My name is Fiona, I am 56 years old and I still look my age!
There, I wrote it down again and it still feels good!
This is the second in a series of blogs where I am sharing what “looking my age” means to me and why it is definitely not about “letting myself go” or “giving up”!
This is the one about acceptance and confidence.
Acceptance of who I am and being comfortable with that!
Confidence in “loving the skin I am in” and being proud of the woman I am. Looking my age.
How do you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror?
A few years ago, if someone had asked me that question, I would have struggled to answer it in a positive manner.
Now, I love the person that looks back at me – this is not through vanity, it’s through acceptance and love.
How did this change?
“You have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise Hay
We are continuously being told how we should love ourselves and our bodies, and at the same time we are being bombarded with subliminal messages everywhere, online, on television, in the press, telling us we are not good enough.
It’s no surprise that all around us we hear people criticise their bodies consistently.
Telling themselves they can’t wear this or that, because their arms are too skinny or their thighs are too fat. That they need to have a beach body to wear a bikini or a swimming suit.
I know these stories very well, and I am well versed in telling these tales – they were my repertoire for far too long!
Over the years, I have suffered from being overly critical about my body, my looks, my face, my skin – everything about myself really. I am pretty sure we have all been guilty of doing this to some extent if we are absolutely honest with ourselves.
And I had a Masters Degree in comparison – my insecurities about how I looked, acted, believed were fueled by my obsession with how much better other people appeared!
The thing is, somewhere along the line I realised I was wasting my time and energy criticising how I looked and comparing myself.
The irony about all of this, and I wish I realised this years ago, is that somewhere, someone else is looking at you wishing they had your hair, legs, teeth etc… It’s a crazy world!
Why are we constantly wishing for something someone else has instead of appreciating our own body for what it is and what it has been through?
When I started to stop obsessing over what was ‘wrong’ with my body, and started being obsessed with learning to love and embrace the skin I am in, everything changed!
To me “to love the skin you’re in” means complete acceptance of your body whatever size, shape or form it is. Loving the skin you’re in means liberation from whatever insecurities are holding you back.
This is a life-long journey. Body confidence is not just something we decide to have when we wake up one morning, and suddenly we are in love with ourselves and our bodies.
Going out shopping for new clothes will help you feel empowered and inspired, and in the long term it won’t change how you feel about yourself unless you do the inner work.
To do this inner work, I looked to Louise Hay, who in turn told me to look in the mirror!
In her book “Mirror Work”, Louise takes you through a 21 day practice which is designed to cultivate self-compassion. I highly recommend it – it is not one of those “get it in 21 days programme”, it is taking time to plant seeds and these seeds, if you continue to nurture them will develop into new healthy habits that will open the door to acceptance of you!
It is quite an emotional journey. Well, it was for me. For those who know me well, you will laugh and say, any excuse to be greetin’ Fiona! (Crying for those non-Scots reading)
There were emotional tears most days as I completed the daily tasks and as the days went on, they became tears of relief and tears of joy!
Talking to yourself in the mirror becomes kind of addictive. It’s habit for me now and I can’t help but smile to myself when I look at my reflection. Sometimes I even laugh out loud, I don’t cry when I look in the mirror anymore! Well, ok, maybe sometimes!
It is working for me! My garden of acceptance is blooming with the care and attention I am giving it!
Here are 3 ways that help me to continuously cultivate body acceptance.
I love myself where I am right now
Stop waiting for the right moment, it doesn’t exist. Whether it is losing weight or being fitter, there really is no better moment than right now to fully embrace and accept your body.
We are constantly living for something that hasn’t happened yet, instead of embracing the moment and accepting our bodies as they are.
When we are able to live in the moment and accept our bodies we become more present, we feel more gratitude for our body and all it does for us.
To help me with this, I have some simple ‘body love’ goals:
I do my weights workout three mornings a week
I moisturise with lovely body cream every morning when I come out of the shower
I carry out my skincare regime for my face morning and night
These small, actionable goals are not only ways to be kind and loving to my body, they help me to fully appreciate myself, as I am, right now.
Give gratitude to your body
Be grateful for all your body does for you, instead of focusing on what is wrong with it – energy flows where attention goes!
You can write these out in a journal if this suits you and look back at them – it works for me – I often repeat them out loud too!
These are the ones I have written this week as an example!
I appreciate my legs as they help me lift my heavy barbell
I appreciate my body and how it helps me do my work
I lovingly accept that my body is helping me achieve my goals
Recognise and appreciate your inner beauty
We can become so obsessed with beauty and how we look on the outside that we forget our inner beauty, which is actually the most important part of ourselves. Our true essence!
Here are 3 things I do on a daily basis to help cultivate my inner beauty.
I love to journal and do it most days and in that I include things that I love about myself:
This morning I wrote:
I love my generous heart
I love that I smile when I think of others
I love the twinkle in my eye when I am up to something
I “Big Myself Up” in the mirror every morning!
I have a little mantra that I tell myself out loud in the mirror every morning– it helps me connect with myself and the parts of me that need to hear that positivity! And believe me, there are always parts that need it!
When I am getting ready to go out, I have another mantra that I use sometimes and other times I wing it – I never leave the mirror without doing it though!
Give it a go – its super powerful!
Stand tall. Shoulders back, open heart and chest up. Good posture helps you feel more empowered and in your body.
And one other thing, unfollow any social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself – you don’t need that unwelcome negativity in your life! It’s important to follow people who inspire you and empower you.
Learning to love the skin you’re in is probably the most important work you’ll ever do for yourself. I know it was for me and a huge contributing factor to me saying "I look my age" with pride.
Life is about growth and expansion, loving the journey and enjoying the process.
It’s time to stop trying to get somewhere, be someone else and longing for another body.
I AM ENOUGH - YOU ARE ENOUGH – WE ARE ENOUGH!
Oh, and let me tell you about that beach body ……. Get a bikini or swimming costume, put it on your body, go to the beach and have fun! You have a beach body!
Much love, Fiona x
The first blog in this series talks about my hair and how it helped me let go of the past – you can read it here