You Are Not the Problem

Now right off the hop, I’m sure that title has you thinking one of two things:

A) “Darn right I’m not!” or B) “What an arrogant, irresponsible thing to say!”

Now I’m sure that most of you fit into category A because, well, you’re just those kind of good folks.  But just in case there’s someone out there wondering what led me to say such a thing…I’ll expand.

So I had a little lightbulb moment earlier this week.  I had ordered a few pairs of pants online recently because I needed some new dress pants and the sale was super good.  So when said order arrived, after trying everything on, in my excitement I rushed to give it the nod of approval and add it to my closet collection.

However, it seemed that every time I tried those pants on, they just didn’t feel as good as the first time.  Maybe it’s because I’m acclimatized to joggers and leggings…or anything with stretch really….but after giving them a go again I began to feel that the problem was with me…my body just wasn’t slim enough for them (for more on being enough click here).  As I tried on shirt after shirt I began to get frustrated and feel defeated.

Do you ever get that way?  It’s the worst right?!  Honestly I used to struggle so so much with that…I would cry and whine and finally in utter defeat, stand in front of the mirror and begin to point out every single thing that I didn’t like until I hated everything about myself. (In hindsight, I can see that I may have slightly overreacted) So thankful I don’t do that anymore…but as I struggled to stay positive standing there in those uncomfortable pants I had a thought that changed my entire morning.

I began to think about how my body had changed after having three children; how I had been keeping a regular fitness routine (okay, so it’s only 16 minutes a day but trust me, those minutes feel like a slow death); how maybe they call high-rise pants “mom pants” for a reason (yeah that was a rogue, random thought….I get those…and side note…interestingly enough, after being arch enemies with those pants in elementary school they’re slowly beginning to grow on me…literally); I thought that maybe I wasn’t supposed to look like a teenager or college student anymore…and that maybe, that was okay….and then it finally dawned on me,

“What if I wasn’t the problem?  What if the pants were the problem?”

Just because there was a number on those pants that should by all accounts fit me…didn’t mean that it would….and that was okay.

Friends, maybe you’ve had this struggle too.  Maybe you’ve starred in the mirror and pointed out all of your flaws and left feeling like there was nothing good about yourself….just because a shirt, or a bathing suit, or a pair of pants told you so.  I think that it’s time that we stop letting these things define our body image.  Seriously guys…these articles of clothing are not our soul mates…we weren’t made to be together forever…so why do we act like it when our bodies and clothing don’t see eye to eye?

Maybe you’re thinking, “but I am the problem”.  Maybe you’re thinking that you should be making better food choices (and let’s be real here…I think we all can say that about ourselves…no? Just me?…Okay moving on).  Maybe you’re thinking that you’ve been slacking with exercising…wanting to make a change, but feeling too defeated to even know where or how to begin.  I’ve been there too and every single time it has led me down the path of frustration and defeat.

Can I offer you some practical advice that I learned from my good friend, author and speaker, Lisa Bevere in her book “You Are Not What You Weigh“? (disclaimer: she actually doesn’t know that I exist, but I feel like we’d really hit it off)  This advice has helped me in the past…it’s what I still have to remind myself of every time I feel this way about my body…it’s what I remind myself of when I need to be motivated after I’ve begun to slack off…it’s advice that has always, always helped me.

Here it is in my own words:

Instead of always focusing on the things that you don’t like about yourself, begin to focus on the things that you do like.  And I’m not talking figuratively…I mean literally…when you get ready in the morning or whenever you look in the mirror take a few minutes and out loud tell yourself three things that you like about your appearance.

(maybe whisper so your family doesn’t think you’ve lost it…although with that being said, my 5-year-old daughter does this on a regular basis and it’s completely normal for her – it’s quite entertaining actually) I would also suggest that you focus on three non-appearance attributes and as you begin to gain confidence begin to look for more than three.

Instead of focusing on what you don't like about yourself, focus on the attributes you do like. Click To Tweet

Although this seems like a simple thing and at first you’ll likely feel silly…after a week or so you’ll find yourself gaining confidence and feeling less defeated – it works for me anyways!  And without that defeated attitude you’ll be able to take small steps to introduce healthy choices that will leave zero ground for the voices of guilt and shame to stand on…because you will be doing something!

And on those days when the clothes just don’t feel or fit right…move on….there’s other fish in the sea!  Embrace an “it’s not me, it’s not you – we just weren’t meant to be together”-attitude with your clothes when you’re shopping…it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t fit…just let it go and move on (totally feeling Elsa vibes right now).  And while it is a pain to have to return online items, I think in the long run, it’s a much bigger pain to keep them and feel miserable about yourself every time you attempt to wear them.  So do yourself a favor and begin to show yourself some self-love when you’re getting dressed or out shopping…don’t let the clothes dictate your feelings and worth, let your worth and value dictate what is good enough to hang off of you!

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Astrid Mueller at astridmueller.com for the pretty Free Watercolor brush stroke shown above! Be sure to check out her lovely site.

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