I hear a lot of voices in my head about self-esteem.
There is the voice of my past, the voice that tells me I have to earn my self-esteem, and that it's not ever okay to stop trying to win other people's love and respect, but it's also not okay to brag or show off. I think that message was unintentionally transmitted, but it still sunk in.
There is the sweeping "You Go Girl!" message that seems to be everywhere lately, that tells me I should always love myself, every minute, just for being me!!! It feels annoying and insincere. I want to honor and acknowledge all of my feelings, even those that tell me I have fallen short (if I really have). I don't want to be comforted for every passing feeling. I don't want a ninth-place ribbon. I want to learn from my mistakes and move forward. Even the cheeriest person on earth has her moments of self-doubt, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
At the same time, I read Vickie's post about The Dreadful PJs with horror. I cringe at the post she linked from Munchberry's blog where Munchberry calls herself "oinkette." I don't agree with weight-loss tips that say you should post "fat" pictures on your fridge or buy a cookie jar that oinks when you open it. Those tips may work for people with stronger self-images than me, but I know that if I talk to myself that way, I will believe it and treat myself accordingly. Bring on the jumbo-sized bags of tortilla chips, and don't forget the queso! If I'm fat and ugly, I might as well eat.
I think the key is not trying to use rah-rah self-talk to bring me to a mushy love affair with me or harsh self-criticism designed to whip me into shape. Karen put it beautifully in her post about lovingly parenting herself. "I am still proud of myself, and I also see that there is room for improvement." Her experience at Green Mountain Fox Run sounds like the perfect tutorial on self-care:
While there all my meals were prepared for me using wonderful whole foods that I love (I filled out a form and checked off foods I don’t like and if the chefs planned a meal with those foods, they prepared something special for me so I wasn’t forced to choose between eat food I don’t like or going hungry), and all meals were balanced according to sound nutritional guidelines. The food was delicious, filling, and satisfying in every way.
I ate every meal at a table with up to three other women. I ate at set times: breakfast at 8 a.m., lunch at noon, snack time at 3:30 p.m., and dinner at 6 p.m. There was an hour set aside for each meal (and half an hour for a snack), so the schedule had a little wiggle room. If I showed up 15 minutes after the meal had begun, that was fine.
There was also healthy, fun activity included as part of the process., all in a beautiful environment. I would love to win the trip to practice that kind of self-care. I already have an idea of how a person with a healthy body image would feel and act, but I'd love a little head start.
For today, I'm going to wear my pretty red bra and try to live the way a confident, happy me would act. Have a happy day and be good to yourself.