Home > Achievement and Perfectionism, Food and Weight > Does This Thought Make Me Look Fat?

Does This Thought Make Me Look Fat?

When we focus on the areas of our bodies that we are least satisfied with, we are chasing disappointment. For me, chasing disappointment means fixating with laser-like focus on my thighs and ignoring the rest of my body and being. Even people we consider the paragons of beauty and confidence find fault with themselves (Kate Winslet has been quoted as saying “I am going to start loving my backside.”). As long as we live in the world of form –the material world– and inhabit physical bodies, we will never discover perfection. Ever. My teacher, Martha Beck, illustrated the conundrum inherent in pursuing perfection brilliantly when she asked one of her students to “find the perfect stick.” What is the perfect stick? for what purpose? Ask ten different people, get ten different answers. Who gets to decide what the perfect thigh or backside looks like? Well, you do. This is great news if you are an enlightened, self-realized individual who sees the perfection inherent in your fundamental being, but if you’re anything like me, then you have at least one feature or quality that draws out your less evolved tendency to criticize.

If you insist on hosting a scavenger hunt of your features and qualities, I suggest you seek out the best in yourself. I’m not suggesting repeating a bunch of positive affirmations–not right off the bat, anyway, that’s way too advanced. Without first getting rid of the nasty beliefs you have about yourself (and if you are beating yourself up over any part of you, you hold nasty beliefs about yourself), positive affirmations are just platitudes that will, at best, annoy the crap out of you, or worse, reinforce your limiting beliefs. The good news is that those limiting beliefs are full-blown lies. This is how you know: a lie feels like imprisonment, the truth feels like freedom. When you concentrate on your least favorite feature, what are you thinking? Do you feel free?  If you answered no, please keep reading. . .

The first step in ridding yourself of a painful belief system is identifying the thoughts that feed it. This can be tricky as you are most likely telling yourself the same dreck over and over again with little to no awareness. Pay attention to your self-talk. Are you kind to yourself? Or do you talk down to and criticize yourself? Self-talk is just a thought. We get to choose whether we buy into it or not. If it’s a good feeling thought, keep it. If you find a stressful thought, question it. One of my favorite tools for taking a painful thought to task is called The Work and it was created by another one of my fabulous teachers, Byron Katie. She provides free instructions and examples to anyone interested in learning this tool on her website.

Once you are free from the torment of your limiting beliefs about your body and being, you can move on to discovering and celebrating the best within and without you. You can take the focus away from what you lack and fear and put your attention on the abundance of what you have and love. When I do this, I am always happy to discover just how many fine qualities I actually possess (physically, mentally and spiritually)–I just have to stop thigh-gazing long enough to notice them. I also discover that I can choose to make improvements to features I find less fabulous, which is very different from (and far more empowering than) complaining about them. I encourage you to seek out your finest qualities, too. Start a list and keep adding to it. No feature or attribute is too trivial to note. If you have a sexy voice, sweet dimple or elegant pinky-toe, put it on the list. You’re witty? Write it down. Keep adding to the list and before you know it, you will have accumulated a mountain of evidence to support the fact that you are an amazing individual with unique gifts, talents and, yes, gorgeous features. The sooner you discover this, the sooner you can put all these fine qualities to good use and share them with the world at large.

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  1. October 4, 2009 at 12:07 am

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