“It’s not what’s on the outside that counts. It’s what’s on the inside that matters.”
How often have you heard this in your life? It’s one of the most common sayings, but why don’t you believe it? Why do you let your wrinkles, thigh dimples, or muffin top take control of your mind? We let these trivial things take over how we live our lives, adding a considerable amount of stress and time to our daily routines.
We try so hard to be like what we see in the movies, on TV, in magazines or on social media. Now more than ever, we are told we need to look a certain way and this just makes us hyper-focus on what we can do to change our outer appearance.
Something I’m so grateful for these days is the Body Confidence or Body Positivity Movement. It may have started with Dove and the campaign for real beauty in the early 2000s, but now it is an outright movement, one that I’m so proud of and that I want to push forward.
Why do I want to push it forward? Because in clinical practice I’ve seen people that are dealing with devastating diseases, some that are terminal, yet they are still hyper-focused on their weight or their physical imperfections! How can this be?
Superficial Beauty Does Not Equal Happiness
The reality is this is the norm and not the exception. I remember my mother feeling the same way. My sister, my friends, me too. Over time, I’ve come to realize that all this pressure builds up an internal stressor so huge in our bodies, like a kettle about to boil over, and it only causes harm to our body, mind, and soul.
The thing is, no one is ever happier once they achieve their superficial ‘goals’, because you just program yourself to want more of that ‘perfection’, and we experience symptoms of internal unrest, stress, and need for a change.
At the end of the day, when you really analyze your values and what you want in this life, how you look in your body is irrelevant. It is simply the vessel for your spirit, soul, consciousness… whatever you want to call it. Many patients who are dying finally understand this, but it’s too late.
The damage has been done, the guilt, the stress, the internal unrest, not only makes us feel anxious but it also makes us sick. Our bodies will keep on bringing up signs and symptoms, trying to give you a wake-up call. Until you do, it’ll just keep on trying to remind you.
Messages From Your Body
Symptoms are like little cries for help or love letters from your body. They show up when your body or mind is in a state of unrest and imbalance, in hopes of snapping you out of these negative habits.
The following are some common symptoms that your insides are struggling:
- Central weight gain
- Excessive cellulite
- Dark circles under your eyes
- Blotchy complexion
- Stronger appearance of stretch marks
- Aging faster
And so many more.
What’s super interesting to me is that the way you look on the outside and the things that you are trying to fight, really are impacted by what you think and feel on the inside.
So change your mind and your thoughts, and do things differently moving forward. It’s easier than you think, it just takes repetition and practice.
How to Become More Comfortable in Your Skin
So here’s what I propose to help mold your mindset into a positive, nurturing environment for your body, mind, and soul.
1. Stimulus in Your Surroundings
Start surrounding yourself with more of what you want. Body confidence. I love Instagram for this because visual images are so powerful. Follow influencing leaders who make you feel good in your own skin. A few of my favorite people to follow are @thebirdspapaya, @yovana, @kenziebrenna, @iamtulin and @mikzazon, check them out – their content is incredibly real, authentic, and no bullsh*t about learning to love your beautiful body.
The more you listen to their stories and how they work every day to love themselves wholly from the inside out will change the way you think about yourself.
2. Do Mirror Work
This was popularized by the great Louise Hay. You simply look in the mirror and tell yourself you love yourself. You do this EVERY day, in EVERY single mirror you pass by.
The hardest part about this is the first little while because for so many years you have been looking in the mirror and saying something negative about yourself, nit-picking every little thing that you want to change. So trust me on this one, it will take practice. Saying it out loud to yourself will be difficult at first but it is so effective and YOU are SO worth it.
My first time, I bawled my eyes out as I started to say it and I couldn’t get it out. Imagine, I couldn’t tell myself that I loved myself. Gosh, this brings up tears and tingles all over my body. But I promise you, if you commit to it, it will get better.
If this is too hard for you, the other option is to stick little notes everywhere that say ‘I love you’. In the glove compartment or visor in your car, in your office drawers, or in your closet when you get dressed in the morning.
3. Stress-Savvy Balance
We have to get the stress down in our system so that we keep moving in a forward motion (instead of bouncing back into your old way of being). Stress and anxiety will whip you back into old habits so quick you won’t even know what happened.
Whatever you do to build a strong stress response, make sure it is practiced regularly. Some people pray, do yoga, meditate… these are all excellent practices to get into. For me, my favorite is my castor oil pack because it stimulates feel-good hormones like oxytocin (just like when you’re given a big hug) plus it helps me sleep well, poop well, and reduces bloating and anxiety. It’s the foundational practice for the health of my mind, body, and soul, and it’s the first thing I recommend to all of my patients too.
The Power in Your Thoughts and Words
Stay present; focus on the here and now as much as possible. Being mindful will work wonders on cultivating a positive mental and physical state. Remember most of all, this life is a JOURNEY of self-discovery, not a destination.
It takes practice, time, love and gratitude to build confidence in yourself and truly realize that when you love yourself, others will love you too and it doesn’t matter how your outer appearance looks.
Make it your mantra, and every time someone notices how great you look or asks you what you’re doing and why, always reply with conviction in your words.
Don’t say the typical, “I’ve got more work to do”, or “I’m on a diet”, etc… Say this instead, “Thanks, I do look good because I work hard to feel good on the inside.” Because there is power in your words and every word you say, your mind hears, and these words become engraved into commands. Looking good is just a side benefit to feeling good on the inside and thinking good thoughts about yourself!
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