Whenever you listen to people discussing negative body image, “society” comes up. “Society” is like a bad word- it’s what “forces” people to believe all sorts of negative thoughts about their bodies, lives, and more.
Sometimes, we need to take a step back and look at the real picture. Yes, society influences us – from the people we talk to to the billboards we see and the TV advertisements we watch. Like many others, I am not proud of the subliminal message society sends to all.
However, we also need to look at the role we have played in this negative society message. We internalized it. It’s like what I’ve heard others say about eating disorders (or other mental health problems)- you didn’t choose to have an eating disorder, but you CAN choose to recover.
You didn’t choose to be subjected to all these negative messages, but you CAN choose to create your own positive internal messages.
I listened to my internal thoughts for a day and realized that I spend an insane amount of time lying to myself. Here I am, thinking that I am doing a favor to myself by “being honest” while everyone who says positive things about me are lying. But, I’m really just hurting myself.
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1. I’m Ugly
This lie is actually why I thought about creating this article. I was talking with someone at work about a specific concern. As I walked away, I thought, “How can (my coworker) even stand talking to me? I’m so horrible to look at.” Luckily, I recognized it quickly. Here we were, having a professional conversation, and I was afraid of the imperfections I see every day.
2. I’m Worthless
Oh, this lie has played in my head so many times. I’m impressed “worthless” hasn’t been tattooed to my forehead.
3. I’m Fat
The “F” word. You knew it was coming. But, most likely, you have also been told “fat is not a feeling, it’s hiding something underneath.” I remember being VERY frustrated by this…until I realized it was 100% correct.
4. I’m Stupid
If I get anything wrong, this is IMMEDIATELY what I tell myself. Yet, I work with students every day who mess up and with them, I don’t judge. I appreciate them for who they are and try to use their abilities to strengthen their weaknesses.
5. I Don’t Deserve This
I don’t deserve my life, I don’t deserve my job, I don’t deserve my amazing friends and family. Do I look at anyone else and think they don’t deserve to have a great life? Nope. I seem to believe that I am oh-so-special that I am the only one in the world who does not deserve what she has.
Take a minute and think about the lies that you tell yourself throughout the day. Are they actually helping you in any way? If not, join me in trying to change these lies to truths:
1. I’m Beautiful
According to Google, beautiful is “pleasing the senses of mind aesthetically.” It does not require looking a certain way or fitting into a mold. It requires loving oneself.
2. I Have Value
I am a good person. I always strive to help others. I am always open to listen to others and do my best in every situation. If this isn’t valuable, what is?
3. I’m Taking Care of My Body
I may feel “fat,” but really, I’m taking care of my body. I have put my body through a lot of punishment throughout the years and I need to nourish it correctly.
4. I’m Smart
I don’t have a PhD. I don’t have a super high score on any intelligence test. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not smart. I am a logical person and I have so much knowledge in my brain- I need to allow myself to believe that!
5. I Work Hard and Deserve my Life
Every day, I get up and work. I have worked so hard for the life I have right now- recovering from an eating disorder, living with my amazing family (consisting of two dogs and a great husband!), and working my regular job. I DO deserve what I have.
The lies can often lead down a terrible path. A path filled with hurt and frustration. A path filled with pain and suffering. I’ve been down that path several times. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get through the day with all the lies pounding themselves into my head.
I have the power to change this, as do you. I can switch these lies into truths. You can recognize your own lies and switch them to truths, too.
Dig deep and discover the truth beneath those lies.
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