Wednesday, March 28, 2012

everyone's a critic

i am coming to what i hope is the end of a body obsession/dissatisfaction phase. i have been conscious of my body in all the wrong ways, fixating on every little thing that seemed different or imperfect, and all for no reason that i can articulate. it has not been fun. and, as a person who has never really had sustained body issues before, it's been disconcerting to suddenly feel like an enemy to my own body.

one silver lining has been that, in examining why i might be having these unfamiliar body-related feelings, i've identified some bad habits i'd like to get rid of and some good habits i'd like to cultivate. i take the stairs at least once a day instead of the elevator now, i am consciously avoiding mindless eating at my desk during the workday, and AWD and i have been pretty consistent about exercising together with our new community center memberships. it feels really invigorating to be reminded that i can control my choices and make positive changes. even if my body doesn't look any different, i feel different and that counts for something. actually, i think it counts for a lot.

like this whole one-month-with-no-sugar thing that we've been doing. (never mind that we are counting the minutes until it's over.) it has taken a lot of discipline and self-control and will power and self-denial and it feels really, really awesome that we did it. (almost. three more days!) i feel like the master of my own fate and that is a feeling i like to have.

but i have also made another discovery. i realized that i am infinitely more critical of my body when i am being critical of other people's bodies. whether i am comparing myself thinking i am better or comparing myself thinking i am worse, it is all-around damaging.

criticism, and not just about bodies, is one of my more unfortunate character flaws, and my attention has recently been turned to how unattractive and unhelpful it really is. i think sometimes i make a (mild) criticism to be funny or maybe to establish some common ground with someone, sort of like a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, you see what i see, right? kind of thing. but in the context of my body obsession phase the consequences of this have become a little more clear to me, and i don't like what i see.

when i criticize myself, i erode my confidence and i deny myself feelings of gratitude for my gifts, talents and abilities. and when i criticize others, even just inside my head, i erode their trust, limit my ability to fully accept what they are giving me or teaching me, and deny myself feelings of gratitude for those things.

and so, i am going to try to be a little better, to have kinder words and kinder thoughts for myself and for others. i mean, if i can go a whole month without eating cupcakes, i can do this, right? because, though my stint with unhealthy body obsession is (hopefully) behind me, i feel like its lessons are just beginning.

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