Once upon a time a beautiful woman walked into my studio and told me how fat she was, I couldn't see her fat, in fact, when she walked in, my first thought was how gorgeous she was. We talked at length and at the end of the conversation I realized that this mother, wife, friend,that this divine soul had no love for herself. Here she was pouring all this love out to her family and community but she wasn't giving it back to herself. I told her I thought she was gorgeous, and she gave me the look. The look that said "you're crazy" . I get that look all the time, the look that says "you are full of crap, I am not gorgeous, look at me I am ugly, I am fat". I always feel momentarily sad when someone gives me the look ,because like most women I wasted way too many years believing myself to be fat and unattractive so I understand the subtle and not so subtle language of self loathing.
So, if you've made a list of resolutions I beg you to add one more resolution to your list and that would be to make 2014 the year you work on loving yourself more, the year you stop judging yourself so harshly and give up on the notion that you are just your body. I am so much more than my body, my body really in the end is just the vessel for my soul. Yes, I take care of it and feed it well and exercise it, but having a fit body does not make me a loving person or a more compassionate wife. What I mean is this; so what if I can run a great trail race and then I come home and criticize my husband, or gossip about a friend. What makes me a better person is how loving, tolerant and accepting of the people I come in contact with.
One of the truths about most women is that we never seem to be happy with our looks, if we have thin hair then we want thick hair, if we have curly hair then we want straight hair, if we have large breasts then we want smaller breasts, if we have small breasts then we want larger breasts. It's this endless cycle of never really being happy with ourselves.
We also tend to place so much of our self worth on our looks, that it becomes almost like a self imposed hell in our minds. We look in the mirror and see perceived faults, comparing ourselves to the air brushed beauties in magazines and we think, if only I looked like that, then I would be happy. But happiness is and always will be within your grasp. Much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, who went on a journey to get back to Kansas, and in end learned that all along she had the power to go home . We too have the power to be happy within ourselves. So come home to the love within you.
Several years ago Frank took a course and as part of that course he wrote his eulogy, it's beautifully written and really is a great exercise to find out what you truly value. If you were to write yours what would you want to be remembered for? I would want my daughter to say that I loved her unconditionally and that I set an example of what a strong, confidant woman can achieve. Not, that I was always dieting and complaining about my body. I would want my parents to say I made time for them and expressed gratitude for their sacrifice. I would want Frank to say I was compassionate to him. I would want my friends to say I made time for them and that I listened and was a safe friend. I would want my community to say I gave back. I would want my step children to say that I loved and accepted them.
So as you make your list of resolutions make them loving and realistic. Make them based on the things you really value. Take the time to think about who you really want to be where you really want to go this year. But also tell yourself this is the year you will stop that negative self talk and love yourself, the year you embrace how amazing you are.
If I had a magic wand I would wave it over you and grant you more self love, more patience with yourself on your journey and I would wish that you would see the world around you through love not fear. If you haven't guessed it yet, you are that beautiful woman that walked into my studio.
This year, get those family portraits done, don't wait, you will look back on them one day with so much love.
This year have coffee with a friend and don't talk about how fat you are.
This year stand naked in front of your mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful.
This year stop buying the magazines that air brush women.
This year buy the clothes you love not the ones that hide your perceived faults.
This year make the time for yourself to exercise, being fit will change how you feel about yourself.
This year promise yourself you will not go on the latest fad diet, if diets worked it wouldn't be a billion dollar industry.
This year when someone compliments you, just say "thanks".
This year just be you, uniquely you - be real.