When I was young I had this thing about not liking myself very much. I only saw the imperfections and couldn't see to good things about me. I knew my nose was too big, my chin was recessed, I had an ugly profile, I had a moustache, and my waist was thick. I didn't like having my picture taken because I didn't want others to see what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
Looking back at pictures of myself when I was younger amazes me. I see a thin and beautiful girl. The thoughts in my head didn't match the reality at all.
As I got older, I started gaining weight and I'm sure you can guess that the weight was mostly in my stomach area. It's the old chicken or the egg question...were my negative thoughts creating my body?
As I gained the weight I started hating what I saw in the mirror even more. Suddenly I could see what I couldn't see before and I wanted the younger me to come back. I didn't recognize this woman in the mirror.
I tried all kinds of diets. I did Weight Watchers, South Beach, went raw for a year, did a 92 day juice feast, and then spent a year on the Paleo Diet. Every time I lost weight and felt better but still I never liked what I saw in the mirror. It was never good enough.
It's strange because it was almost like I had a distorted reality. I couldn't see that I was as thin as I was. I remember looking through my closet and seeing the small sizes from the last diet and I was shocked. I literally said to myself, "OMG, was I really that thin?" Reality distortion at its finest.
Currently I have gained back the weight I lost on my last foray into the diet world. I realize I am on the higher end of my weight spectrum and in addition to this I can see that I am beginning to have wrinkles and gray hair. And yet a funny thing has started to happen. I catch myself walking by a mirror, catching a glimpse of myself and smiling.
Whoa! When did that happen and how on earth did I get here right?
I said to a friend the other day that I know I am not at my ideal weight and yet this is the happiest I've ever been in my life. I am not as focused on that aspect of myself. I've spent years clearing out the emotional pain I had been holding onto all of these years and in the process I've learned to see myself in a new light.
I see myself for who I am on the inside, who I am in the depths of my heart, even beneath the ego persona that I still show to the world at times. I see into my eyes and I see a spark there that has nothing to do with my physical appearance and over time that has changed the filter I see myself through.
Now, that doesn't mean I don't want to try to be the best I can be for my body but the thoughts that are leading me to want to make changes are shifting and morphing. I am focusing on being kind to myself, making choices that make me feel good and that nurture me. This is a whole lot different from depriving myself to get rid of the fat on my stomach that I hate.
Can you see the difference?
This week I am on a detox. I am eating clean. No sugar, no dairy, no processed foods, no caffeine, I struggled with the decision to do this because I'm good at diets. I can deprive myself like no one else. It's the moderation AFTER the diet I have struggled with in the past. I was afraid I would get swept away in this mentality again.
So on day 3 I am being present. I am eating in silence when I can. I am focusing on my thoughts and observing the way my mind likes to play tricks on me. I am watching carefully and by watching I am learning and growing.
I don't know what will happen after this week but I know for sure that no matter what it is I will like what I see in the mirror!
So, how often do you smile at yourself in the mirror?