Some days, I feel pretty good about myself and how far I've come. Some days, I can look at my body with compassion and kindness, without judging every little fat cell, scar and blemish. Some days, I throw on an outfit and go. Some days, I'm rooted in acceptance and unconditional love for myself and others.
But some days, I feel just awful about myself and can only see my missteps, not how far I've come. Some days, I look at my body in the mirror and judge the hell out of it, using my thoughts to berate it. Fat. Scarred. Blemished. Some days, it takes trying on six or seven outfits before I decide on an old faithful one. One that doesn't call attention or stand out or make me feel like I'm trying too hard. Some days I'm soaked in criticism and judgment.
When I am looking in the mirror and seeing myself through the lens of criticism and judgment, here are the steps I think I need to take:
- Immediate food restriction
- Punishing workouts
- Get out the scale and measure
Here are the steps I take to get back to my authentic self:
- Talk to someone I trust to hold space for me while I process this crisis of self-worth. Say, "I'm feeling like crap about myself." I want someone who won't try to fix it for me, (no advice, please!) but instead has the capacity to say, "I understand completely. I've been there." And will give me a hug or fix me a cocktail.
- Take off the lens of criticism and judgment and set it down. Get off the merry-go-round. This involves a surrender of my current state of mind. When I say, "Holy Spirit come!", it begins a shift in my mind from judgment to acceptance. From criticism to love. Meditate, pray, dance, walk in the woods.
- Receive love and forgiveness. To do this, I close my eyes, stretch my arms wide, and remember how much I am loved already. How forgiven I am already. And how this love and forgiveness has nothing to do with my weight, my body fat percent or my reflection in the mirror. By grace alone I am loved right now, as is.
Then, it never fails. Once I am back to my true self, healthy eating comes more naturally. Going for walks becomes almost automatic. And I look forward to my workouts again, knowing they don't have to be extreme or punishing to honor my health and my life. And they don't have to burn off two pound this week, or else I've failed.
Some days we feel strong inside and out, and the reflection we see is one we love. But some days, we lose our spiritual footing and begin to see a distorted reflection in the mirror. Don't be fooled. It's not your body that needs fixed. It's not broken. It's not you that needs fixed, you're not broken. This is a battle in all our minds between judgment and acceptance, between fear and love. Love works! So commit to your daily practices that support you staying rooted in love and acceptance, of yourself and others.
As you practice daily, you will see the reflection in the mirror differently - from that miraculous place of grace and peace. And on days that you don't, remember how to get back. By going within. And on those days that you struggle, I think it's OK to tilt the mirror a little, so you can see yourself how we all see you. As beautifully and wonderfully made.