"Worry about yourself, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you".
This year I set out to do something I have never done. Love myself.
Sounds silly right? Like how hard is it? For me, terribly difficult. Most look at me on the complete surface level. I've been told I'm intimidating. Ummm, okay. Why? Most recently I was looked at in shock when I said that I wasn't an extrovert. You aren't? Nope. Not unless I've been drinking margaritas all night. or feel insanely comfortable around you. But even then, I often hold back. A few years ago I began to look at why I did that. The psychology behind being so afraid to be brutally honest with who I was or how I am. It didn't take very long to realize that all of my issues came from insecurities I carried internally, driven by a combination of past events in my life and my own inner demons. I would love to say when I get stressed out I know how to handle it. I don't. I eat bad. I shut down. I literally don't do a damn thing about any of it.
A conversation with my middle daughter, who is 8 by the way, led me to the realization that I needed to set an example. To let her know it's okay to not be perfect. To have flaws. And weaknesses. But also it's okay to be strong. Independent. Healthy. Have goals. I want so much more for my daughters.
So how do we get this way? I know I'm not alone. A simple post on Facebook told me several Woman from all different ages feel the same way. That they are not enough. What can we do to change it? How can we support each other?
I set out on a mission to dive a little deeper into myself. It may sound strange but owning a boutique puts you in front of a lot of Woman. How can you make someone feel beautiful when you struggle with that concept yourself? So I first began to focus on my relationship with food. I started paying attention to how foods made me feel. A few articles on Mindful Eating really helped me adjust. But this wasn't about portion control. It was more. It was about pain, headaches, body soreness, inability to sleep, anxiety. I started cutting out certain foods to see if I felt any different. It took me 2 weeks to pretty much confirm from WebMD that I had a gluten intolerance or I was dying. Kidding. But you know how the internet is.....So oddly enough I went with the gluten intolerance and cut it all out. I no longer have headaches. Ones I used to get so bad that I blamed on my need for morning coffee. It just...vanished. Dead serious. No headaches. No tiredness, and I'm sleeping 100% better every night and waking up more refreshed than ever.
So I began meal prepping. Gluten free meals which I always thought of as wonky and funny enough, they are amazing. Wholesome. Real. Not fake weird Gluten Free packaged stuff. Who the hell wants to eat Gluten Free Brownies anyway. And.....the best part. My whole family LOVED it. Seriously I'll show you. Basically Chicken Fried Rice without the side of PF Chang's empty calories. Light on the brown rice, heavy on the veggies.
Now before you go, whoa wait a minute Pinterest Mom. Nobody cares and I sure as heck don't have time for that. Let me be real. I meal prepped for one week. I'm not an expert. Or better than you. For all I know, next week I'll be closet eating Sonic french fries from my Minivan. I've lost and gained 20 lbs so many times in my life that my scale literally says "WTF Barb" instead of a number.
My point is, we are all so much more alike than we realize. We all struggle with balance, work life, home life, family dynamics, body issues, our past.
Am I happy with my body? Not exactly..... But no one can change that but me. My body is what keeps me going. What I carried 3 babies in that I was told I would never have. And I'm working on not only loving my own skin, but taking care of myself in the process. Focusing less on "looking good" and more on "feeling good" because if I can be super honest. I haven't, for a very long time. And I'm ready to.
I would love to hear your input on this and one thing you are doing to love yourself more. Please share with me in the comments and feel free to share.
Barb- Owner, Designer, and Workaholic at Southern Mess Boutique