Alright, here’s Part 2 of the intro to my 2021 one-word theme--this time, how guts will direct my focus on creating a happier mind! (Really wasn't sure what pics to go with for this one, so enjoy a few photos from my amazing road trip across Utah!)
Bear with me here, this one’s a bit emotionally heavier than digestive problems (all such pretty visuals with guts, right?), and it’s the first time I’m writing about it openly and bluntly...but I really hope that by admitting my struggles with body image, I can commit myself to putting in the extra effort to finding self-love this year, and maybe help encourage and support others who’ve struggled with similar self-esteem problems along the way.
Guts for a Happy Mind
1. It’s time to love myself (especially my gut!)
I mentioned this briefly in my post yesterday, but I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my body. It started in college, or at least that’s when my self-negativity grew louder and more frequent--I’d compare myself to other women constantly. And with the trend in girls’ going-out clothes being the-tighter-the-better, I’d psycho-analyze every inch of myself in the mirror, not approving of what I saw. It would all come down to the same thought-- “If I was just skinnier, I would….”. Look better, be more confident, like myself more, find a boyfriend. Fill in the blank.
I’d like to say that all those body image issues are behind me, that my more mature 27-year-old self feels only love and appreciation for my body. But that wouldn’t be the total truth. I’ve definitely made some progress toward more consistent self-positivity, but I still (and often sub-consciously!) focus on only the parts of myself that I don’t like when I see myself in the mirror. And you know what that part always is? My tummy (annnnd my muffin top, as stupid of a description as that is for a woman's hips). Aka, I have a hard time loving my gut specifically.
But why?? WHY does my brain do that? Does yours ever do the same? I have a wonderful, fully-functioning, naturally-healthy body. I’m even a bit athletic (at least I think so, ha)! I keep a good diet and strong exercise routine, so I know I’m in good health. And, I have a loving and supportive family, and a doubly loving and supportive husband.
Why, then, does my brain sometimes convince me that I (and my waistline) should be thinner? The important thing is HEALTH, how you feel, not how you look. And hey, oftentimes those who keep themselves the healthiest aren’t the skinniest of the bunch--I'm lookin' at you, you strong and weight-savvy women out there! But no matter how much I tell myself this, why, then, does my brain sometimes convince me that I should be skinnier? That if I looked like those thinner women on my Insta feed, I’d be happier, or would like myself more?
To be clear, I’m not looking for sympathy! I’m aiming for 2 things here--1) to explain why I’ll be focusing so much on finding a more positive body image and self-love in my Happy Mind posts this year, and 2) to let anyone else reading this who has battled with negative body image know that you’re not alone, and that I'm here to support and encourage you! Maybe sharing this type of stuff with others isn’t your thing, and that's OK--I hope you can at least get a bit of helpful information and resources from my 2021 Happy Mind posts about boosting self-love :)
Whew, that was a doozy, thanks for hanging in there--it did feel good to finally admit my self-esteem struggles on paper! I’ll keep you posted as I start my work toward body-positivity, and would love to hear from you if you've experienced similar thoughts or if any of my self-love posts resonate with you! (Shoot me an email or message below :) ).
2. “Having the guts” to do and say what I want
What’s fun about having guts as my 2021 theme is all of its different meanings. Yes, you’ve got physical guts--intestines, colon, the icky-sounding bio stuff, you get it--but there’s also the saying “that takes guts”, or “she’s got guts” when referring to a person or task that’s brave or bold. I’d sure like to be bolder this year.
I’m a major people-pleaser, and like to avoid confrontation whenever possible. That’s not the worst way to be, and I genuinely love doing things to help others or make them happy, especially my family and friends--selfishly, making them happy brings ME happiness too! But admittedly, my people-pleasing side sometimes leads me to agree to things I don’t want to do, or prevents me from speaking what’s on my mind because I worry what those around me will think.
Well, life is just too short and precious to worry what others think or do things you don’t want to do, just to avoid saying no or potentially disappoint someone. This year, I’m going to work on “having the guts” to speak my mind, be myself, and do what I want to do. That probably won’t make for my most interesting blog posts this year, but I’ll be sure to update you on my progress. And if you've got a similar goal for this year, let's keep each other accountable and celebrate our small victories together!
Check back tomorrow for how my guts will guide my 2021 focus for a Happy Earth (this one was a bit of a stretch, but excited to find new ways to be eco-friendly regardless!). And plan on much more content around body image, self-worth, and mental health this year too--hope we can learn and grow from it together!
Have you ever struggled with your self-esteem? Whether it’s negative thoughts toward how you look, or for some other reason you convince yourself you’re inadequate (no matter how untrue you know it to be, deep down)? I know it can be tough to talk about, but if you’re sick of just telling yourself to stop unsuccessfully (like me), let’s talk about it. I would love to support you in whatever ways I can and share what we learn from working on our self-love this year--shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or a message using the fields below! <3