This is my story in finding peace with my body…
Since 15 years old, I thought if I could just be slim, I’d be happy. I searched for years for the quick fix to that happiness. Oh how many years I wasted in this depressing pursuit, instead of living my life.
If only I had made peace with my body, I would have found happiness in an instant (free of charge, no diet or program or years of struggling and frustration needed).
The reason so many women struggle with making peace with their body, is they listen to what everyone else tells them is the answer. Do this diet, this exercise, buy this and that, model yourself on this person (who has a completely different body structure your own)… blah blah blah.The thing is, all these things may help, but ONLY IF THEY MADE YOU HAPPY doing them!
What’s crazy is that looking within and asking ourselves what makes us happy is often the one suggestion we all ignore! Why? Because often what makes us truly individually happy, is not the same as what the media or the latest book or trend or society has dubbed as acceptable. So we doubt what we feel is really right for us.
For example, when I did this myself (finally!) after years and years of dieting and gym memberships and losing weight and putting it back on and trying the new slimming trend, I was shocked to realise that what made me happy was absolutely NONE of these things! In fact I hated going to the gym. I didn’t like routine and repetitive exercises. I missed eating FOOD and what made me most happy was variety! I spent time trying new things (hobbies, activities, travel and food) in order to get to know myself and what made me happy. Over time I came to the conclusion that I didn’t get the high others did from a gym workout and doing this everyday. I did however, love dancing and in particular doing different dances each time. So I started going to a variety of classes, from salsa to ballroom, tango to ballet etc.
I found that VARIETY was key for me! It made me happy! I also found out I liked adrenalin sports like skiing, snowboarding, hang gliding, diving, motorbikes, rollercoasters etc. I also LOVED food! but not in the way that I liked to eat a lot, in fact I ate very little, but I loved variety of flavours and trying new things and the choice of eating whatever I felt like at the time was the most happy feeling in the world.
You see I discovered that central to what made me happy in life was variety and feeling free to choose and change what I did, ate and felt. And choosing who I wanted to hang out with and what I did for work (which is why I like contracting). I love change. It’s not for everyone, but it was me! The incredible realisation was that my constant comparing myself to others and trying to keep up with what made them happy was not right for me.
Here’s another great example…my gorgeous disciplined sister, at her core loves routine and exercise. Her happiness comes from her daily exercise routines which give her that high that I get from variety. She feels happy eating certain foods (often the same everyday) – where I get bored and need a change everyday. She loves to challenge her body and to her, time is well spent in the gym (or her exercise room). There, she feels happy and alive. For me though, I would feel trapped in that routine and there would be less time for me to dance or create… (I LOVE being creative – I could spend hours or days just creating, drawing, designing.)
My sister feels happy working her body and focusing on her temple. It’s like her body is her canvas – she is creating too, but with her body – sculpting it, stretching it, expressing with it through exercise and strength. She felt empowered. (by the way I’m not saying that is all she likes doing, just that, what brings her joy is different to what brings me joy. And we are sisters! So how could we expect to find joy doing what complete strangers do. This is why it’s so important to get to know YOU and what makes you Happy!
For me, I realised that I loved using my body, to take me places, to travel and discover, to meet people and experience new things (like the adrenaline sports or dancing). Time in the gym, was time I was missing, that could be spent exploring this wonderful world. You see, others assume you’re not happy if you are not a certain size or shape. But I realised that I actually don’t mind being my shape or size, because my happiness comes from exploring the world inwardly and outwardly. Jus this realisation alone changed my life forever! I repeat… I actually like being my size and shape! But until this realisation, I just assumed the same goal of happiness as the masses – being slim equalled being seen as beautiful, acceptable and attaining true happiness. Don’t get me wrong, some people may really find happiness in this and thats the point! Each of us deserves to find out what brings us joy!
When I reflected on my life, I could see that the only reason I ever tried to lose weight or sculpt my body or exercise for weight loss, was actually to make some one else happy or to feel loved or desired by someone else. I was so often told by the wider family and friends and boyfriends that I had so much potential, I could be a model, (if I was only slimmer)… so I felt obliged to live up to this. And you know what? trying to live up to this potential was exhausting and yep, you guessed it – it did not make me happy! Looking within and spending the time getting to know myself helped me to really ‘get’ what finding your own happiness means and how freeing and empowering it is!!
I want ALL women, from SIZE 0 to INFINITY, to know that happiness is in you.
YOU get to choose what will fulfil YOU… and what makes you brave, is being happy even if that’s not what the ‘norm’ defines happiness as!
Miss Monroes loves to empower women in finding their confidence and love for the self. Thats why I like to share my stories. When a woman focuses on what makes them happy and feel good, they empower those around them from children, to partners to other women! Too many women spend each day feeling depressed about their bodies, because they want to look like a perceived ideal. It’s important that we each learn what makes us feel happy and beautiful with what we have now. This is self confidence.
It’s about not comparing yourself with others.
A flower doesn’t compare itself to the flower next to it…
If we would only realise and see our own unique beauty (inside and out), we would tap into an inner power the changes the world.
Instead of the energy we spend on comparison and changing our looks, we spend it on empowering ourselves and our children, to do and be what makes us feel joy and happiness… there would be so much more we could achieve! I learnt to do this step by step over the years (I’m still learning). After suffering from thigh chafe since I was a teenager and being told it was because I was fat, I spent so many years in shame about my body.
Years later and after discovering what made me happy, I found empowerment from accepting my thigh chafe as being a beautiful part of my natural shape. I had slimmed down (during my “trying to please others” stage), and at size 8 I still suffered from thigh chafe, so I made peace with it and created my own range of anti-chafing Lingerie! I knew then, that I deserved to feel gorgeous and knew that wearing dresses, skirts and dancing, made me feel happy. I CHOSE to honour the body I have right this minute! Not when it’s slimmer or with less cellulite. This honouring meant I would keep it healthy and look after it, but on my terms, and in ways that brought ME happiness. I am here to tell you, I am a much more fun person to be with now, than when I was always feeling sorry for myself about my shape and being miss grumpy pants in the gym. After all SELF confidence is the most sexy and beautiful quality men and women can possess!
I now feel empowered and I’m passionate about empowering others too. My mind is now free from the constant negative thoughts and pain with comparing myself to others. I choose people, activities, food, exercise, clothes, jobs and even facebook/magazine/media articles that make me feel happy and empowered and kind. It’s a process and you can do it slowly or all at once, but I know from my own experience and friends too, that it does work!
What makes you happy? Start with anything…what style of clothes makes you feel good? if you don’t know – find out! Research styles for your gorgeous body shape as you are right now. What activities make you feel happy? Dancing, diving, drawing, yoga, singing…? try them out if you don’t know.
Try this with all aspects of your life. Have fun with it! Notice how you feel around certain people. Do you feel happy and nourished around them? If you are left feeling worse about yourself, decide if they should continue to star in your life or play more minor roles in your life story.
It’s up to each of us to change our lives and create our happiness. By doing this for ourselves, we live by example and in turn show the way for the children in our lives as well as other women and men around us!
Do something today that empowers you and/or makes you feel happy. Learn about you! Don’t wait for the perfect time. What makes you feel happy right now?
I send love and kindness to all my fellow women!
You are gorgeous as you are right now!
Love Lisa x
For more of my stories, please check out my BODYKIND blog.