Looking in the Mirror

My role as a health coach is incredibly rewarding.  I get to connect with a group of intelligent, brave, incredible women who are willing to open themselves up to me (often times someone they’ve never met) with their hopes, dreams and insecurities about their bodies and their health.

While I’ve had to get over my own insecurities about feeling “fit enough” or “healthy enough” to actually offer advice to anyone else, I know that this role is something I was designed for.  It is part of my Greater Purpose.  I’m not perfect at it, by any means, but I am learning so much about myself in the ways that I serve others.  God blesses me and I praise Him for that.

As was the case just yesterday with one of my clients.  I’m not going to name any names, of course, but this client is particularly beautiful on the inside and out.  I just love our weekly “Google Hangout” sessions and getting to see her face and just talk about her big dreams she is so capable of accomplishing for her body!  She is one client that is considering doing a bikini competition and I am so excited for her and to be able to coach her in a BALANCED way to this monster goal and not losing sight of having a strong mindset and strong spirit along the way.  Essentially, I am hoping to accomplish with her what I myself could not do.  There is something really beautiful about this opportunity for us both!

 

Over the weekend, I got an email from her with some recent snap shots of her body for what are called “Progress Pictures”.  I think progress pictures are incredibly valuable to the health journey not because it’s easy or even enjoyable to stare at yourself in the mirror and even (gasp!) share these images with another person, but because there is power in being able to look back and see how far you’ve come.  Somehow it’s a step in Faith, saying “I know this is how I look now, but I also know this is not how I’m going to look in the future.  So I’m brave enough to take the pictures now so I can one day see how far I’ve come.”  Again, it’s a challenge, but can be a really rewarding practice.

In fact, I think that is also the benefit of doing “Mind” and “Spiritual” versions of “progress pics” by doing things like journaling and written prayer journals, just so you can look back and see how far you’ve come. I highly recommend adding these practices for anyone looking to make some health changes!

 

But, back to the story, my client took the pictures and sent them to me and the email inevitably had some remarks about her “flawed” body parts and imperfections.  I related heavily to how she was feeling.  I think every woman on the planet can relate to this.  It is so challenging to stare at ourselves in the mirror without starting into a tirade against our body “flaws.”    Why is it so hard for every woman?!  Fat, skinny, short, tall, fit, thin –we all have things we don’t love about ourselves!

To me, the answer is the same answer it has been for me since that 2nd grade story I shared not long ago. My mind, and the lens through which I see my body, is the flawed part–not my body itself.  There are LIES that wreck havoc over my eyeballs and that tell me all the reasons why “I’m not good enough.”

 

So, I sent my client an email back but I felt as though I was really writing this email to myself.  Since I knew it was something that I needed to remind myself of and certainly knew this was something my client needed to remind herself of, then I can only assume that this might be something that YOU need to remind yourself of too.

 

So, here’s what I wrote:

Yes, I saw your pictures!

So, here’s what I see.  I see YOU and your beautiful body!  I also see that you are getting “nervous” because you are now seeing your body as the “flaws” that they are and what all will need to change by the time you hit the stage.

This is exactly what I did and exactly what I see so many women in this world do.
We think that in order to “motivate” ourselves, we need o focus on our flaws and fix them.  This is the equivalent of “hating your body to change it.”
It can work.  But the way it works is all negative and will suck the life right out of you.  It will make the next year of your life miserable and hard.
So, you’re not going to learn to love your body once it changes.  You have to learn to love your body now.  Just as it is.    Only from LOVING your body will you be able to set out and change it for the good of your soul.  To make a change in your body and your health, you will have to seek ways to become a better you and to do so from a place of LOVE not HATE.  Otherwise, it will suck the love right out of you.
So HOW do you do that? How do you love your body now?!   
Honestly, it’s a day by day and moment by moment, CHOICE that you’ll have to make.   It is a change that you’ll need to find deep in your soul to the the point that it can actually change your mindset too.
How do you love yourself?
First, by recognizing you are LOVED by God.  God IS love.
god-is-love
Think of the things that you love in this life.  You have love that should feel almost effortless right?   That feeling—God created that.  That feeling IS God.  When you feel that love it means you are feeling God within you.  What’s different about the love you feel for others and the love God has for you is that God’s love for you in unconditional.  You have it no matter what.  You can not earn it, you can not give it away.  What you need in your life is to simply embrace this love.
Right now, there are some walls blocking you from feeling this LOVE when you look at yourself.  These walls cause a darkness over your heart.  The walls might be from past pains you’ve experienced, or by comparing yourself now to the girls you saw at the show, or simply from LIES in your head that you’ve believed your whole life.  These LIES are from the devil and he is so smart and tricky and has made you believe these things are “normal” in your head.  They are not.
They are lies.  Fear is a liar.  Always remember that.
So, to turn away from these LIES and TOWARD LOVE you have to go out and seek it.  You have to practice love and make it a habit.  You will find that your spirit and mind will grow into this the more you practice it.  But it will be an everyday challenge that you have to choose to engage in.

Forming Habits of Self Love:

  1.  Pray to God and ask that His love fill you up and pour over and make you see the love for yourself too.  Building a relationship with God cultivates love with Him and then love for yourself.
  2. Replace all negative self talk with positive.  Every time you catch yourself wanting to be negative about your body, choose to repeat a positive love affirmation.  “I choose to love my body today”  or “Love conquers all”.  Something sweet and meaningful to you.
  3. Read Spiritual passages about love in scripture.  Search to understand what love is more and what Love God has for you.
  • Here’s some of my favorites:
  • Ephesians 3:17-19
  • Romans 8:28-30
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13
  • 1 John 4:8
  • Matthew 6:25
Take a moment to look these up and write down what they mean for you.  Meditate on them and seek ways for you to believe they are true.
      4.   Read other books, poetry, and podcasts etc that will help you remember to love yourself or just be inspired.
I love the new Oprah book “What I Know For Sure” where she does these short articles from her O magazine.  You could read one a day and really feel the benefit.
Here’s an excerpt that made me think of you just now.  She was talking about her constant struggle with dieting and her body (we can all relate).  What I Know For Sure
“I sat up one crisp, sunny morning and made a vow to love my heart.  To treat it with respect.  To feed it and nurture it.  To work it out and then let it rest.  And then one night when I was getting out of the tub, I glanced in the full-length mirror.  For the first time, I didn’t launch into my self criticism.  I actually felt a warming sense of gratitude for what I saw.  My hair braided, not a stitch of makeup on, face clean.  Eyes bright, alive.  Shoulders and neck strong and firm.  I was thankful for the body I lived in.
I did a head-to-toe assessment, and though there was plenty of room for improvement, I no longer hated part of myself, even the cellulite.  I thought, ‘This is the body you’ve been given–love what you’ve got’.”
          
Other books:
Jesus Calling, Laura Young
Awaken the Gian Within, Tony Robbins
How you can Heal Your Life, Louise L. Hay
The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck
Choose to start this today!  We are going to work through this SELF LOVE just as we are working through this BODY CHANGE.  By doing this, your experience will be a drastically different one than most will experience.  It will be a world different from MY own show too.
I am so excited to be a part of this!!  But again, this is a PROCESS!  It will take bit by bit to make any change –body, mind and soul.  All you have to do is be present to this very moment, and commit to the next step that GOD lays out ahead of you.
Love you!
M”
For anyone else that read this and can relate, I’d love to hear ways that you cultivate your own self love? Please comment below!  I know we all need reminders of things we can do to keep these LIES in our head at bay and start seeing ourselves the way God does!
I know for sure, that the process of sharing and engaging in God more because of these insecurities is the exact reason why we struggle with them to begin with! So in spite of it always seeming like a never-ending battle, it really is a blessing in disguise because of how much it will bring us closer to God.
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