There are no three words that make me shudder more than “bathing suit season.”
If you completely love and are proud of your body, please disregard. I am jealous and happy for you in ways I’ll never be able to explain. Hold on to that feeling and never let it go.
If you’re like me and scrutinize your every inch, maybe you, too, despise being so exposed.
Yesterday was one of the first days I actually felt (sort of) good about myself in a bikini. I have been working really hard in my Classpass classes, and I was told that morning that I lost two pounds since my last WeightWatchers meeting. More than that, I had been making a huge effort to not beat myself up.
I was actually feeling so confident that I suggested that my (thin and beautiful) friend and I take a picture together in our suits. That’s where things get ugly.
I actually didn’t look at the picture until I got home, and upon looking at it, I literally burst into tears.
My inner-monologue began screaming. “You STILL don’t look like the skinny girls in your newsfeed.” “Why do you STILL look so disgusting?” And the most defeating one, “will you EVER have the body you want?”
[By the way, my inner-monologue is the meanest soul-sucker in all the land. She is the Regina George of my mind.]
It is so easy for us to get wrapped up in these thoughts as if it’s the only thing in the world that matters. Forget the fact that I had an absolutely wonderful afternoon with my friend and boyfriend. Forget that physical appearances are so insignificant and shallow when I think about the world’s problems. Nope, Regina was here and she was only getting louder.
“Maybe it’s just an unflattering angle,” my boyfriend assured me. “I thought you looked awesome out there.” For me, all the compliments he kindly provided were in one ear and out the other.
Here are the words that actually resonated: “I just wish you wouldn’t be so hard on yourself.”
For me, being overly critical of my body isn’t new. Though I’ve never been severely overweight, I have always felt self-conscious of my body– like it was significantly worse than all those around me. It’s been a feeling I haven’t been able to shake since childhood.
To be honest, I wouldn’t wish these feelings upon anyone. They’re toxic, they’re mean and more times than not, no one else thinks they’re true.
So, as I begin my Soul Cookies journey, I hope that we (meaning any readers included, but not limited to, my mother) will work together to shake these feelings. The people that love and care about us, whether it be friends, family or a significant other, don’t want us to feel this way. So let’s get rid of this bully inside and totally “JUST STAB CAESAR.”
Here’s something I’m trying lately that has slowly, but steadily, helping quiet the bully inside of my head. Albeit I have moments where I slip up, but overall, it’s really helped.
Every time a mean, self-deprecating thought pops into my head, I pause and ask myself, “Is that really true?” Maybe continue to ask yourself questions like, “how likely is it that others believe it’s true?” Perhaps you could go ask far as writing down the cruel thoughts in your head so you can disregard them and throw them out.
Admittedly, this is a practice I’m borrowing/adapting from a Cognitive Therapist, but feel free to try it out and let me know how it works for you–no charge or copay necessary. I’d love to hear if it brings you healing!