The last blog talked about body image, however, when I discuss self- acceptance I’m not just talking about body image, although we know that plays a major role. Self-acceptance is the complete, overall, whole body, mind and spiritual well-being of yourself. Have you accepted all your imperfections as they are perfected in you?
Self-acceptance is about getting real because we are the hardest judges on ourselves. Facing your fears, the negativity or challenges like the warrior woman you are will help embrace your positivity. Remember the other day when you said to your best girlfriend, “I’m not smart enough to go back to university.”
Or you said, “I will never be able to lose these twenty kilos, so why bother trying.”
That defeatist attitude is brought on by your insecurities and FEAR of failure yet when you analyse FEAR in this regard it could easily convert to the fear of accomplishment. Once those twenty kilos are gone, then what? Will the fear of keeping the weight off scare you or the fear of not finishing the university studies you started?
Real acceptance is discovering your inner strength to face these challenges and to have the clarity and peace of mind to move through each day as it comes. Allow yourself to have the power of positivity.
Small steps + small goals = self-acceptance
Every day, I scrutinised myself in the mirror, turning from front, side and back. It was a methodical process of taking account of all my ‘flaws’, like a checklist. Tick and flick – Yup, still wobbly. Yup, still saggy and dimply. Yup, my legs are still stumpy. The more I focused on these body parts the more self-conscious I became. I began hiding beneath layers of clothes, and not feeling worthy of anyone (including myself), I let myself go. Who cares, right? For years I tried to come to terms with me and for years I failed. You know why?
I WAS LOOKING IN THE WRONG PLACES.
And no, I didn’t mean the wrong mirror – the one in Supre makes me look huge but the one in Rockman’s makes me look great.
What I mean is, I was looking for answers on the outside. I was looking at my appearance and really, that was not the problem. This moment of clarity or enlightenment told me it wasn’t my physical features that were the drawback, it was something within myself causing me to feel and think I was unattractive, dumb and awkward.
Remember all those years ago (in the first blog), I mentioned an incident by the pool. That statement from my friend hit me in such a profound way I believed everybody viewed me like she did. If she thought I was fat then everyone else would so, therefore, I must be. As my active mind pondered these thoughts, I turned this minor incident into a ginormous mountain. If I’m fat, I must be ugly and dumb and unworthy and useless. Right? Wrong, no one in the history of mankind has been totally excepted by everybody, although some have come close – Princess Diana, would be my guess.
My point is there will always be ridiculers sitting on the judging pedestal casting their squinty eyes at everyone else instead of working on their own many flaws.
Beauty has been ours all along. We are beautifully flawed with our own characteristics, quirks, and abilities. So, what if that woman over there is smarter. Who cares if that woman is prettier? Why be so judgmental on ourselves and our own kind. Be grateful and proud of her. You don’t know the journey she’s been on. You can make a difference and so can she. Fist pump the air – You go girl!
Acknowledging each other’s weaknesses and strengths helps to destroy the judgmental monster inside you. Practice it daily. Compliment YOURSELF AND ANOTHER WOMAN. Accepting – there’s that word again – warts, pimples, stretch marks and all – is what makes us beautiful on the inside out.
MICHELLE HEYNEN’S STORY
Michelle is an Author, Healer and Public Speaker and this is her experience as told by her.
My Walk of Hope Through MS
On the 24th of November 2016 my life changed forever when I was told I had MS. This news initally made sense to me, it was like a missing puzzle piece had been found and I could complete a master piece and that mater piece was me.
Initially, I was not bothered by this however, this soon changed and I was not comfortable in my own skin anymore. I was afraid of public perception and who I now was and what that looked liked to people who didn’t have MS.
I became very fearful and self-conscious in public and around crowds of people, as my mind worried about what they saw when they looked at me. And that terrified me. I felt like I was judged every single time I went out in public.
Within a couple of weeks, I thought I would throw myself back into work as I did not want to let my work colleagues down and thought it would be good for me to get back to normal life again. This transition back to work did not go well and I found the judgements I had given myself other people now gave me as well.
I became subject to intense but subtle bullying on a daily basis, where I would either be made fun of due to my fatigue, as they simply did not understand how it was different for me, in comparison to for lack of a better term “normal people”. They also thought that I should be performing perfecting, like a robot, that did not make any errors.
The lack of empathy from them on how my body sometimes functioned particularly my brain blew my mind. I would be pulled into meetings on a weekly basis due to “performance issues”. I would be belittled due to the sheer fact I was working four days a week instead of five. This went on for 3 months until I had a relapse and ended in the hospital for 5 weeks.
It was then my mindset changed completely and I became totally comfortable with who I am and how life was going to be for me. This was like a big fat reality slap for me. I realised that I was trying all too hard to please everyone else and not focusing on myself and my needs. That five weeks in hospital allowed me to look inwardly quite deeply.
It was not always pretty but it was a necessary step I had to take in the healing process of being someone who had MS; Being ok with having limitations from time to time allowing people in to help including new people into my circle of trust.
I think as woman we are sometimes way too hard on ourselves and we really need to give ourselves a break and be kind.
Once I accepted the MS and how it could affect me, how my body from time to time would not be at 100% then the true beauty of me came out.
I was able to see the hidden blessings in this new challenge and how it was a gift and not a curse. One thing that the MS did for me potentially saved my life and if not for the bullying that lead to the relapse I would not have been admitted to hospital. And the doctors would not have found the lesion on my breast.
Ladies! If we are willing to do the work and really sit in the shit so to speak magic can be had and found. See the positive in all your negatives.
Thanks Michelle for your contribution, honesty and strength. She’s right you know, you have no idea what the woman sitting beside you on the bus is going through so break down your guard on your own weaknesses and positively help yourself and maybe even her.
Mindset is a powerful thing…
TO BE CONTINUED PART 3 OF A LABOUR OF LOVE
I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories and articles I feel are worth writing about.