Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for HowDoILoveMeCover.jpgWhere does your self-image come from? Often it comes from old messages or perceptions. Insecurity can make us believe all the bad stuff people tell us and shrug off the good stuff. One negative comment can pierce a fragile ego. One mean spirited comparison can keep you comparing yourself to others in a way that makes you not feel good enough. That sinks self-esteem and can keep people pleasers pleasing to gain acceptance or to make up for what they’ve adopted as their shortcomings.

Often what you’ve heard or believed in the past–sometimes the far past–becomes prevalent in your self-image, even if it’s not true or you’ve outgrown it.

Being tall in elementary school translated into being big and then being fat for me, though I wasn’t fat. I was just one of the tallest girls back then and always in the rear of everything. No matter what people said or the mirror actually reflected, I considered myself a fat girl. I felt big. The petite girls got more attention and were more popular. I longed to be popular and blamed my big body for not being so. And it all came out in my self-image as being too fat.

It’s unfortunate that compliments can roll off our backs while negative imprints stick like glue.

When you’re insecure, it’s hard to even accept a compliment, no less believe it. Many people said I was pretty, but feeling fat was all that stuck about my appearance. This is another reason why it’s so important to live just in the present moment and leave old perceptions in the past. When I began to do this, my self-image changed dramatically. I was able to be realistic about my past assessment of my body–and truly love it!

I wasn’t fat but thought I was because I wasn’t thin. Now I’ve learned that what you’re not doesn’t make you what you are.

Not being thin doesn’t mean you’re fat!
Not being the smartest in your class doesn’t make you dumb.
Not being the fastest doesn’t make you slow.

Don’t focus on what you’re not. Pay attention to the beautiful person you are. Find your good qualities and appreciate them. Let what’s good about you control your self-image. It will increase your self-love and confidence. I no longer look for what’s wrong with me or compare myself to others. Doing the latter, you can always find someone who makes you fall short and feel like you’re lacking. I do my best to keep my body in good shape and accept I’ll never be thin. But I love my curvy, soft body now, instead of feeling inferior to women thinner than me.

Loving yourself includes accepting yourself–as you are, not dwelling on how you could be.

Self-love rocks! It increases happiness, builds confidence, maintains contentment and enables your self-esteem to grow stronger. Self-loathing decreases happiness, lowers confidence, creates discontentment, and weakens self-esteem. Which do you want? The first one makes the most sense, unless you like to suffer. So right now, go to the mirror and say something nice to you. Be conscious of how you see yourself. Find reasons to make that perception wonderful, because I guarantee you are if you let go of the past!

Take the self-love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself.

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