I had a big aha moment when Nicole Kidman showed up at my yoga class.
After many years of self neglect, compulsive eating, feeling depressed, hopeless and defeated, I finally took charge of my health. I started taking yoga, improved my food choices and got the support I needed. I lost over 100 lbs, and was feeling pretty good about myself and how I looked.
The yoga teacher in the class was very proud of me and the transformation I went through, and use to call me a “yogi star.”
That morning, as I walked into the class and rolled out my mat, a few of the new students came over to me to introduce themselves assuming I was the yoga teacher.
I felt fabulous! Beautiful! Thin! Confident!
And then…. In comes Nicole Kidman.
And absolutely stunning.
In an instant, my confidence evaporated! I felt huge. And hideous. And could not look at myself in the mirror.
It was only after I was in the middle of seated forward bend, looking at my toes and thinking that they looked so fat, that I caught myself.
I thought: “Hey! what is going on here? A few minutes ago I felt on top of the world! And all of a sudden I feel like crawling into a hole and disappearing?”
I love Nicole Kidman. She is lovely and beautiful. And she does not have evil powers to inflict self doubt and self hate on other women.
It is not Nicole’s fault.
We are given the message very early on that we are inadequate.
For some of us that message was loud and clear.
For others it was more subtle.
But it is all around us. We are surrounded by messages that tell us there is only one form of beauty. That we have to change to be attractive.
That we, as we are, is not good enough.
I have worked with thousands of women, and have not met even one who does not have those thoughts and feelings. I had clients who were fashion models, and looked like the cultural ideal, and they were just as plagued with body hatred as everyone else. And I have heard women talk to themselves in a language they would never use on anyone else. Hey, I am sure that even Nicole Kidman is not free of those afflictions.
Here are some of the messages we internalized:
I am not thin enough,
I am not beautiful enough.
I am too loud.
I am too needy.
I am lazy.
I am disgusting.
I don’t have what it takes.
I have no will power.
What’s the use in trying, I can never succeed.
I am ugly.
My hair is the wrong color.
My thighs are huge.
And countless variations of them.
I have recently heard a 9 year old, a beautiful, perfectly lovely 9 year old, say that her nose is too fat.
But the truth is that you are not, and never was ugly, lazy, disgusting or any other name you ever called yourself.
Any message that you got that tells you that you are anything less than absolutely beautiful, lovely and amazing is a lie.
Yes, you might want and need to make changes to be healthier, but self hatred or it’s milder form, self dissatisfaction will not get you there.
The only way to make deep lasting change is by honoring and fully loving yourself.
Otherwise you will not feel worth it, and will sabotage yourself.
Every time you catch yourself thinking or feeling that you are not good enough, refuse to believe it!
To help you contradict some of the negative programming try one or more of the following suggestions:
Start a self appreciation journal.
Everyday, write down 3 things you appreciate about yourself.
It can be something you have done:
“I prepared lunch for my children.”
A quality you have:
“I am a good friend.”
An appreciation of your body:
“My eyes are lovely.”
Or anything else that makes you feel valued, appreciated, and like you’re not taking for granted all the wonderful things you do and are.
Write a love letter to yourself.
On beautiful stationary, or with doodling of hearts and flowers.
Think of what you would write a dear loving friend.
Or a beloved child.
You deserve the same words of love and adoration from yourself.
It can be a short message.
An encouraging phrase.
Or a long expressive letter.
When you are done, put it in an envelope, stamp it and mail it.
This is very important.
As you receive it in the mail, open and read it, it will deeply touch and heal you.
Buy yourself flowers
And attach a card with a loving message.
Tell yourself “I love you” in the mirror every day.
Dress in beautiful clothes
That celebrate and decorate your wonderful body. This is especially important if you feel like you have to wait until you lose weight to buy beautiful clothes. Dress and celebrate the body you have now. It will make you feel so much better about yourself, and more likely to make positive changes.
With time and practice, your confidence will grow, your self worth will grow, you will radiate beauty and attractiveness, it will be easier to take better care of your health and to make choices that bring you more of what you want in life.
And as for Nicole Kidman… who knows? Maybe someday we will meet again. I would love to thank her for the wonderful lesson of self love she taught me.