As a mom, do you ever feel like you have two inner voices when it comes to your body image?
As I stand in front of the mirror, I imagine my hype girl on one shoulder and my Debbie Downer on the other.
Here’s what I hear:
My hype girl — let’s call her Lizzo (because who doesn’t feel like a bada** listening to her messages?), she shows up when I am rockin’ those favorite pants, when I am feeling sexy and comfortable. She builds me up and recognizes the work and determination I have put into my fitness and mental health goals. She says things like:
“Dang girl, look at you!”
“Five babies, no way! You don’t like a year older than 26!”
“Love those tiger stripes, Mama, they are a badge of honor.”
The downer, party wrecker — let’s call her Karen, because we all know what a “Karen” looks and sounds like. She interrupts us and wrecks the vibe, everyone is drained when they have an encounter with her. She says things like:
“Clearly those workouts aren’t doing enough.”
“Not surprised that those shorts are too tight on your thighs; remember that pizza you had yesterday?”
“If you want to look good, you have to work harder, do more — it’s still not enough.”
I sat looking in the mirror at myself the other day, hearing both Karen and Lizzo simultaneously. But why does the negative voice tend to be louder? Why can’t I just be happy about my body and stay happy?
I tend to be a pretty confident person, body wise. I embrace my thick thighs and back side. I know that genetics have been kind to me and I can only hope to look half as good as my mother in 25 years.
And I tell my friends all the time to embrace their soft tummies and tiger stripes. We text back and forth saying things like, “Screw it, I’m wearing a bikini, if people don’t like it, don’t look.”
But then when I’m alone, in front of my mirror, Karen creeps in louder, drowning out the positive thoughts, and sometimes I start hating my body again.
“Things were so much easier five years ago, two babies ago.”
“If only I just could get rid of this, lift this, I would never complain.”
“If I really want results, I’ve got to do more, work harder, I’m still too lazy.”
And I ask myself, how I let myself get sucked in to self-doubt and negative thinking once again?
How can I text my friends with so much self-assurance, and then turn around and doubt if I can, in fact, wear that bikini with confidence?
Feeling Like a Fraud
I feel like an imposter, a liar, and a coward. I want Karen to go away and all I want is to hear the sweet praises of Lizzo in my ear all the time, but that’s just not how it works.
Truly at the end of the day I just hope I’m not alone. I hope I am not the only one who exudes confidence and uplifting words to others regarding self-image, but then in private judges the hell out of themselves at times.
No matter how our bodies look, I want us all to find ways to overcome the negative self-talk. To focus on the positive in order to motivate ourselves to reach our goals, physical or otherwise.
Loving ourselves and loving our bodies evolves over time. Some times it’s easier to love ourselves than at other times.
And I want others to know they are not alone. That in public and in front of friends we can feel comfortable in our skin, and acknowledge that in private it isn’t always that way.
Know that you are not alone in your journey to self-love and appreciation, we are all a work in progress.