In my line of work, I come face to face on a regular basis with women and men who suffer from an array of challenges that are based in an inaccurate view of their bodies.
From disordered eating to over-exercising, the behaviors are sometimes veiled by their efforts to “get in shape” or “eat healthy”. It’s a tough line to tiptoe for many people.
Disordered thinking or not, my goal as a coach is always to get people in touch with the true essence of who they are.
In yoga, the instructions for being happy are clear in the philosophy we study. In fitness and martial arts, I find that people are more likely to find pride in their actions and newfound skills rather than how they look or what the scale reports. To be healthy in body requires a certain level of mental health, as well.
Working as hard as we all do as teammates, it’s important to be aware of those in our tribe who may need a helping hand. And the best work we can do is always the work we do first on ourselves. As the saying goes, a rising tide raises all boats.
The more we become aware of our own disordered thinking and build new thought patterns that contribute to our overall health and wellness, the more likely it is that our teammates will follow suit.
Here are some tips for building a better self-image:
- See the beauty in our differences. Not everyone looks the same, right? And thank goodness! What a boring world it would be without diversity in looks, personalities, and personal histories. Each of us is the thread in the fabric. Without all the different shades, we would drape a less vibrant cloth around this world.
- Record a new theme song. Notice how you wake in the morning. What do you say to yourself? Is it time to change the self-deprecating, ominous march of “shoulda-coulda-woulda” to something a little more caring and sweet? Say something positive to yourself in the morning. Every morning!
- What’s your story? Surely amidst the trials and tribulations, mishaps and mistakes, there are a few things you are proud of? What are they? Remind yourself of what you have accomplished, what you love, and all that you have to be proud of as often as possible.
- Set goals for yourself like you would set them for your daughter. Or, you can set goals for my sweet Stella, if you need to borrow an image to picture in your head. I guarantee that when you set goals for someone else’s health and wellness, you are less likely to focus on size and weight. What other measures of health can you use? And then, those can be your goals!
- Be kind to others. The more we practice using kind words to others, the more likely we are to use them in our own self-talk.
- Talk about it. It’s never too early or too late to ask for help. Talk to someone about your health concerns. You are worth the effort!
The irony in writing this is that I’ve struggled with my own self-image for years. That struggle has been dark at times and victorious at others. But, I rest well knowing that I’m always working, always trying, always doing my best to be me.