Love Your Body Challenge Day 5: Beautiful

I’ve fallen behind in the Love Your Body Challenge, but I’m going to continue writing my responses because it’s helpful for me. I’ve created a tab at the top of the blog to organize these posts and I’ve changed the titles to make them easier to skip over if it’s not your cup of tea. I know they are a bit wordy so don’t feel compelled to read them especially if you’re here to read about running.

Speaking of running, I’ve got the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10K road race coming up on Saturday. Marathon training is in full swing. Last week I made a novice error due to schedule changes and tried to accomplish my long run the day after a strength training workout which included lots of lunges and leg work. My 16 mile run on Saturday was slow, painful and an important reminder about training wisely to avoid injury. I took a much needed rest day yesterday.

Reason #5 To Love Your Body: Because it’s beautiful

Mantra: “I am beautiful, on the inside and outside, and I feel especially beautiful when I ______.”

My mantra: I am beautiful, on the inside and outside, and I feel especially beautiful when I am taking care of myself by eating healthy, exercising, doing yoga and meditating.

I’m not going to sugar coat this exercise with a lot of nonsense. I have never felt beautiful, not even on my wedding day (well actually wedding days since . I occasionally look in the mirror and like certain things about myself. However, I definitely don’t consider myself beautiful on the outside. Beauty is only skin deep though. As unattractive as I find myself on the outside, I’m more concerned about the kind of person I am on the inside.

The truth is I haven’t been a very beautiful person internally. I have been quite ugly as a matter of fact. This is harder to admit to than announcing I have issues with binge eating.

I was a pretty happy kid as I recall. I think my ugliness began to rear its nasty head in my early teens. I’m not going to psychoanalyze here and try to lay blame for my behavior. I’m just telling it like it was as I remember it. I was overweight, unhappy, lacked confidence, didn’t fit in with other kids and felt alone as a result. I internalized absolutely everything. I assumed people disliked me and now I can see that I assumed that others felt the same way about me as I felt about myself. I did a job on my own self-esteem and by the time I finished high school there was not a drop of it left.

I always had an angry edge to my tone of voice. I became increasingly more defensive and difficult to talk to. I assumed that almost everyone was “against” me and thought I was as irrelevant as my opinions yet I was argumentative and fiercely opinionated. I felt look down upon and judged.

I had few friends and often lost friends most likely due to my sharp tongue and negative attitude. My relationship with my sister and mother have suffered the most. Anytime I felt badly about myself (which was frequent) I took it out on them because I was jealous of how slender, beautiful and well liked they were. Of course people like them, they are friendly, kind and easy to be around.

In the throes of jealousy I behaved like a child even well into adulthood. My go to coping mechanism when I was jealous of others was to stop talking to them and act like nothing was wrong. Wicked mature, I know!

My biting sarcasm and stand offishness was clearly misunderstood, I thought. “No one gets me!” They got me alright, they just didn’t like me. And by they I mean just about everyone I came in contact with including my family.

I can honestly say that I have never intentionally meant to hurt anyone with my words or behavior. For some reason unbeknownst to me there have been people along the way who have blessed me with their unconditional friendship. I know these friends and my family have seen other qualities in me which makes them love me anyway.

I have apologized for my behavior ad nauseam. I always know when I cross the line and say the wrong thing in the wrong tone, unfortunately once the words are out you can’t take them back. Though my apologies are always sincere I have realized that saying I’m sorry means nothing if I don’t learn from my mistakes and change.

Changing such negative, ugly behavior isn’t easy. For so long I kept a defensive, sarcastic, angry wall up around me just in case anyone wanted to criticize me. Turns out I am the most critical person in my life. I feel like I’ve come a long way from that mouthy, irritated, know it all, but I know I still have a lot of work to do to change how I feel about myself on the inside.

While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

2 thoughts on “Love Your Body Challenge Day 5: Beautiful

  1. Interesting as always. I’ve never thought myself beautiful on the outside either — words that come to mind when I look in the mirror are along the lines of average, fine, reasonable, passable, unremarkable, me. Nothing particularly negative, but beautiful wouldn’t be the word. But the inside is so much important, and like you, I try to be a work in progress there and I believe it is possible for even someone like me to be beautiful on the inside.

    • This was a scary post to publish. Thank you for your comment. I am hopeful that I will someday be able to see myself as a beautiful person on the inside.

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