you’re not, you probably can’t even enjoy a fantastic meal at a restaurant without thinking either “well, I certainly can’t get on the scale tomorrow” or possibly “I guess if we’re going out to dinner I’ll eat sparingly throughout the day to compensate.” But I think you all are, because when I reached out on my Facebook and asked for photos that you all felt good about, I was met with so much self-loathing and self-criticism, and that made me so sad.
It has to stop. And so, friends, today I’ve decided to cut myself a break.
That’s right. Give me a break already, Heather. Size 4 size 14, I’ll probably never been 100% ok with the gal I see in the mirror, but you know what? I think I’m becoming comfortable with that idea. I’ve been obsessing for over two years trying to lose the last 18 baby pounds (ps – don’t gain 65+ pounds when you’re pregnant. All of those egg sandwich bagels SEEM like a great idea, but they will hang around long after your kid is begging you to crack raw eggs with a hammer on the floor of your living room) And I do think I’ll do it, eventually. I hope so.
But right now, I’m giving myself permission to accept, and dare I say even LIKE, my body during the process. Am I trying to kick my Taco Bell habit and eat healthier? Of course. Am I hoping to incorporate some exercise into my life? I guess, but I just hate it. I know that until I do these things my old jeans will sit in my closet and stare at me mockingly, but right now I’m ok with going at my own pace and telling those jeans to check their attitude at the door.
I grew a kid in my body, and they cut him out of my abdomen with a knife. I think. I don’t know, I was pretty incoherent for that whole thing. I work like 8908 jobs. I’m busy. I’m tired. I’m so many things all the time, all day long, all week-long, all month-long, and I’m so so so exhausted sometimes. And I know you are too. You’re moms, you’re step moms, you’re single, you’re married, you’re divorced, you’re pet moms, you’re hard workers, you’re doing all of the things that make the world go ’round. And you know what? Its ok if it’s taking us a little bit longer to get there. Size 2, size 22, size 42, you have to find some beauty when you look in the mirror. It’s there – I promise. Other people see it, so stop all of your “I’m so fat” “I’m so ugly” “look at my wrinkles” and cut yourself a break, for God’s sake.
Success isn’t about achieving a specific end result. It’s every step you take along the way the moment you decide you are going to be successful. It doesn’t matter if it takes you two months or two years. It’s a journey. Be a little kinder to yourself as you find your way down the path.
Here I am pre-Jake, 36 weeks pregnant, and two weeks ago. And I think I’m ok with it. I’m trying so hard to appreciate my body for what it can do, not for what I think it’s supposed to look like.
And how about all of my beautiful friends, who, either happily or reluctantly, shared these fantastic images of themselves? Beautiful, every single one of them – and I bet, if you turn down that little voice inside of your head that keeps putting you down, that you are too. xoxo – H