Stopping the Hate Talk: 5 Ways to a Better You

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

“I hate my hair, my arms, my legs”  “I look so fat in these pants.” “Why can’t I look like that other girl? She always looks so perfect; she makes me sick.” “If I had all the money in the world and could afford a personal trainer, I could look like that too.”

How many times do we say these things to ourselves or about others? Why are we so degrading to ourselves and other women? It doesn’t matter your age: young girl, teenager, young adult, older adult, pre- baby body, post- baby body. When does it stop? When do you decide that you are enough and that God made you the way you are. As a teenager, I thought myself pretty; I thought myself confident. It wasn’t until middle adulthood that I started to doubt myself. There have been plenty of times that I have looked in the mirror and thought that I did not like the way I looked. Part of my problem is that I have not been treating my body right and I have had two babies and it really does change your body!  What do you hate about yourself? What do you love about yourself?  Which one do you think about the most?

Self-Worth is defined as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self respect.  Do you place value in yourself? Do you have respect for yourself?  Do you think of yourself as worthy and beautiful?

All this self degrading hate talk stops here.  IT STOPS HERE! I challenge you here-forth that when you look in the mirror you find one thing you like about yourself, just one. Daily. Yes, DAILY!

There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 31-39) , but He still wants us to take care of ourselves and our bodies. The following things help me to take care of myself and help me feel good about my own self esteem.

  1. Get up and Move!  Whether it is taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood, an aerobics video in the comfort of your home, or training for a race, get up and move.  Start TODAY! Even ten minutes a day can make a difference. Make it work. Maybe that means climbing stairs during a short break at work or parking in the furthest parking lot. Sometimes, for me, that means having a dance party with my 3 year old. Or I have an aerobic app on my phone that lets me choose 5 to 10 minute increments. Sometimes my 3 year old and 5 month old join in the fun. One thing I’m going to try in the next few weeks is running before my husband leaves for work!

2. Eat healthy! Of course there are lots of arguments about what is the best diet or supplement out there.Think before you eat! Is this particular food going to make me feel good or energized? I’m not saying to never have that piece of chocolate, i’m just suggesting you think twice about it. This is definitely one of my biggest challenges. I have a huge sweet tooth!  It’s about lifestyle change. While I don’t follow it strictly and I am not an expert, my personal belief is that a plant based diet is best for health and energy. Commit to make a change. Just eating more veggies and fruit can make a difference! Progress, not perfection!

3. Challenge your mind! Take time to learn. Read, whether an actual book, a website,e-books,newspaper, or a magazine. The world is full of great minds. You are one of them!

4. Feed your soul!  This is the most important point. Make time to pray or read your Bible and talk to God. I try to get up before my children in order for this to happen. Now lately, that has not gone like I planned. I have an almost 6 month old who wakes up in the middle of the night, and well, I am grumpy if I don’t get enough sleep. On those days, I try to read while I’m nursing him. Many times I’m praying in my car on the way to work. Those two things, especially the prayer, make a huge difference in how the rest of my day goes, and how I feel about my self as a person. I am a much better mom, wife, and friend when I make time to pray and read God’s word. End of story.

5. Take time for yourself! I don’t care what that looks like or how much time you say you don’t have. For me it looks like time to write, or time for a hike, a walk around the neighborhood, sipping on a hot cup of tea or coffee on my back deck. Coffee or lunch or breakfast with a friend, even if it has to be over the phone. Perhaps you can get up 10 minutes before the rest of your house,just to sip and drink your coffee.  Maybe once a month, you can find a babysitter or your significant other can watch the children, and you can go get coffee, by yourself or with a close friend. Find a walking partner. Train for a race with your co-workers. Sometimes, I take an extra long shower because that may be the only time I have had to myself that day. I breathe in the steam and take pleasure in the solitude and not having to explain what I’m doing. Everybody leaves you alone when you are in the shower (most of the time).

Challenge yourself to love more. We don’t need all the hate talk. Life is hard enough without being so mean to ourselves.

What are some tips you have on increasing self-worth?

Thanks for Reading! Please share with those extraordinary women you think need a reminder of how awesome they are!

Extraordinary Inspirations of the Week

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1. The following is a great article on how busyness controls our lives in the American culture:  http://intentionalbygrace.com/3-pitfalls-of-a-productivity-driven-society/#comment-117245

My daughter is not even three, and I have people telling me that once she is ready for extracurricular activities, I will be like everybody else, constantly busy and at one activity or another.  I already feel myself bucking that statement. Partly because I don’t like to do things the way everybody else does, just because that’s how others say it should be. Mostly, however, I want to make sure I leave time for family and focus on continually building quality relationships with my children and spouse! Of course I want my child to be involved in activities that interest her, but I do not want these activities to distract from what should be our number one priority (God). The only way I can teach that is by being an example myself and making that activity a priority.

2. I am currently reading the following book: “Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families”, by Michelle Anthony (http://michelleanthony.org/#/welcome). I wanted to share with you an excerpt that greatly inspired me and an idea that I wish to replicate in my own life:

“Creating an environment where your children from the earliest days ask a very important question is critical for their faith development. The critical question that service asks is simply, ‘What needs to be done?’ This is one of the best questions you can teach your children to ask. To have them walk into any room, situation, or relationship and ask this will change the way they see their world. It’s simple It’s profound. Yet this is a posture that will not naturally be cultivated in your children unless you set out an intentional course, making it a priority.” “In my home we chose not to have chores. You’re probably thinking, ‘Wow, your kids must have enjoyed that!’ Well, actually we still implemented the chores concept, but instead of referring to them as chores (which they would see as something to ‘get done and out of the way’) we decided to call them acts of service. This might sound silly to you to think that we merely changed the name, but I wanted them to understand that what they were really doing was serving our family” 

I just thought the author’s concept was a great way to instill hearts of servitude in our lives. It certainly (at least for me) makes it easier to do the ordinary things in life, such as clean the kitchen or (occasionally) hang my husband’s endless mound of laundry for him. It causes me to pause and think. What can I do to serve my family or community today?

3. My MOPS meeting this week is cause for inspiration. In truth, I did not want to go this week. We had just arrived back in town from a long trip the night before my meeting. I wanted nothing more than to sleep in (as much as my toddler would allow) and be completely lazy that day. From the prompting of my husband (was he just trying to get us out of the house??), I went anyway. I am so glad I did. It was actually our last  formal meeting of the year. I was able to hear many testimonies of women who warrant their own posts. These are brave women who have overcome so much (from suffering loss of a limb and having a husband serving our country, to overcoming bullying, to defeating deep recesses of depression) and have come out stronger, better people. I believe this group is a long standing answer to a constant prayer of mine: that I can find meaningful friendships with other women. I had just that during college, but somewhere between working full time, moving to cities where I knew virtually nobody, and beginning a marriage and family, I have been lonely (for female friendship) for quite some time. I can’t blame society or others in and of itself, as my body language and tendency towards privacy and introversion hindered me from opening up to people. I hope (and pray) to continue to develop some of these friendships. I strongly encourage you to find some sort of group where you can develop friendships as well. You may have to force yourself to go, but keep pushing. (I am telling myself the very same thing.)  We need positive female relationships. It is part of living the extraordinary life.

4. Finally, I leave you with a link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2TCeSP4RQQ) for one of my favorite songs as a child. Based on the following scripture: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)