Does the thought of exposing your body in summer terrify you? Do you constantly criticize your body? If you answered yes to these questions then you’re not alone, far from it. I’ve spent far too many years hating on my body, feeling like the ‘fat girl’…wishing I was the skinny girl. Too many years with shit body confidence.
Then at 41 I received a breast cancer diagnosis and gained 30+ kilos, had my bung boob removed, my hair fell out, FFS cancer even took away my bloody pubes! Cancer stripped me bare emotionally and physically then when it came time to rebuild myself and really start living I decided life was too freaking short to waste a minute feeling disappointed about my body. Not.one.minute!
I wasn’t going to hate on my body and miss out on living, instead I decided to ’embrace’ my body, listen to my body and most importantly honor my body. After all my body worked hard to get me through shitty cancer treatment and gave me a second chance at living and loving…I owed it big time.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing and it took practice but I did it. I am now living a ridiculously awesome life and hating my body is not part of that.
No one is watching me.
I used to be the woman who sat alone on the beach while everyone else played in the water. We would bundle the kids in the car and head to the beach except we didn’t freely set up just ‘anywhere’. No, I’d ask my husband to drive us to a deserted part of the beach where I had ZERO chance of bumping into anyone I knew because I was embarrassed about my curvy, lumpy, bumpy body.
When my husband and kids did coax me into the water I’d walk to the water’s edge wrapped in my towel and drop it at the last second before entering. Who was I fooling? Did anyone really care about my lumps n bumps? Nope!
I allowed my body confidence fear to steal time from me…and in turn steal me away from my family. Is any of this sounding familiar?
Poor body confidence does not discriminate.
Battling body confidence isn’t purely the domain of curvy women, slim women also struggle. Too fat, too thin, pale skin, patchy skin, cellulite, small boobs, big boobs…no boobs, yeah we all have our hang-ups and are hyper aware of our perceived flaws.
I write from the perspective of the curvy gal because that’s what I am and I’ve been that way for around 20 years. So I guess this is me, and what I’ve learned is I am not defined by my curves.
Ladies let go of that picture of perfection that you have stored in your memory bank (usually from our late teens pre kids/menopause/life stuff), let it go sista. Now’s the time to get real with yourself, be honest and start truly accepting and loving yourself.
So how did I do it? How did I go from the woman who avoided the water (even though I love it) to the woman who posed for photographs in a swimsuit as a brand ambassador for a national swimwear label?
There were no lightning bolts, no magic pills, instead this time it was all up to me. No one can do this for you until you yourself learn to face some truths, scratch the surface and keep on digging girlfriend. It’s time to work through that stuff you’ve been burying…stuffing down with food and self loathing. It’s time to face some shit and then let it go!
Gratitude is the key to love.
Cancer treatment put a dent in my self-esteem but surprisingly that’s all it did…dent it.
I didn’t have the luxury of wallowing; there was no self-pity because I was too damned busy fighting for my bloody life. Cancer took much from me but then gradually my body hair grew back, my nails grew, my skin regained colour, life came back to my eyes, my limbs worked and I was grateful.
Yup, I was so freakin thankful that I started to see my body in a whole new light. This body that I had wasted time hating on had stepped up to the plate when it really mattered and it served me. This body that I was so ashamed of got me through treatment and I began to see it in a whole new light. Yes it’s true that my body had betrayed me with a cancer diagnosis but then it stepped up so now it was time to match it and start working on my thought process…after all what the mind thinks the body feels.
Let me write that again…what the mind thinks the body feels…that’s how powerful our thoughts are.
The power is ‘within’ us and we have the ability to have some control over our bodies. Imagine if you turned your thoughts around and spoke kinder to yourself…can you imagine how your body might react? It would freakin be dancing with joy, jazz hands even!
Change your thoughts and change your body confidence.
Well I changed my thought process and started appreciating things like my hair, even though it was prematurely grey from chemo I told myself I was lucky to bloody have hair, and besides I had a great hairdresser who could magic away the grey.
My legs were heavier than ever but they held my body up, they allowed me to get from A to B.
My chest was missing a breast but inside my lungs drew breath and my heart was beating.
As my body slowly came back to life I started honoring it. I gradually started to do better by it, fuelling it with better food, resting when tired, renewing with yoga. I accepted that my body was far more than a pretty exterior. My body is a vehicle for me to experience life and if I honor it by acknowledging all the wonderful things it can do then it’s going to serve me.
So that’s what I do. I choose to see my body in a different light and look at what it can do and instead of tearing it down with negative thoughts and words I build it up with self- love and affirmations.
I didn’t just wake up one day totally diggin myself, it was a process that started with baby steps…but I started…and kept going.
Before I knew it my ‘self-speak’ gradually changed and how I reacted (or didn’t) to others changed too. I was able to accept compliments, not take things personally and eventually I cared more about watering my own grass rather than worrying about how others were keeping their grass.
I grew to not give a flying fuck about what others thought of me, because that was their business and in the process I let go and grew!
Guess what makes someone truly beautiful? True beauty is confidence, gratitude and a kind heart. It’s going about life with no ulterior motives, letting go of perceived views, living in the moment, expressing gratitude…when you get a handle on all of those things then you will shine so bright that true beauty will exude from every pore.
Like Glenda the good witch said to Dorothy, “you’ve always had the power my dear”. Yes ladies you always had it but somewhere in the journey of life we stumble, sometimes we fall, sometimes we get completely and utterly lost but we can find our way back. You have to just start…baby steps ladies…baby steps.
til next time,