While, yet again, bemoaning my appearance to my husband (in the usual form of “do I look horribly fat?” and getting the glib “not too horribly) I started thinking. Yes, thinking.
Do I really want to spend the rest of my life worrying about how I look? How I look in comparison to everyone else (including people 40 years younger than me)? Or do I want to try to take responsibility for my feelings about myself? Can I cast my concerns in this area to the wind and just ‘love myself’ as-is? Aren’t I completely tired of spending some time (and some days a lot of time) scrutinizing myself, judging myself, comparing myself…wouldn’t it be great to have a day – just one day – where I didn’t even think about it! (Okay maybe that’s unrealistic.)
I’m reading a few books right now (surprise!) that try to tackle that issues from a few different directions:
- The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever
- Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff and Carol Kline
- Secrets of a Former Fat Girl: How to Lose Two, Four (or More!) Dress Sizes–And Find Yourself Along the Way by Lisa Delaney
So have I learned anything? Probably too soon to tell. It’s not like this isn’t a well-worn path. I see myself doing it (some of the time) but is this just another way to be dissatisfied with myself? I guess I perceive my largest obstacle in this (and possibly all other) regard is that I’m not good at self-discipline. I can see that it’s highly likely that these things (i.e., saying destructive, critical things to myself) are a habit. And that changing that habit is going to take some consistent, long-term effort. I even (mostly) believe that I’m willing to make an effort. So what holds me back. What stops me from saying, “hey…i need to go to sleep early so I can get up and exercise” or “I’m going to exercise 3 times a week come hell or high water” and then actually carrying through. I can tell you that the very idea of doing either of those things sends quivers of fear running through me.
Actually, interesting. What the hell am I afraid of? Is it really so scary to just assert what I want and have some reasonable expectation that I’ll get it…or, more precisely, give it to myself? What am I waiting for. I’ve come to realize that my 68 year old self will view my 58 year old self as a “young woman” who “should have” gotten her act together. And if I want that 68 year old self to have a reasonable shot at feeling good about herself I’ve got to start now. After all isn’t my mother the perfect DON’T-DO-THIS-IF-YOU-WANT-TO-BE-HAPPY example?
So, here’s some questions to explore:
- What if you really are an attractive, 50’ish woman?
- What if you are pretty average sized albeit you could stand to lose a few pounds?
- Why is it so hard to believe when people say you’re pretty, or look good, or such?
Actually that third question is an interesting one. I realized when interacting with my mother earlier in the week and she went into one of her “you’re so pretty…I’m so glad to have such a pretty daughter…” routines that I view it just that way…as a ‘routine.’ I don’t believe she’s sincere. I don’t believe Dee when he says I look good. I always feel that they’re just saying it…in an attempt to make me feel good but that it’s not really true.
Here’s the big question: why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves? Still working on the answer.