Self Esteem is an Inside Job. Self Love lessons.

I am 46 and I have always felt youthful. I still do. But, there are parts of my body that do not always feel that way. I have a neck “jowl” that started in the past few years. Where the hell did that come from? My breasts, always big and beautiful, are starting to sag. My eyesight often fails me. And, weight, it is much harder to get off. So, when the gentleman today, who sold me a bike last weekend, asked me about my grand-daughter I said, stunned, “My…. Daughter?!”

I realize I am not in my 20’s or even 30’s anymore.  In fact, in a few years I will be exiting my 40’s. But, when I look in the mirror I do not see old, or fat, or unattractive. I feel sexy, youthful and rather fashionable most of the time. I don’t worry about not getting dates. Friends always tell me how beautiful or great I look. So, what was this bike seller’s problem anyway?

I thought about it for a while. Self Love is an inside job. At some point we look at ourselves and admit possible defeat in the age department. Or, perhaps we got a bad haircut, gained more weight than we intended, started wearing yoga pants every day. We look in the mirror and believe we look good, okay, presentable, and then someone says to us something that doesn’t match our perception of ourselves. We wonder, then, do I believe what that person says? Or, do I trust my own reflection and perception in the mirror and how I feel about myself?

Self Love is an Inside Job. There are going to be numerous people in your lives who never take a second look. You may never turn heads due to attractiveness. You might make bodily, hair and makeup alterations and receive a little satisfaction, might turn some heads, and yet,the external recognition never feels like enough. Some may even complain you did too much alteration, you didn’t age naturally.. that’s cheating.

If one was to rely on external validation for Self Love, there would be a large self love deficit. A gentleman the other day in the Holistic Sex industry was making a comparison to obesity and ill-health and said he was not attracted to “those people” and some got offended, including me. I didn’t get offended because I felt ashamed of anything, rather, I sensed he was assuming persons that are obese or overweight look, feel and eat the same. I sensed he was saying that anyone obese or overweight is unhealthy. And, I asked him how he defines “health” or ill-health. Who measures this?

Certified Integrative Nutrition Coaches want you healthier, but what we do differently from other coaches is see a client as mind, body and soul. We don’t look at clients as measurements to mend. We teach about much more than food. In fact, Integrative Nutrition in my practice is often about what Joshua Rosenthal calls “primary foods” – relationships, career, sex, intimacy, and social support. If these factors are missing, this is often cause for ill-health.

Ill health, obesity or similar terms vary so much in definition depending on what camp you come from. The medical model mostly formulates the BMI and other scales that have felt unrealistic to many in the health and wellness industry. Many times what works for many women is simply whether or not they fit in their favorite pair of jeans. But, categorizing persons in ill-health or obese is doing nothing towards motivation for change, self acceptance, or a willingness to set up an appointment for Health Coaching.

The conversation above with both of these men is one that centers around shame. Shame can be an extreme barrier to any type of change. But, let’s not blame the messenger. Shame is a belief, a thought. It can, however, quickly lead to emotion and become stuck in one of our lower chakras, but it doesn’t have to. You can choose to protect yourself from shame and external influences, empowering yourself.

Here are your Lessons for more Self Love and less shame:

  1. Self love is an Inside Job.  No one else is responsible for your self love. You choose to have it, daily.
  2. External influences or statements are simply data thrown at you. You can take note, ponder, or simply let it fly by.
  3. When looking in the mirror, you are accepting yourself as you are, who are you, and where you are, today. Every day.
  4. If any person makes a statement about you that you do not agree with, then, disagree.  Recognize this is your Empowerment, not your denial. You get to define you.
  5. When you choose to be free of shame, you will not get offended easily by the comments people make. But, you also can point out the fallacy of those comments without letting shame enter into the energy exchange.

Remember, my readers, 

20 Replies to “Self Esteem is an Inside Job. Self Love lessons.”

  1. Great post! I fully agree that self-esteem is an inside job. I have found that I have always been my harshest critic and it has taken years of practice to learn to embrace who I am, both inside and out. During the time in my life where I was obese, I had the flawed belief that “only if I lost weight” would I have self-esteem. Well, the weight came off, but it did not bring the self-esteem. I agree that we are absolutely responsible for learning to love and accept ourselves. And once we do and take action, what an empowered feeling it is! <3

    1. That harsh critic probably comes from somewhere. I’d like to think we all had perfect parents and are perfect parents now. But, I realize that this stuff starts very young and I have to constantly watch myself with my daughter as she absorbs it all. I also agree that weight does not mean we come out the front door and all of the sudden persons flock to us for jobs, relationships or mere recognition. In fact, there are a lot of articles out there that discuss the pain that can be felt when weight comes off. It’s a change some aren’t ready for.

  2. Your authenticy and transparency is inspiring. While I do pretty well, I give in to insecurities and outside expectations of beauty more often than I’d like. This was a great reminder. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. I’ve definitely been working on my self esteem lately – every day, in fact. I found that it was holding me back in sooo many ways. We are bombarded with messages that we’re not enough, especially as women. Thank you for this post and for helping other women see that we are beautiful, inside and out!

    1. So glad to hear this Lori! We are bombarded and the women’s movement, feminism, body love movement and other groups are really bringing their heads together about how to help women feel better about themselves. I try to do my part as well!

  4. Yes, self-image, body-shape and health are not related. You can be slim and have a great shape while suffering from a disease that stops you absorbing nutrients, so you’re actually very unhealthy inside.

  5. This is something everyone should hear! It really is an inside job and if we love and respect ourselves, life is a much more satisfying journey. Self-love and acceptance are so important, thank you for sharing this!

  6. Self Esteem is an inside job and I thank you for posting this to make that point. We all have ups and downs with how we feel about ourselves, but it’s important to keep a strong self esteem so you don’t get brought down easily.

  7. You get to define you… what truth! Cynthia, I love your message. How easy it is to let shame into the game when we see our imperfections as failings instead of teachers! The thing I’ve come to recognize in my later years is that if/when I’m not feeling confident it opens the door for others to criticize… when I am standing proudly in my skin and shining, it really doesn’t matter if the light is beaming out of some of my cracks and breaks or whether it’s emanating from my eyes… when we’re doing work that aligns with our soul purpose and we’re truly happy then what people see is the light.

  8. yes! Self love is an inside job- I love it! I believe we need to really dissect the negative thinking that influences our ability to have self esteem. When we buy into our distorted thinking its easy to get caught in that trap.. thanks for these great reminders!

  9. Wonderful post! It took me years to figure out the root of my programming of not being enough. It still comes at me, but it is up to me to decide if I’m going to justify with a reaction, or respond in a positive way. The programming is definitely hard to change, but daily practice helps.

  10. Isn’t it so obvious when people rely on others for their emotional stability? You can see their self worth meter go up and down like a roller coaster. As soon as we connect with our higher power and come to terms with the fact that we can’t live our lives depending on others’ responses to us, the better off we are. This is easier said than done, but what I free feeling it is once we master it!

  11. Many people don’t understand the concept of self love. I think you have done an excellent job with your examples and experiences. We have to stop looking for outside validation and give it to ourselves.

  12. I loved it when you said that people’s comments were just information. Information can be good and bad. Information can be true or false. We don’t have to take it for gospel. Encouraging and takes me back to not just the love that comes from myself, but an even deeper love that the Lord Yeshua has for me, which is not based on anything external. Thank you for writing!

What's your BIG question in life?