The Image We Tell Ourselves

 

Up until age 12, I was skinny. I’m talking beanpole skinny. I had a barely there butt, zero point zero hips and wore slim jeans forever and a day (my favorite were the ones with the roller skates applique with REAL laces on the pockets.) I see my youngest child and he is built just like my daughter when she was his age. Abs for days and arms and legs like a colt. But you know what I used to say when people commented about my kids’ physiques? They take after their father.

Me to me: Um, hello?! Have you SEEN pictures of your husband at that age? Remember, he wore Huskies. (Sorry, babe. I’m just trying to highlight a point here.)

It’s time to call bullshit on myself. I had forgotten that skinny little kid even existed. She’s so far removed from my brain that I can’t even recognize myself in my own children. Sure, my son Kysen and I have the same coloring and Avarie and I sound just alike but that’s all the credit I gave myself.

For so many years, the image I’ve been carrying around, the one I see when I look in the mirror, is still that chubby cheeked teenager with thick thighs and a bubble butt. But I KNOW I’m not overweight. I know I’m healthy and strong but there she is, every damn time, always looking back at me. I see her at the gym, in the dressing room mirror, when I walk down the street and see her reflection in the store window, and in the rarest of rarities, in a photo of myself. The chubby girl is relentless.

But I’ve realized something. By hanging onto this image of her, I will never attain me. As long as I keep imagining her when I think of myself, I will only become more of her. You’ve heard of visualization techniques, right? Well, imagine what I’ve been doing all of these years by visualizing her when I think of myself. Hello, self-sabotage.

I will never look the way I feel if I keep up this unhealthy habit. And not that I’m trying to become a size zero or that appearances are the most important but there is a level of frustration here. I eat amazingly well, exercise 4+ times a week on average, rarely drink alcohol, and sleep at least seven hours a night. What does a girl have to do to get some results around here? I believe that would mean some serious shifting. Specifically, perspective, mindset, and gratitude.

Perspective

What could happen for me if I stop thinking “Damn it, I hate my legs” to “Nice abs, rockstar.” If I stopped focusing on the negative and shifted to the positive, what else might I find? Or perhaps my legs will get jealous from all the attention my abs are getting and they’ll decide to finally show up.

Mindset

What’s important is that I’m eating what’s good for my body and what fuels me with the right kind of energy. I exercise because it feels good and I love how strong I feel because of it. If I keep telling myself my metabolism is slower than molasses and that I’m just destined to look this way than guess what? My body is probably believing that story and sticking to the script.

Gratitude

I’m healthy. I’m strong. I’m a healthy role model for my kids. I never get sick. This should be on repeat every day in the gratitude journal. Instead, I tend to focus on the scarcity in my life. I can’t see the muscles in my legs. I look gross in shorts. 

Who wants to hear that effing sob story every day? Not me. Not anymore.

The more and more I read, watch and learn, changing my perspective, mindset and level of gratitude can shift my life in ways that I thought that were for other people. As I listen to podcasts (seriously addicted these days), I find that this is the common denominator in people who have fulfilling lives. They see things in a positive light, they believe in themselves and acknowledge their strengths, and they express gratitude every day for what they have.

I am not this image I’ve been carrying around with me all of these years. I am so much more than I am giving myself credit for. So, to keep up with my word for the year, freedom, I’m setting that chubby teenager with the thick thighs and bubble butt free. I’m letting her go forever.

This is the only me I need to see, the one sitting right here and now. The one who loves herself for what she has, who she is inside, and how I love others. Not the one who hates herself for what she doesn’t have or for her faults. Life is too short to keep living life through lens of my past.

I am who I tell myself I am. I will become what I tell myself I will become.

It’s amazing what you see when you let go of that image you’ve telling yourself for far too long.

  • How many of you are doing the same thing?
  • Do you have an image you keep playing in your head on repeat, like an old film reel? 
  • What can you do to finally set that image free? 

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