Beautiful You

Day 3 – Beautiful You – Consider How You Feel About Yourself

Self-compassion, beautiful you, rubyetc_, rosie molinary

Sorry this post is a little late. I spent most of the day in bed then the rest on the couch.

I typically consider myself lucky with my endometriosis because I don’t have the debilitating pain many others with it suffer from. While my pain hasn’t been debilitating by any means, I haven’t felt so lucky this week. Mostly tired and uncomfortable with an ache in my lower back, pelvis (mostly on my left side), and pain while bearing down to pee (on my left side). That is where the endometriosis largely resided when I had my diagnostic surgical procedure in January 2014 and it seems things have not changed.

But anyway.

In the Day 3 entry, Rosie writes that “the Beautiful You journey is meant to help [me] enhance [my] self-awareness while boosting [my] self-esteem and sense of body satisfaction.” The question today is to help me understand where I’ve been and where I currently am so I can better understand where I want to go. You can’t get where you’re going til you know where you’ve been, right?


Today’s Question: In your “Beautiful You” journal, answer these questions. How do you feel about yourself? Why is that the case? What will a healthy sense of self and a healthy life give to you?

I feel like I constantly sell myself short. Anytime I set goals for myself, I immediately think, How long til I give up on this one?

I have an awful, life-long habit of biting my nails. It is a compulsion. I also bite the skin on my fingers – top, sides, back. I think the longest I have ever gone without biting my nails is a month, for the belly dance show in March 2011 that I mentioned in the post prior to this one.

My hands are rough, my nails are ragged, and I am embarrassed when anyone looks at my hands.

I have tried manicures. I have lotions. Nothing helps. There is just something soothing about biting my nails and the skin on my fingers.

When I drove 200 miles a week to work at my last job, all I did the entire drive to and from work was chew on my fingers and nails. If not them, the inside of my bottom lip or cheek.

Whenever I set a goal to stop biting my nails, it lasts about a day before I am making up for lost time.

The same thing happens when I makes goals to exercise, drink water, eat healthy, or other self-care goals. I immediately lose all desire to get off the couch; I drink everything but water; I dive headfirst into the bowl of leftover Halloween candy even though I feel sick and don’t even want any of it because of all of the sugar.

I sabotage myself constantly. I think of things I’d love to do then immediately decide it’s too hard. I look up jobs I might like to apply for then think there’s no way I can do that kind of work. I want to learn how to apply makeup and do different things with my hair besides just put it in a ponytail, but decide I don’t feel like doing it. I want to pay off my credit card debt and save money, but then wind up spending $100 on clothes I will probably donate within the next 6 months because I didn’t really love them and didn’t have the energy to return them.

I have a college degree and nearly two decades of admin experience and yet I am still doing entry-level work and making under $40K a year. I don’t even really like doing admin work. I like talking to people, proofreading and editing, and doing some data entry, but that’s about it.

I am nearing 40 years old and I feel like I am still in my early 20s. Not physically as my body lets me know daily that we are moving into middle age, but mentally and emotionally. I do not feel like I have my shit together and I don’t feel like I know how to.

I don’t know even know what having my shit together looks like. Is it having my debt paid off? Buying a house? Looking and being a more desirable, sexier partner to John? Having a job that pays more than $15/hour? Being well-traveled? Well-read? Knowing how invest the little bit of money I have? Knowing what shoes goes with what dress and how to do the perfect smokey eye? Being able to run a 5K in less than 30 minutes?

I feel like I was given no real sense of direction growing up except, “Okay, Amy, anything your family does or says to do, do the exact opposite.” Really, all that means is, don’t live and decide with fear as a motivator.

I felt like I couldn’t just enjoy what I enjoyed growing up. Everything was up for criticism. The fear I grew up in told me I had to earn that joy by being perfect and if I couldn’t be perfect, there was no point in even trying.

I have had more “day 1” days than I can count. I cannot tell you how many times I have just said, “Oh, fuck it. I will just start over on Monday.” Whether that is with a diet, exercise program, journaling, not biting my nails, or whatever, I am forever chasing after a blank slate. Just let me start over again, I will get it right this time.

This is exhausting and defeating. I am a pretty hopeful person and not averse to taking risks these days, but this constant self-sabotage and need for perfectionism has been brutal for me.

I am the only person holding me back. I am the one selling myself short.

What would a healthy sense of self and healthy life give me? So much.

I could set goals and be okay with myself if I veered off course from time to time because life is not linear. I could stop this back and forth of being super harsh and super enabling towards myself and my bad habits and have some grace for myself. I could have days where I eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink my water then spend the next day eating cake and drinking soda and realize this is just life and I am allowed to do both.

I could fucking relax for once.

Maybe even enjoy the things I enjoy without looking for a way to monetize them or legitimatize them. It really is okay to spend my time writing things no one will ever see or dancing or singing in the shower and not being exactly on rhythm or key. I could go for a walk or go cycling and not worry about whether I met some step goal or burned some exact amount of calories. I could bake cookies just because I want a goddamn cookie. I could sit and watch television all day long and not feel like being lazy is a bad thing.

I could finally just do things for the sake of doing them and not overanalyze them to the point I don’t even want to bother, I feel like shit, and I think I’m the worst person in the world and wasting my precious life. All of that overanalyzing is the actual waste.

Maybe I could even learn how to eat just one piece of candy and not eat way past the point of enjoying the candy because now I’ve got to eat them so they’re gone and they’re no longer around to tempt me because I can’t control myself and eat just one piece of candy.

Maybe I could stop thinking that the most important thing in the world is how much money I have, whether I am out of debt or not, and stop comparing myself to everyone else my age and where they are and what they have financially.

And maybe, most importantly of all, I can understand that I will veer towards the extremes at times but I can have the compassion to guide myself back to the middle.

I often feel like I don’t know what healthy means. I didn’t see it growing up. Not in physical health. Not in financial responsibility. Not in relationships. When I think of all of the work I have done on myself since I was a teenager and all of the work John and I have put into our marriage, I think healthy might just mean a willingness to show up and do the work. To see every conflict as a growth opportunity. To address fears and work through them anyway.

I just want to show up for myself. I have shown up for everyone else in my life. I want to show up for myself and give myself the same grace and compassion I have given so many others. I mostly want to be able to relax and enjoy my life too.

If I can do all of this, if this is a healthy life and sense of self, it will be the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

3 thoughts on “Day 3 – Beautiful You – Consider How You Feel About Yourself”

  1. I have a question for you: for the people you admire most, do you spend most of your time analyzing how they could be better or do you just love and appreciate them as they are? I’m just wondering because as a recovering perfectionist myself, I realize I don’t nearly scrutinize everyone else as much as myself. I don’t pick over every little thing they say or do. I just love them. I focus on what I enjoy about them. And I’m learning to do that for myself. I think it’s a scary thing to do as perfectionists because we feel like if we are too lax with ourselves, everything will fall apart. It stems from secretly thinking we are not good people. But I think the opposite is true: I think the more we focus on what we do well, what we are doing right, what we love and enjoy, the stuff that makes us fall short becomes less of a focus in our lives. It seems counterintuitive but I think it’s all about focusing on the progress: how far we’ve come instead of how far we have to go. It makes all the difference!

    You have come so far Amy! You are such a great person, so talented. We all have areas where we can improve and you, like me, have spent so much of your life focusing on those things. But maybe that’s what we’re doing wrong: maybe to balance it out, at this stage of our lives, we need to shift our focus to what we do well. Some days it may seem like nothing, but that’s not true. I think we can introspect so much that we overestimate the impact of our less-than-ideal parts and super underestimate what we are amazing at.

    Perfectionism is definitely overrated. Perfectionism is a lie — it places conditions on our enjoyment and happiness, but we don’t need to be perfect or this artbitrary sense of “better” to thrive, to enjoy, to just be who we are meant to be. We are not what’s in our way from getting what we want; perfectionism is — and all that is is a perspective. So change your mind and change your life, right? 😉

    I’m glad you’re sharing your journey — I’ve always loved that you’re so transparent, so courageous in facing yourself. It is definitely a gift. I’m excited to see you shift your focus from your perceived shortcomings to the things that give you life, passion, energy, happiness and a joy that spills onto others. At the very least, try to give as much focus to what you do well as you do to where you feel you need to grow. Lean into your strengths — there are plenty of them! 🙂

    Like

  2. Thank you, as always, for such an amazing and insightful response, Erika. You are right in all of this. I am still untangling myself from my deeply fundamentalist upbringing and forgetting to accept grace and see I am good just the way I am. It is taking a long time but I am getting there. I so dearly appreciate your words especially because I know you understand so much where I am coming from.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s