I hope everybody had a great Easter. I sure did. Morning outdoor church service with my husband’s church, then a super nap! Afterward, a get together with our big Colorado family. When I was getting ready to go to service in the morning, taking a shower, getting dressed and brushing my teeth, I couldn’t pull away from the bathroom mirror. I hate brushing my teeth lately. Why? Because when I get closer to that mirror I can see my gray hairs, and they are not just fifty hairs. They are there, vibrant and full of energy; sometimes I wish I had that kind of attitude that my gray hairs have every morning. They are always ready to be up and visible.
All of this thinking brings me to my self-image issues. Does everybody have self-image issues? Or just a few people? It looks like we never finish with this subject. I remember being a kid: I never felt pretty. In my country I guess I was an average-looking girl. For sure there were prettier girls and uglier than me. But where did all this start I wonder sometimes. I noticed from an early age that the prettier girls were those that were whiter and had light-colored hair. I always saw the people around me trying to look better than the way they were created. I should have that in me, right? But no, my TrueSelf was so stubborn that as soon as people started telling me I should wear makeup or dress one way or another, I would do whatever I wanted.
When I was a teenager, I remember people telling me that I should wear makeup so I could find a boyfriend, and it bothered me so much. One time I couldn’t help it and answered: “So do you want me to wear makeup so I can get pregnant like your daughter?” I know it was not my best answer, but back then I really did not understand why people were so hooked on that. I saw that everywhere people with purple lips had to paint their lips so they wouldn’t look so purple. People that had small eye lashes had to wear mascara so they could look better. It became so bad that sometimes I saw people not sun bathing just because they could get darker. And what about having the perfect size and weight? That is a whole new world!
The mixed messages we have received for so long are scary. When I was a kid (and I am not talking just about me), I know many people have felt this way. I had to eat all my food. I remember being hours at the table until I finished; we could not put it in the trash because of the poor people in Africa. You could not disappoint your parents, so guess what we did? We ate everything, and when we did, we were praised, and it felt good and in a way we felt loved. During the teen years, we kept eating everything, right? But our bodies burn so many calories that everything looked great, until of course you become an adult and realize that you just eat because you have to and that you stopped listening to your body a long, long time ago.
I remember I was not overweight, but I had a big butt, at least that is what some people would tell me. And I really don’t know why we always had to focus on what was big or different. It was annoying, but then people wonder why there are so many eating disorders around. Not always have my skinny friends been healthy, but it didn’t matter; they looked amazing.
I consider myself a confident person in many ways, but I still have self-image issues. But of course, as life always surprises you, it sends all these experiences to see what you do with them. So here I was at 8 years old trying to look my best wearing clothes I did not want, with my white socks that had to have a flower and my shiny black shoes because that was what was expected. At the age of 11, I had scoliosis so I had to wear this brace in my back for a long time. Oh, that was great! How the hell was I going to hide that? And that started my new nickname in school: Roboteck. At age 15, I had crooked teeth, so I had to wear braces for a long time. At age 20, I thought my nose was too big, so I had a nose job. Oh crap, that was painful! After all these physical changes, I felt more confident.
It is amazing how appearances are so important that many of us are willing to go beyond pain and money. It also amazes me that in spite of being aware of how all this focus on the physical can be harmful that we still do it instead of focusing on the mental and emotional. Maybe if we would change our perceptions, we would not have so many mental issues. But guess what, it amazes me even more that I find myself doing the same that society did to me, to my son and my husband! That sounded very victimizing, right? But you know what I am trying to say, I hope. LOL. So my conclusion is that I do it for love, so that means everybody does it for love. Who knows if that is true?
I can lie to myself many times telling myself that I look great, I am beautiful, I am at my perfect weight. But then reality hits me when I brush my crooked teeth and I see my fifty hairs of gray saying good morning to me, or I put my jeans on and all of a sudden I realize my size pants are double digits. How the hell does that happen? I just put my scale away, tired of this bullshit. That was my last conversation with her, the scale. When I have been in my pity party, I even thought people probably did not like me because I was not as thin and tall as they were.
So what happened when I dated my husband? This is the funny part; he also grew up not feeling handsome. I saw him handsome and he saw me beautiful, perfect match! But the past haunted me a couple of times, and I asked to myself why he felt attracted to me. He is white and I am brown, and I built up all these stories in my head. Thank goodness for awareness and knowing that those thoughts are just temporary.
So, how do I coach people in their life issues if I also have those issues? I think we have put on a pedestal so many people, actors and actresses, leaders, therapists, teachers and our own friends. In order to help we need to show up in the world as us, as I call it our TrueSelf. I am not saying I have to dress terribly and not cut my toenails or have awful hair. But what I am saying is let’s share our stories, let’s tell others that how they are feeling is okay and that it is normal and not always are we all well put together.
Being a parent now, I have to put my own breaks not to pass those limiting beliefs to my young son. I actually talk to him about what I used to believe and how wrong I was. I love the way he loves that he has brown skin and that his mom has an accent and how his orthodontist tell him: “You have big beautiful teeth.” Isn’t that amazing? How about if we all focus on positive feedback?!
The more connected I am to my TrueSelf, the less I care about what others think or see in me. At the end that is their perspective, not my reality, which is also my own perspective. With Life Coaching not only have I helped others, but doing so has helped me too. It is a constant practice to love yourself the way you are, to accept who you are and also to accept that there are things that you are not ready to change yet, but awareness is the key.
All I can say today is that my fifty hairs of gray need to be dyed and that I accept I am not ready yet to have white hair. LOL! If you are looking for a great person to care for your hair here in Colorado, please contact Hair by Osmyr. She does not only use great products but also has great prices. Here is her info:www.facebook.com/HairByOsmyr/.
Accept yourself the way you are and the way you are not!