Recently I have spent some time thinking about myself and how I perceive myself. I noticed that over the last few years my self-image has changed. It has changed because although I do believe I am in control of myself and my thoughts its other’s perception that leads my thinking in my self-image. What I hear on a regular basis is what I believe. It also works with what I don’t hear.
I was in a relationship for 14 years. I had daily feedback from another person that gave me my self-image. The good thing with that is that he told me daily how sexy and beautiful I was. The bad thing was that he also told me on a regular basis that I was a “dumb ass” to use his words. He made me feel like I wasn’t capable of doing a lot of things. That I couldn’t communicate, that I wasn’t strong enough and didn’t think enough. Over time I began to believe these things and thought I was stupid and worthless. I began to feel like my redeeming qualities ended at my looks. It didn’t matter so much that other people in my life would compliment me and tell me I was smart or that I was strong. His voice was the one that I heard on a daily basis. As our relationship fell apart I started hearing the voices of other people and over time my self-image has changed.
My current self-image is the opposite of what it was 5 years ago. Since I have become single and have met many new friends the things I hear tell me I am smart, I am strong, I am more than capable. I have never felt better about my abilities in life and being able to do what I want to do. It’s wonderful to have confidence. It’s also wonderful to listen to several voices and not just one. I know deep down what I think is what really matters but we all soak in what we hear on a regular basis.
Despite these praises about my abilities I no longer hear on a regular basis that I am attractive. No one tells me I’m ugly or fat but I am seeing my looks go downhill. I’m getting older and it’s starting to show. I am also getting fatter which I hate admitting and am not happy with. This past winter along with last winter I have gained weight. I have a hard time losing any weight I gain. It tends to stick around. I am unhappy with my body. It’s strong and underneath the fat I have a decent amount of muscle. I just don’t like the layer covering the muscle.
So what am I going to do about my image of my body? Well, I can’t do much about getting old but can do things to age gracefully. Mainly, I don’t like the fact that I feel fat. I need to cut down on my calories, particularly ones that are “empty” calories such as beer. So I am going to work on my body. I exercise and in general what I eat is healthy but my portions are oftentimes too big and my beer intake definitely does not help. So I’m going to work on my portions and limit my beer. I need to set goals and rules for myself to push myself to lose weight and give myself a better self-image. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.
Here’s to eating less, drinking less and loving myself more.