Happy 2017 friends! I hope that you had an amazing New Year’s Eve/Day and are ready to tackle the new year. Continue reading
“Hey! You have a nice butt!”
I was walking to the store on a Friday afternoon, not really paying attention to the people around me.
“You in the purple shirt! Nice butt!”
That caught my attention. I was wearing a purple shirt. I turned towards the voice, expecting some guy to be standing there and was shocked to see a boy. A boy that couldn’t have been more than 12 maybe 13 or 14 if we’re pushing it. He was surrounded by 3 or 4 of his friends and they were all snickering as he gave me a thumbs up and then raced off to do something else.
I didn’t think much of it because sadly, this isn’t the first time that someone, usually a male, has felt the need to audibly comment on some part of my body. But as I walked on I started thinking, “Why is a boy that young talking about my butt?”
Probably a million reasons. His friends were egging him on, he sees it in the media all the time, he’s watched other boys/men do it in real life, he really like butts, he has no filter from his brain to his mouth… The list could go on and on. And it’s a sad list. It’s sad that this is what both women and men have been reduced to.
Think about it. Everything is aimed at certain aspects of a person but never the whole person. Magazines tout the latest workout for sexy abs or the newest diet for lean thighs or what you need to do to get bulging biceps. We look at celebrities and covet certain body parts. I wish I had Jennifer Lopez’s butt or Taylor Swifts abs or Heidi Klum’s legs. If I was as ripped as Chris Evans or Ryan Reynolds, all the ladies would want me.
We, me included, always pick and nag at our “worst” attributes. I want my stomach to be flatter. Everything I do needs to be working towards getting a flatter stomach. We never take the time to look at a body as a whole machine. Something that works together with all the parts to be one awesome mechanism. It’s always about the one part that doesn’t work or look the way we want it to.
I am not my butt. I am not my abs. I am not my arms, thighs, or chin. I am Katie, a human person that is so much more than any one part of me. And so are you. Everyone is more than just a body part and all of us need to start seeing that. To look at people as a whole. To drop the nitpicking over our one flaw.
That woman walking down the street is not a giant pair of legs.
That man sitting next to you isn’t a huge abdominal.
They are whole humans and they deserve to be treated that way. So start by treating your own body as a whole being and then spread that idea to the other people you meet. Maybe, we can start making a difference.
We have all probably heard at some point in our life that we should think positively, especially about ourselves. Browse around on Pinterest and you will see thousands of pins that have sayings like “BeYOUtiful” and “You are your harshest critic” and “Hey, stop being mean to yourself”. Ok, maybe not the last one but you get the idea.
The thing is we know we should be kind to ourselves, we just have a really hard time doing it. It’s easy to critique our own body’s, habits, and personalities. We’re used to being kind to others but don’t really know what to do when it comes to us.
That’s why self-affirmations were made.
Ok, that’s also probably not true but someone along the way that in order to be kinder to ourselves we should actually talk positively to ourselves. Like actually out loud say nice things about us. Stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom and say things like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” By doing this every day, you’ll learn to love yourself and be kinder to your body. Those of you rolling your eyes at me right now, don’t worry I’m with you.
Or, at least, I was.
Self-affirmations sounded like a load of self-help hogwash. Something that sounds good on paper and in books but doesn’t really work. How is standing in front of the mirror every day (something I already don’t like doing) and talking out loud like a lunatic going to really help me like myself more? But I also thought what have I got to lose? If it doesn’t work no skin off my nose. It’s not like I had to make these affirmations out loud in front of a crowd so I started talking nice to myself.
I didn’t choose hokey phrases that meant nothing to me, but rather I would look at myself and make a conscious effort to say something I truly liked about my body/life/personality.
“Good morning Katie, your eyes look really green and bright today. Lots of people would really like to have your green eyes.”
“Hey there Kate, you just squatted more weight than you have before and I can tell your legs are stronger than ever. Nice work!”
“That dinner you made from scratch last night really hit the spot and it’s awesome that you can come up with flavor combinations like that all on your own now. Keep up the good work!”
Sure, I felt silly at first but then a funny thing started happening. I started to believe my affirmations. I was getting stronger, my recipes were coming to me easier, there are certain features of my face and body that are absolutely beautiful. And these feelings started to flow into other parts of my life. I felt more confident and believed I could do anything I wanted. I started complimenting other people because I knew just like me they were awesome.
Moral of the story? Sometimes things that sound silly and hokey can really help you out. If you’ve never tried self-affirmations, give it a go. Will it feel awkward and weird? You bet. Especially if your husband knocks on the bathroom door and asks if you’re talking to one of the cats and you tell him no, just yourself…. but as time goes on it will fell less and less weird and more natural. It will start to show that you think highly of yourself and you should always think highly of yourself.
Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!
There was a time when I was an expert at doing nothing. I could spend weekends sitting in my room on my computer looking at nothing with the TV on in the background watching nothing. I could lay in bed for a whole day with nothing to occupy my time. At times, nothing dominated my life.
In recent years that has changed, partly because I started to make an effort to try and do something with my time. I was tired of wasting my life away on nothing. I realized the joy and fulfillment there was to be had by accomplishing things. It felt good to cross a task off my list or add a new talent to my repertoire. As much as I had liked being lazy and letting nothing take over, I liked having something dominate my time much better.
For awhile this attitude served me well. I was doing a lot of good. I excelled in my classes, I added new and healthy habits like exercising and eating well, and I was focused on helping others and not just serving myself. But soon a trade off happened. I started to feel guilty if I wasn’t always doing something or on the go. I feared slipping back into my lazy routine and worried about nothing creeping back into my life. I didn’t want to go back to being the lump in front of my computer or TV.
So I kept on doing something.
Even if that something was just standing up and pacing back and forth, I made sure I was involved. I made sure that nothing never occupied my time again. And you know what?
I got tired.
Go figure. If you’re always on the move and never resting you’re going to get tired. I seemed to think that I was the energizer bunny and could keep going and going. I let my fear of my life and habits of my past control my actions in the present. It was another time that I needed to learn about balance. You can’t just jump from one extreme to the next. You shouldn’t be well versed in the art of nothing, but you can’t be the master of the art of everything for long without burning out.
It’s ok to sit on the couch and relax for a few hours.
It’s ok to go for a long run in the middle of the week.
It’s ok to enjoy a book in your favorite chair for an afternoon.
It’s ok to kill a really tough strength workout.
All of these things make up a balanced life and that makes up a healthy life too. Don’t let one side of the scale dictate your life. It’s not an easy job and it’s something that I still struggle with daily. I have to tell myself to take a break, to sit down and relax. I don’t have to always be on the go.
Whether you struggle with doing too much or not doing enough, focus on taking small steps to find the right balance. You won’t always succeed and there will be days that you will have to pick yourself up and start over again. That’s what being human is about. Trust yourself enough to know that you are doing your best and next time you will do better.