Almost every day when I turn on the car radio I hear horrible advertisements encouraging you to hate your body and buy into their products or services. Whether it’s asking you if you hate your double chin, or if your boobs are too small, or your legs are too hairy or you need to lose weight or you have ugly stretchmarks or if your teeth need whitening, or if you have glasses and you should hate that. There is always some way that they are telling you that you should feel bad about yourself when it comes to your body.
We hear these messages in other forms too. We hear it on TV, in the movies, in conversations with each other throughout the day. We see it in the media, on magazine covers-in line at the grocery store and in Hollywood; with the shrinking size of everyone involved and the desire to appear smooth and perfect. After time, these messages start to take up space in our thoughts and start to make us wonder if maybe we do have some problem areas that we should feel bad about if we weren’t already feeling badly about ourselves before this.
Why is everyone encouraged to hate their bodies? Why should someone feel bad for being too tall, or being too fat, or too short or being too different from what someone else decides is supposed to be normal? Can we all decide right now that we will stop shaming ourselves and stop shaming others? Can we all decide right now that we will start encouraging one another in our search for inner beauty and our ability to love ourselves?
Loving yourself for who you are right now, is going to change how you see others as well as how you see yourself. Loving yourself-your whole self- right now is going to change your world. What if instead of saying “I am fat” to yourself in the mirror and feeling bad all day about how you look, you said, “I have fat parts of my body, but that is not something to be ashamed of because that does not define me. I am kind, I am smart, I have a beautiful heart that loves others. Those things can make a difference in someone’s life and are much more important than what others think I should look like.”
Let’s stop letting the media tell us what we should be and let’s start deciding for ourselves to be positive about our bodies and be kind to one another about outward appearances and let’s just start being happy. I have decided this year that I am going to try to stop worrying about what I think others are thinking about me. I am going to stop trying to please others and I am going to just try to be me. I am going to work on how I feel every day, and how I can help others feel good about themselves.
This has been such an eye opening experience for me. I feel so united with other radical women. I feel so empowered to be me and I feel so strong. I have this desire not to back down when it comes to making sure everyone gets this message. Especially when it comes to my own children. I have always tried to help them to have a positive image of themselves and to be confident in who they are and not just in how they look. But lately I want to make sure they really get it.
I am so glad that my kids are growing up in this age when there are people out there that are fighting for them to live in a world where it’s okay to be unique and not fit into the mold that was laid out before them. This is just the start of something really changing in the world, all starts with how each of us can change our own thinking about what's really important and what really matters when it comes to our bodies. It all starts with You.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. Please share this page with the people in your life that you know would love to be a part of this. Thank you <3.
Last summer my husband decided he really wanted to get my daughters a kitten. They had been asking for years, but we kept putting it off. We already had 2 dogs and 1 older anti-social cat in our lives. Plus it had only been a couple of months since my sweet cat, Kona, that I had only had for 4 months, had suddenly died from heart problems.
I didn’t think I was ready for the risk of loving and losing a pet again. Nor did I think that my daughters would ever be ready to keep their room clean enough that I wouldn’t be afraid kittens would get lost or stepped on in there. If you haven’t been able to tell from my past posts, I am a sensitive person. I hold things close to my heart and take things personally. That’s just who I am.
Well, my husband went to the shelter with my son, who has just as soft of a heart for little ones as I do. After snuggling many cute fur balls, they ended up bringing home not one but two sweet, tiny, sister kittens for the sister girls. My son claimed that it just wouldn’t have been right to separate sisters. They needed each other. He was right.
I’m sure they would have survived on their own, and led safe and happy enough separate lives. But seeing them together has been so sweet. Those kittens were so tiny and needy when they first came home. They would hide under the bed, snuggled up to each other so close. They would cry for each other if they were apart for too long. They were best friends.
Even to this day, almost a year after we brought them home, they are very close. They will lay under the coffee table together in a big pile of legs and ears, snuggled so close that you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. They will clean each other, watch each other play, and be there when the other is ready to snuggle. They get it. They understand sisterhood.
I get it. I have two biological sisters. One that I get to see as often as we arrange it, and one that I only get to see a couple of times a year if I’m lucky. But we are sisters. We have been through a lot together. First loves, break-ups, marriages, divorce, babies, family vacations, personal struggles, the death of both or our parents. We can’t imagine life without each other. Although we don’t snuggle up in a pile like kittens, we do hold one another so close to our hearts that it’s like we are literally connected by strings.
We haven’t always been as close as we are now, the teenage years were rough sometimes. Or when we were in different places in our lives with relationships, families, personal things. But the older we get, the closer we get, and the more we realize the importance of sisterhood.
Sisterhood doesn’t always come from being blood related. Many women find sisters through marriage- sisters in law or even, if you are really lucky, an amazing mother in law. I have amazing sisters like this. Ones that you weren’t expecting to come into your life and be a part of your family. But they end up being some of your best friends.
Sisters can be friends that you've known since before you even understood the world. I am lucky enough to have one or two like this-sisters that have been there through all of it and love you more today than ever before. Or maybe you have sisters through things that you have in common, like one of my sisters is a runner. She has made many sole sisters that have helped push each other further, pick each other up when one fails, and run alongside the other, with encouraging words and sweaty hugs. They get it.
As far as I can tell, the relationship that sisters have is about as close of a friendship as you can have. Sisterhood is such an important relationship in your adult life. You need someone to be there for you no matter what. You need someone that you can tell your secrets to and not worry about them judging you or criticizing you, but just loving you.
Every woman needs a sister, whether blood related or related through love. These friendships only come from putting yourselves out there and really letting someone else into your heart. Not being afraid of what might go wrong, or if you might lose them some day. But being fully committed to being sisters.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. Please CLICK HERE to share this post via Facebook with a sister. I would love to connect with you personally if there is anything you would like to hear my thoughts on. Please contact me and tell me your sisterhood story.
I am writing to my younger self, to you as my friends and even to myself....with that in mind going forward I will begin each post with:
I want you to know that You are important. No matter what you've gone through in the past, you are here right now and you are beautiful. You have already overcome so much more than you realize. You are already becoming such an amazing person. You matter. This is so important to be reminded of every day of your life. The dreams that you have, the desires in your heart, the hopes for your future- they matter. You matter.
Don’t be afraid to hope for big things, dream up an amazing life, desire good things for yourself. You are worth it. You matter. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, seek after what makes you happy, and strive to be what you want to be. You are important.
This is a really hard thing to truly grasp, especially as a mom. I think we are so used to putting everyone else’s needs in front of ours that sometimes our own needs get lost. We don’t even realize we have our own wants anymore. We forget that part of being a great mom is being a whole person and that means working on yourself too. Well, this is something I am working on daily right now.
I am reminding myself, a lot lately, of my own worth and that I am not a finished product. I am not who I was 20 years ago. That is good. I have grown so much. I am growing and changing every day and constantly trying to come to a closer understanding of who I am and who I want to be. I am learning to ask for what I need and let others help me.
Being sick is a time that I’ve had to really let other people help me. For some reason it is way easier for me to say no, I’m fine, thank you anyway. This week though, I was thinking about all of this and I said yes, and I am so glad I did. This gave me a chance to see how loved and valued I am.
I am so grateful for the people in my life that love me in a way that makes me love myself even more. I love helping people and doing kind things for them, so why is it so hard to let others do that for me? I am learning how to do this more and more and not feel bad or like I’m making them go out of their way for me when I don’t feel worthy. But I am worth it. Everyone has times when they need more than they can give. In those times we need to let others help us, for their sake and for ours.
Every day for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been saying to myself in the mirror, every morning, my mantra from my 30 day challenge. I've been saying, “I am Strong. I am Confident. I am Brave.” And you know what? It's working. That mantra pops into my head at other times of the day when I need that reminder. I am believing in myself more, and feeling stronger, more confident, and brave.
I am recognizing those characteristics in myself throughout my days. I am proud of myself for taking time to work on myself in this busy time of my life. I am not feeling guilty for wanting things for myself, but feeling empowered because of it. It is helping me see my worth and my value in this life. It is beautiful.
I am already thinking about what I will do next to challenge myself when the 30 days are over. I want to feel good about myself and I want to continue to believe in myself a little more every day.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. Please comment on this blog page or send me a message on the MamaBear Facebook page to let me know how your 30 day challenge is going and how I can encourage you.
5 Things You Need to Do Immediately!
MamaBear is sick today. Not an ideal way to spend Mother’s Day. I’m guest blogging for her so she can sleep. Oh, this is PapaBear by the way. I won’t pretend to know how to continue MamaBear’s amazing journey. Instead I’m going to make this post about you. Before I dive in let me say Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing Moms. To the rest of you strong, independent women, keep up the awesome work! Now to the title...how in the world would I know what you need to do immediately? Well give me a chance and maybe you’ll agree.
Keep being incredible!
Dear Young MamaBear,
Sometimes life is really hard. One day you will lose someone that you love very much and it will be so so hard. At times it may feel like you will never be okay again. Some days you might wonder if anyone has ever been as sad as you feel. But in the end, you can use the pain, from the loss, to be more real and more you. With time and love and support, you can become a stronger, more confident person than you’ve ever been before.
I think everyone, at some point in their life, will most likely lose someone that is really hard to move past. For me it was my mom. I had already lost my dad 3 years before, when she died. It’s been 5 years now. Lately I’ve been missing her so much.
Part of it has to do with me myself moving into a new decade this year. I’ve also been doing a lot of soul searching/life examining this year. I’m realizing that it is really hard to move into a new phase of life, knowing that my mom would be so proud of me, but knowing that she can't see it happen. Wishing I could hear her approval in my ear.
I’ve heard all of the things that people say to someone who suffers a loss: She's watching from above. She’s in a better place now. She's in your heart always. She's with Jesus. Pray. Honestly though, none of this is really helpful, when your heart is missing a piece of it. I know that people mean well, and I am so thankful for their kind hearts. It's just not something that anyone can understand though, unless you've been through it yourself.
There is one comforting thought though, that my amazing, beautiful husband reminds me of. I think of it often, when I have a big wave of ‘missing my mom so bad it physically hurts my chest’ wash over me. It is this: When you love someone and are really connected with them, you can never really be apart from them, because they become a part of who you are. They become so deeply connected with you that you are never really alone. Your ‘souls', or ‘beings', or however you want to think of it, are merged in a way that no one can ever separate.
I understand that thought in a way that I've never understood love before. It's so personal and real and validating. It’s painful to love someone that much and physically be separated from them. But that thought is what carries me through hard moments. That thought is what keeps me connected to my mom in a tangible way. In a way that I can find peace about it all.
I know that I am surrounded by people that love me. I know that I am growing. I know that I am working everyday to get closer to who I want to be. I may still have hard moments or hard days, or hard weeks, especially around anniversaries of when I've lost loved ones. I also know now, that on those days, it's okay to let myself feel those hard feelings and let myself be sad or scared or hurting. I know that those moments come less frequently and usually less intensely than they used to. I now know that those moments or days are part of who I am. And that is beautiful.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey
Please share this blog or www.facebook.com/mamabearlife with anyone that you think needs to hear this message.
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