Sometimes, you look in the mirror and see a strong, capable beautiful woman, but a few minutes later, you notice the flaws, do the faux facelift maneuver, and wonder why you suddenly look so bad.
The answer is simple. We don’t look great one minute and awful the next. It may be that turning our heads one way, or tilting it another, can result in a better look, but most likely the reason why we see beauty one moment and ugliness in the next has to do with our feelings.
As you put on your makeup and clothing, what do you say to yourself? Do you have a negative inner dialog going on? Are you worried about a future situation? Even thinking about something that might go wrong can chip away at self-esteem. When you realize that you can handle anything that comes your way, the positive outlook will provide strength and likely result in a more positive self-perception.
Of course, building to that level of confidence takes time, but beauty begins on the inside. Nurturing ourselves, loving ourselves and believing in ourselves is what lets our inner brilliance shine.
Our faces are the focus of attention so much of the time. Women put on their “faces,” they say, as if they don’t have a face without all the Cover Girl or Revlon brightening, hiding and tweaking their most valuable asset. Our faces are how we are recognized. They are unique and individual. Why cover them up with expensive, manufactured products, largely designed to hide them?
On the other hand, we live in a society where women are expected to have a finished look. A rejection of social expectations is not the answer and no one feels good tramping around with unkempt hair, and wearing worn, oversized clothing just because it is comfortable.
Looking good is all about balance, but it starts with perception. Stop looking for your imperfections. Instead, focus on your strengths. How do you want to look? Put on makeup not to hide your imperfections, but rather to show the world who you are. Wear colorful clothing if you like and you might even want to purposely mismatch styles. Be bold. Be beautiful. But do not waste too much time in front of the magnified mirror. Take a quick glance to see if everything is how you like it, and you are good to go.
Connecting with your inner self gives you all the guidance you need to find the motivation to take care of your body. The motivation in part comes from experiential knowledge because feelings are attached to our experiences. When you experience something and feel good about it, that will encourage you to repeat the experience. As an example, the more you exercise, the more you are motivated to exercise.
Motivation is not an outside job. There is nothing you can buy. There are not enough motivational CDs on the planet that will get you to that place. You have to do it for yourself.
Get to know yourself. Know how you are thinking and how you are feeling. Your thoughts affect your emotions. Your emotions affect your thoughts. If you are thinking that you will never lose weight, you won’t. What you tell yourself is attached to how motivated you become.
Get familiar with your thoughts and your feelings and you will know yourself better. In our book Change Your Mind: Lose Weight, we help you to connect with your inner self. Taking that inner journey will help you to create the motivation you need to change your life.
When you do not get caught up in life, and you work on being present and feeling your body and feeling good, you achieve balance. There is nothing more important than that.
Part of the reason we stray from the path is that we seek instant gratification, and taking care of our bodies takes time. We rather put in an hour of overtime at work, or do another household chore, than hit the treadmill. Realize that while doing something else gives you external rewards, there are intrinsic benefits that come with exercise. Pay attention to how you feel after you exercise. If you choose to take care of your body before you take care of the next obligation, you will feel good.
So let’s look at someone who is taking care of her body. She feels good about herself and her life. She is better equipped to handle stress or anything life throws at her. And the secret to living this kind of life stems from the experiential knowledge of how it feels after you exercise. Such knowledge contributes to the development of the right motivation and is something we will address next week.
We tend to focus on trivial things. We neglect what is truly necessary for our best selves. Going to work, taking care of our family’s needs, and tending to social obligations often leaves us little time to devote to self-care.
Even if we schedule time for a workout, or sign up for a yoga class, the intention may not be fulfilled because it seems that unexpected events thwart our efforts.
So we have to make that mental shift to put ourselves first. The oxygen mask analogy — we give ourselves oxygen before helping others– fits here.
You may think that going to the gym is secondary, but think about how good you feel when you are done. Of course, taking care of your body is more than exercise. It is equated with sleep and relaxation, drinking enough water, eating the right foods, going to the doctor when you are ill, and not pushing yourself beyond what your body is telling you.
Putting yourself first is the most important thing you can do. So put yourself first and you will probably see that you can better meet your obligations!