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Finding Self-Love Through Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is a very real thing. It means (in a nutshell) that a person obsessively thinks badly of one part of their body or another. They look in the mirror and all they see are their flaws. This happens in both men and women. 

I remember that when I was younger I thought nothing bad about my body. It didn’t matter what size I wore or that my boobs were smaller than my friends or that my hips were bigger. I remember looking at my developing body thinking it was pretty great. I didn’t care what I ate or how much exercise I got. It is true that I didn’t really need to, but I had so many other challenges and obstacles in my life this was the LAST thing on my mind. (At least that I can remember,) I was confident in my physical appearance. I saw the models on the magazines and tv and didn’t think I looked that much different.

Then something happened. Something changed.

I was married very young and had my first baby at the age of 20, I changed the way I saw myself. People told me I needed to lose weight, (even though I lost my baby weight within weeks of having him.) I recognized that I was being compared. Mind you, I was in an industry where your physical appearance is HUGE. I wanted to model, I wanted to act. And instead of celebrating my talent, I heard over and over again why I wasn’t good enough. Rejection, for me, became about my physical appearance. I was able to find unhealthy outlets to combat these feelings in my mind. I got skinner, but it never seemed to be enough. So, instead of finding a healthy way to heal my mind, body, and soul, it destroyed my confidence and my self-worth even more. 

Photo by Trinidee Rae Photography

I compared myself to other women as I picked them apart, secretly saying what I had and didn’t have that they did.

I was horrible to the person looking back at me in the mirror. If I heard a man saying another woman was beautiful I would take it to mean I was not. I was hurt in relationships I told myself that it was because physically I needed to do more to look better, then they would love me. I developed what I would say ” borderline body dysmorphia.” To this day I struggle to love this body of mine and I know so many women that do. It is something that I work on daily. Not only for myself but for my kids too. My daughters AND my son.

I do my best nurturing this part of me constantly so I can keep my self-love strong.

I beat myself up about it over and over. Thank goodness I never took it to the extreme of anorexia or bulimia, and I celebrate myself with that. It doesn’t mean that I am not in love with my life. It doesn’t mean that I do not have a good sense of who I am, but it does mean that I understand what it feels like to be in your shoes, even if it’s just a little bit. I understand that self-love and body-love are no easy fix. It needs to become a part of your daily practice. Loving yourself needs to be a way of life. 

Now don’t think that I am saying don’t continue to work on being healthy in your body as well. Feed it right to fuel it. Exercise and see how incredible it is. Celebrate when you see changes…all of this is ok too! Just make sure to notice the beauty in your pain. Acknowledge the warrior you are underneath your scars. Feel good about your choices of being the best version of yourself and see how unique and special you are, from your head down to your toes.

This is your life…honor all the parts of you. It is possible to heal these wounds.

Find a way to dig deep into the layers of your soul. Find what gives you strength and allow yourself to love the journey. I say this for anyone who struggles. No matter your size, your color, your race, your ethnicity, your age, or your history.

My goal is to continue to pull back the layers and get back to that little girl I was who innocently loved her body before everyone told her she wasn’t good enough the way she was. I challenge you to do the same. You are worth it!

Photograph by Trinidee Ray Photography

To find out more about gaining more self-love, body-love, and soul-love, please come to our retreat where we have helped many women, just like you. We have been there. We understand. You are not alone.
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Self-Love With Stef

Who do you want to be and what is stopping you? Are you ready to step into your full self and start to thrive in life? Well, get ready to be inspired as Stef Iliff joins me today to talk about the beauty of finding self-love, self-motivation, and self-empowerment.


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Judgement and Ignorance

One of my favorite songs in Salt and Pepa’s “None of Your Business.” There is a line at the end that says, “Who are you to judge? There’s only one true judge and that’s God. So chill, and let my Father do His Job.”   I just love that song, takes me back to my high school days. Not only that, but I try and remind myself of that line. We live in a world that is so full of judgement. We don’t like when things are different than us and we judge it. I have seen it everywhere, especially on social media. Now, as I stated in my Coffee Talk Tuesday video, it is important that we educate people. There are things that are offensive to a religion, culture, or person and we need to be aware of them and if someone is being offensive to another, someone should let them know and hopefully it will change their behavior. It’s not always going to work, but then at least you did your part. That being said, it is in my opinion that we are just as tactful and communicate in a manner that also isn’t offensive. Is there really a reason that we need to be just as mean, hurtful, or crude just to make a point? When we are trying to educate someone we want them to hear us. We want the offender to understand and comprehend why this is important.  When people are feeling attacked, they go straight into defense mode and won’t hear what you are saying, which means you are wasting energy. It is like talking to a brick wall and the chances of you getting through are slim to none.

Please don’t think that I am condoning anyone acting racist, or sexist, or anything like that. What I am saying is we need to look inside of ourselves and if we are fighting for a cause HOW are we doing it? We are so sick of people judging us for our thoughts and behaviors, yet we are all so quick to judge others when they are different from us. This is a heavy topic, and some might say that it doesn’t relate to each other, but it truly does. We judge what we fear and/or don’t understand. We get set in our individual mindsets and beliefs that  we are right and everyone else is wrong. Even when people are acting offensive around us. So often we become just as mean and nasty to them as we are saying they have been to us, but what difference are we really making in the world when we are like that? There is a difference in making a statement and being ignorant or rude. I know for me, I would much rather educate a person on why something hurts me, than try and hurt them back. It leaves much more of a lasting impression. Being in customer service for as long as I have, this is something I know. If you use soft skills and truly try and understand where they are coming from, chances are they will do the same for you. Empathy, compassion, and communication are huge when leaving a lasting impression and I encourage you to give it a try the next time you feel judgement.

The next point I am eager to make is look at the behaviors you are doing that could be considered offensive. You see, this is where it needs to start. Right here, with us. We are so quick to call out people that offend or hurt us, yet are we being considerate of what might offend or hurt others? Truly ask yourself this question. If you do something that can be considered offensive, distasteful or mean but think it’s funny so you do it anyway, how is this any different than the behaviors you are against? We get so angry at the people judging others for the color of their skin or their sexual preferences if they are hurtful to us or our friends, yet are we being sensitive to others when we are making jokes about something we don’t find offensive?  I see this happening all the time, all over the place. This is that part of the world we can control. This is self-awareness!  This is the part where we can elevate ourselves and become better at. Take a minute to do some self-reflection, look in the mirror, or at that post before we publish it for the world to see and ask yourself: “Is this something that could be offensive? And how would it affect me if I was on the other side of it?”

Maybe you are like me, and very few things offend me. I know that I need to be careful and know my audience because my mouth has a tendency to get me into trouble if I’m not. I have had to learn to be more careful with how I say things and how I come across to others. This didn’t happen overnight, and I still find myself putting my foot in my mouth at times, but I am doing my best to be cautious when I speak. I don’t go around intentionally trying to offend people or make them feel judged, but I also don’t want to build a brand of ignorance. My brand is very important to me which means I need to be educated if I mess up and then do what it takes to fix my behaviors. That is what being a leader is all about. It is something that I am very passionate about. Leaders are good at self-reflection, communication, and have self-awareness. Leaders do things that set them apart from the rest. It comes from understanding ourselves first. Be a leader, change the way the world works! 

Are you ready to stop the judgement and the hate? Let’s allow people to be who they are and embrace those who are different. We are all trying to figure out how to make it through this life. Can we please be more mindful and help each other out rather than tear each other down? I will leave you with this thought: The more we know, the better choices we can make. The kinder and more loving we are, the more of an impact we create. 

Oh, and if you forget go listen to a little more Salt N’ Pepa!