Be Challenged, Be Empowered, Be-YOU-tiful, Blog

May: Self-Image Month

Hello wonderful guests, and welcome to MAY!! The transition into this month has been deliciously warm and breezy here in the Northeast, and I have been relishing every moment. May you enjoy the same comfortable weather and renewed energy wherever you find yourself today 🙂

For the month of May here at Audacious we are going to focus on something that I consistently find to be a challenge personally and in all of the stories I hear and people I meet. We’re gonna spend four weeks talking about self-image, because ladies and gents, nothing impacts your life quite as much as the things that you feel and believe about yourself.

First up, let’s define what we’re talking about. Nothing gets accomplished without everyone being on the same page…

Self-image is so much more than how you feel about the way you look. We’re talking about the way you feel about everything in your life, from the size of your nose to the amount of money you make at your job and everything in between. The way you see yourself in relationships, the things you love and hate, your perceived place in your family and society, and every reaction to every stressful thing you’ve ever encountered are all a part of this giant construct known as self-image.

This image has been forming since the moment you were born. Starting with our first months we learn our abilities and limits and where we fit in our families and how they see us. As we get older and go to school we experience what our friends and acquaintances think about us and how we feel about that. If we’re in a solid, supportive family hopefully they balance out the negative self-talk of adolescence and we adapt as we grow up, make decisions into adulthood. Most of our interactions with the world build onto our view of who we are, and most of the time this learning is subconscious and unintentional. Whatever feeling we get about ourselves when having a new experience, that’s usually the belief we hold onto. We name the emotion or action and staple it on to the ever expanding corkboard of our self-image. We interact with our bosses and say “oh, I got nervous in that interaction. Hmm, I am intimidated by authority.”, and from then on we are Intimidated by Authority. The cute and successful guy at the bar chats up your blonde friend and doesn’t even say hello to you. You think “Man, she’s so pretty and nice, she always gets guys wherever we go, and I don’t. I’m not that pretty or funny. No one ever hits on me at the bar.” So now you’re Intimidated by Authority and Unpopular with Guys. Maybe even The Ugly Friend. Always Alone? The mind’s tendency to latch on to things as new identifiers knows no bounds! I was in my sister’s wedding when I was 11 didn’t get married before 27 Dresses came out years later. Somehow my mind wanted to saddle 19 year old me with the title “Always a Bridesmaid Never a Bride”. I spent at least a week reminding myself how ridiculous I was being.

Take a quick inventory of the things that you currently believe about yourself. There are millions for each of us, but just pick a few. “I’m always broke.” “I’m not artistic.” “I’m super friendly.” “I’m ambitious.” “I’m lazy.” “People don’t like my energy.” What do you believe about your skills, your body, your ideas?

Did you put those beliefs there? Did you spend some time telling yourself, “You know what? I have the most amazing singing voice!” or did you hear that from others, maybe once or more likely over and over again until you believed it? When you first started gaining weight, did your body say “Oh, hey! You’re like, disgusting now.” Or did something tell you that “disgusting” was the way you should feel about yourself?

The things we believe about ourselves are just that, beliefs. They aren’t necessarily helpful or even true. As we venture into a month of focusing on our self-image I want to challenge you to get personal. What do you believe about yourself? Your body, your finances, your relationships, your place in the world. These beliefs are at the very core of who we are and how we live our lives. Many of them form the foundation of our personalities and have created many of the heartaches in our lives. The things we think about ourselves can be huge, and scary and seem completely impenetrable. But with this, as with everything else, we have the ability to change the script. It will take work and determination. There will be days that you’ll start getting down on yourself for being down on yourself. Such is the nature of changing a lifetime of bad information. No matter how many years we have believed a certain thing about ourselves, we have the power to change the way we feel about that belief and, in time, create a new thought. This truth is crucial. In order to make any progress in the oft encouraged move to “change the way you feel about yourself” “love yourself” “love the skin you’re in” and all those other nice sentiments, you have to start by believing that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t the person your mind has been telling you that you are. That maybe, you’re someone else entirely. Someone altogether more amazing.

 

I’d love for you to take this journey with me, to a clearer view of yourself, confidence in who you are, and the determination to continue on, protecting your own beautiful “eternal positive regard”.

 

Come on you beautiful, strong, worthy, capable wonder you. Let’s do this.

2 thoughts on “May: Self-Image Month”

  1. As you said in your Spring Clean Your Life post, asking “How does this serve me?” Is one of the most important questions you can routinely ask yourself! Weeding out what doesn’t is making more time for what does. Of course everything we do serves us in some way, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it… but sometimes the action served a historical purpose and in that time became a habit, and it’s been stuck ever since! Labels are even more dangerous. It’s unlikely a habit will stick for life, but a label very well might. Loved this post!

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