Ok, this is a hard post for me to write – just putting that out there before we get started. In my New Year post, I mentioned that I would be doing some self-reflection in order that I might reboot my mind when it came to self-image. So here is my attempt at confronting the little demons in my mind which scream, “watch out, wide-load coming through!”
For those of you that know me, you will know that I’m a pretty blunt individual. A spade is a spade. And so, I find it hard to eloquently convey my emotions but for the goal of helping myself and maybe a few readers I’m going to walk you through my self-reflection thought process so far. In preparation for this post I researched a few sites and looked over some discussions on self-image and how to improve it. They all come to the same consensus that self-reflection is necessary when identifying root causes for a particular insecurity. (And I was so hoping to avoid doing this!)
After pondering where to begin, I came up with my first question which inevitably led me down a river of many twists and bends. I asked myself, why do I care about how I look? My first inclination was to list of the general shallow reasons such as fashion, wanting to feel good and being attractive for my husband. These are true but really covers for the real answer which is, looking good gives me some validation. I need to look good to feel some sort of self worth when people compliment or admire me. I don’t think that I am the first person to ever admit this but it is still disappointing to see how deep my insecurities run.
This then leads me to, why do I need the validation? This might not be your next natural question if you don’t require the validation. Perhaps you have self-image insecurities because of a high school bully, an abusive parent or a controlling partner, but I would guess whatever the reason, we are all seeking something to fill or fix a hole within us. Therefore, the obvious response for me is that I need validation because I am missing something.
What am I missing? Well, most of the self-image coaching information I have read focusses on childhood issues, whether it was bullying, a dysfunctional family or an unexpected death, which I suspect are the root causes for most people’s issues. We all take our own personal ‘image’ mirrors out into the World and reflect our deep-rooted problems onto others and then live through repeated cycles of destruction. The key is breaking those thought processes and creating new paths which lead to positive changes.
Well, I’m not going to bore you with the unnecessary details of my childhood but I would guess that at some stage of my childhood I realised that looking good equated to feeling good. This may have been to gain social recognition, for a cute guy on the bus or to overcome a deeper hurt, who knows? But that realisation turned into a habit which festered and became a constant maligning thought process.
As a young adult, my self worth was balanced on the shaky walls of every relationship I had and over the years it has gradually become more sturdy thanks to my beliefs and an amazing loving husband. But if I put all that aside and the constant bombardment of media images, I am still left with an insecure teenager that is still hoping for the boy at the dance to notice her.
It’s that simple when it’s all boiled down.
Problem solved – I wish! Now comes the real leg work of putting some sort of plan into action in order that I might not seek validation for the shy teenager living inside my mind. This, as with everything is a personal choice. Some people opt for daily affirmations to tell themselves that they are beautiful or some might try and deal with parental issues head on. If you are a believer of any particular faith, you might find value in researching scriptures so that you can memorize them during times of struggle. For me, I’m going to acknowledge my weakness and choose not to let it bring me down. This means choosing not to read fashion magazines because it will only feed my insecurity. It means choosing not to compare myself to every female I know because we all have our own inner battles to deal with. It means choosing to celebrate who I am and the difficulties I have overcome by loving every minute of my life with my amazing family and friends. And it means choosing to be thankful for the healthy functioning body I do have when so many other people are suffering. This may seem simple but the conscious decision to choose is a powerful act which will eventually forge positive and fruitful habits.
I’m choosing to be thankful!