So you want to love your body more, but it seems so overwhelming. What a project! Where do you even start?
The more I have thought about and studied this topic, the more I realize how important our thinking is in this whole process. Maybe that sounds obvious, but I think most of us don’t truly understand our thinking, or the power our thoughts have. I know I have overlooked and underestimated my thoughts for most of my life.
But recently I learned something that has changed everything for me.
Our thoughts create our feelings.
Did you get that? Our thoughts create our feelings. I had been going along thinking that my children, my bank account, my husband’s choices, my responsibilities, and other things in my life were making me feel the way I felt. And although some part of this new idea made sense to me, I had a strong desire to deny it.
If I feel overwhelmed, you mean to tell me it’s not because I have five kids? If I feel discouraged, it’s not because we took a pay cut last year? If I feel frustrated, it’s not because my husband isn’t helping me enough? If I feel angry, it’s not because of what she said to me?
Although it may have seemed easier to just let the responsibility for all my feelings fall on my circumstances, I find that it is FAR more empowering to recognize and acknowledge the power of my thoughts. My feelings are not simply at the mercy of everything going on around me, of things outside my control. In fact, the opposite is true. My feelings are completely within my control because of the incredible power of one thing I always have control over: MY THOUGHTS.
I want to stop right here and clarify something that can be tricky in all of this. We have a tendency to sometimes confuse thoughts and circumstances. We state our thoughts as if they are facts. For example: “I am so busy!” The circumstances may be that I have a dentist appointment, work, a class party, and am having company for dinner, all on the same day. Those are facts–the circumstances. But we still get to choose our thoughts about those circumstances. One thought we may choose is “I am so busy!” But we may also choose to think, “I love my full life! There is plenty of time for everything.” Do you see how completely different feelings are produced by these two thoughts, without the circumstances having to change at all?
So what does this have to do with loving our bodies? Let’s look at some thoughts we may have about certain circumstances dealing with our bodies, and the feelings these thoughts could create.
Circumstance #1: Last year, I set a goal to lose ten pounds. Instead, I have gained five.
Possible Thought: “I have no self-control!” Accompanying Feelings: Shame and Frustration
Possible Thought: “My life is out of control. I can never lose weight.” Feelings: Defeat, Lack of Control
Possible Thought: “Last year, I learned what doesn’t work for me. I’m excited to try something new this year.” Feelings: Empowerment, Hope, Motivation
Possible Thought: “My weight does not define me. I am an amazing person.” Feelings: Worthiness
Circumstance #2: I saw a picture of a celebrity in a bikini in the checkout stand.
Possible Thought: “If I looked like her, then I would be happy.” Feelings: Jealousy, Frustration
Possible Thought: “I wish I looked like that! But having babies made me so fat!” Feelings: Self-pity, Inferiority, Disgust
Possible Thought: “She is beautiful. So am I. Isn’t it great that we are all unique?” Feelings: Contentment, Self-acceptance, Love
Circumstance #3: I lost weight recently.
Possible Thought: “I better be careful. I gain weight when I simply look at food!” Feelings: Fear, Lack of Control
Possible Thought: “I may have lost weight, but my butt is still so big!” Feelings: Inadequacy, Disgust
Possible Thought: “I love taking care of my body. Regardless of the weight lost, I feel so good.” Feelings: Accomplishment, Peace
Do you see what I mean? When we acknowledge the power of our thoughts, we learn that our circumstances really do NOT have power over our feelings. I believe that this understanding—once we really own it and believe it–is the first tool we need in our project of loving our bodies. How to choose our thoughts to create the feelings we want would be the next, and is an entire blog post on its own. So I’ll let it be just that. Another post. Stick with me. 😉
Love your body, and your body will love you. ♥