Ever dread putting on a bathing suit? Have a hard time relaxing on vacation because you just know you’ll hate doing the bikini thing? If this is you, read on…..
“Why are you so sensitive”?
This is what my husband said when we were on holiday in Jamaica because I wasn’t acting like myself.
I was accusing him of ignoring me. At one point I sat by myself and watched as he played a game on the beach. It seemed he was having fun without me.
I felt sorry for myself.
My low point was when I said, “you hate me don’t you.”
Why was I doing this?
I was trying to find a way to blame my husband for how I was feeling. I was hating wearing my bathing suit and hating my body. I desperately wished to be skinnier.
I have a history of body image issues. I’m healing from years of body hatred and sometimes these old wounds surface. My thoughts, “I’m fat,” “I look terrible in a bathing suit,” “I’m not good enough for my husband” turned up and nearly ruined our vacation.
The whole scene triggered me — the beach, bathing suit, “hot” bodies, sand, sunscreen — all of it. It took me back to the dark place of negative self-talk and body hatred.
I’ve since realized, living inside my head is dangerous.
“Living inside your head is dangerous. This is where your saboteurs are triggered, and that is when your internal enemies come to light, habitual mind patterns creep in, and negative self-talk takes over.”
As far as body image goes, I’ve realized how much I’ve relied on my brain and my patterned enemies of body hatred. And these saboteurs reeked havoc on my personal relationships and negatively impacted “good times.”
Suzanne Lachmann, Psy. D, says in her article, 10 Ways Low Self-Esteem Affects Women in Relationships, she discusses how women tend to act in relationships when their self-esteem is low. She goes on to say,
“these insecurities guide your emotions and actions.”
When we were in Jamaica, I felt insecure wearing a suit which negatively guided my feelings and actions, which were destructive to our vacation and our relationship.
This visceral reaction to my bathing suit ruined holidays. This same scenario would play out, and I’d pick a fight. However, THIS time, I was able to catch myself. And realized what I was doing when my husband lovingly said, “why are you so sensitive this weekend.”
If you struggle with insecurities about your body, and you’ve experienced similar situations, and would like to find a better way — here are some suggestions that can help get you through times like this:
- Slow down. Slow down and ask yourself what’s up. If you do not feel like yourself, find out why. But do this gently. I’ve historically done this, but the question would be, “What the f%$# is wrong with you”?! Try instead to speak to yourself like you would your spouse, child, mother, or friend. You wouldn’t talk harshly to your loved ones so do not do this to yourself. Instead try, “hey, you don’t seem yourself, what’s up? Everything okay”?
- Journal. Has anyone ever asked you, “What’s wrong”? and you respond with, “nothin’.” Ya, I know — I’ve done this a million times. And guess what? Holding it all in does no good. It pushes feelings down and allows them to fester. Then, when the moment strikes you juuuuuust right, you explode. And whoever is in your way “gets it.” For whatever reason, it’s hard to express what’s on our minds. We fear judgment — even from ourselves. So, sit down in the morning and write out how you are feeling. Put it ALL on the page. Journaling will help you work through things and get them “off your chest.” It’s amazing how much this helps. It’s like you are telling someone, but there’s no judgment, and it feels much better to get rid of what’s festering.
- Do something for yourself. When you are in the midst of body hate, it’s difficult to give yourself love. Isn’t crazy to think the hardest person to love is ourselves? We take care of our spouses, our parents, our children, our friends and ignore the very person who needs love the most. It’s taken me a long time to realize I need love from me and not just from other people. So, when I figured out what was bothering me in Jamaica, I woke the next morning and moved my body gently. I swam in the ocean around 7 a.m, which was invigorating. When you do something like this, try to connect with yourself and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Is it refreshing? Soothing? For me, the swim was a great way to show myself love. Not only did it feel amazing, it was great to swim in crystal blue water. This whole experience was exactly what I needed. Again, do not treat yourself poorly in these situations because you’ll need kindness. Do things that are gentle and loving.
- Reconcile your feelings. When you are in a better place — take a moment to recognize how you felt and forgive yourself for it. Admittedly, I was pretty upset at myself. I thought, “after all the work I’ve done to love my body and be free of dieting, there’s still wounds”? So when I returned home, I needed to forgive myself and reconcile the feelings. The morning after we were home, I busted out my journal and went to town. I wrote down everything. Then I meditated on what happened and asked for forgiveness. I told myself it was okay and this was going to happen. I reminded myself how little control I have over moments like Jamaica. I repeated to myself, “it’s okay, it’s okay.” We tend to be harsher on ourselves than anyone else. It’s important to admit how we feel, then forgive and move on. Another way to go about reconciliation is to talk to someone. However, I recommend being careful with this approach because it has to be someone who can listen and not judge or give out advice. At times like this, sometimes talking can feel worse. Be careful with sharing. This is another reason for the journal. There is no one to judge you or make you feel even worse than you did before you started. So, when you have a moment, take at least five minutes and reconcile with yourself how you felt.
- Be grateful. I’ve figured out the one way to get back to center with self-love is to spend time in gratitude. Take ten to fifteen minutes and consider what your body does for you. How much it’s carried you through life and be thankful for it. All too often we come down on ourselves. We tell our body it’s not good enough. Not hot enough. Not skinny enough. But we don’t take the time to thank it for all it’s done for us. I think of my body as a precious gift. I think of her as my baby. I even call her “she” instead of “it.” And I go out of my way to thank her for all she’s done for me. She’s allowed me to run marathons, participate in triathlons; she’s traveled me to cool places around the world, she helps me feel the warm embrace from my husband — she does a lot. Think about it this way; you can’t take care of something you hate. So, try loving your body and be thankful for her.
This journey to positive body image and self-love is not a perfect road. There will be bumps, turns, and corners — all of which you won’t see coming. If you’ve ever had a similar experience and would like to learn more about living life free of dieting and negative self-talk about your body, please visit my website at www.melissacoloton.com and sign up for my free guide on never dieting again. And if you’d like to talk about what you’ve experienced or are experiencing, schedule some time to talk with me. I’d love to hear what’s going on with you.