Tag Archive | self talk

An Imperfect Masterpiece 

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot.  It was an amazing opportunity,  as I won a contest and the hair, make up and sitting fee was all free. I said “yes” to the opportunity immediately, and was so excited! I have grown a lot in the past few years and I was excited for the chance to honor my growing sense of who I am through this.

However, as the weeks went on, the self doubt started to creep in. I had done a previous photo shoot with this studio (decoroportraits) and they had done a wonderful job. The couple who own the studio are friends and are both talented, gifted people who do amazing work. They are trustworthy and good business people as well.  But, the last time, it was a photo shoot with my daughter, and I had been really focused on her and my hope that it would be good for her and her self esteem as a teenager. Even though I had individual portraits done as well, my focus was on her.

This time, it was going to be about me and me alone. Aack! That made me nervous.  The negative voices in my head were saying,

“Oh come on. You’re 48 years old with adult children. Who do you think you are?”

“People will think you are vain and full of yourself ”

“You need to lose weight and work out for months before you should do that”

And on and on…

I almost cancelled so many times.  I would look in the mirror or step on the scale, and the negative self talk would start. It was a battle for weeks.

Then, my friend suggested we watch a documentary called “Embrace” (which can be downloaded through itunes) . It is about a woman’s journey with her own relationship with her body and learning to love herself just as she is. It was timely, and caused me to realize how hard I was being on myself and how much I had allowed society to dictate the definition of “beautiful “. I thought I had come to a pretty good place in terms of my self esteem and self worth. And, compared to several years ago, I had.  But, this opportunity highlighted for me how unhealthy my own view of my body was. I came to the jarring realization that I had been at war with my own body and didn’t even realize it.  I needed to see that!

So, I went. As the photo shoot progressed, Kevan and Leah made me feel so comfortable. …not just with the shoot itself….but with ME. Their philosophy of honoring each woman’s unique beauty came through in their approach.  With each wardrobe change (some of which required me to be very brave and vulnerable), I began to feel more and more beautiful.  Just as I am. ..right here, right now.

By the time it was done, I was tired… but I was also at peace with myself. And thankful. I haven’t even seen the proofs yet. I know the quality will be amazing.  But, to be honest….that is secondary. The growth that came from pushing myself out of my comfort zone is priceless.

Free to Be Me

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I  have been on an interesting journey of self acceptance and self compassion.  It has been, at the same time, the most freeing and empowering journey,  while also being terrifying and challenging.

I am learning a lot about my true nature and who I am at my core. Instead of the constant judgements and recriminations I used to berate myself with, I am working on embracing who I am and learning to work with that.

I am learning that I function best when I take things slowly and take the time to plan and think through what I need to do. I used to judge myself so harshly for that. It seems to me that we live in a society that values the ambitious, decisive go-getters.  I value having people like that in my life too. We need them.

But, we also need the thinkers and planners. We need the ones who are behind the scenes considering every angle and taking action at a pace that works for them. People like me. We need to value those people too. I  need to value those people too. I need to value me.

My ex-husband often criticized this about me. He told me often that he needed me to be more decisive and action oriented. I  accepted his perspective that I was flawed in this way. I tried very hard for over twenty years to change my nature. I kept trying. I would get so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t make myself be different.  I struggled with anxiety and a constant sense of dislike towards myself.  I  developed patterns of self talk that were mean and even cruel towards myself.

In reality, when I work with my true nature…when I give myself time to think, consider, plan…. I  make good decisions and I accomplish a lot. Decisions that need to be made are made and I feel at peace with them. Actions that need to be taken are taken, within time frames that feel comfortable to me. There is no anxiety and no mean self talk. There is peace.

I have this week off from work. I had such ambitious plans for what I wanted to get done. But, instead I have been doing a lot of relaxing, thinking, journaling, reading, and planning. I found myself starting some mean self talk again. I am so glad I caught myself doing that. I don’t need to answer to anyone about how I spend my time. I am not going to be disapproved of any more. I am not going to be criticized any more. Unless I do it to myself! I  deserve better. I  deserve to love myself for who I am and value my true nature.

It has slowly dawned on me that what I need more than anything right now is exactly what I have been doing. It is not lazy to give my body,  mind, and spirit time to rest, reflect, and just be. It is healthy.

If I am true to that, the things I want to accomplish will get done ….at a time and pace that feels good to me. That will be much healthier and much more fulfilling for me.

Ahhhh….that  feels so much better. I am going to make some tea and go back to my book now. 🙂