Strike a Pose

What do you picture when you think of YOUR ideal body? Is your mind flooded with images from fitness magazines or glamorous photos of celebrities on the red carpet? If so, you’ve got the wrong picture in mind.

While it may be easy to admire certain features of others it’s not a realistic foundation for developing a positive self-image. We are all created uniquely and every one of us needs to learn to love our own bodies rather than wishing we looked like someone else.

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with admiring the muscle tone of someone’s arms, or a great hairstyle. But, when we only look to and at others to determine what we want for our own body we are setting ourselves up for failure and a damaged self-image.

I heard a great line in a message at Southgate Church where Pastor Edgar Cabello was speaking on Identity and encouraging people to use their natural talents. He said:

Everyone had a birthday and everyone got a gift.

No matter what you currently believe about yourself it’s important you recognize that you have talents and features that are unique to you. To grow and have a better life you need to embrace your talents and features rather than looking longingly at others and wishing for what they have.

Finding an image of your ‘ideal’ body can be very motivating in helping you to reach your health and fitness goals. Keep in mind that your ‘ideal’ body will never look like anyone else’s because you are unique!

There are a few quick steps you can take to find YOUR ideal body image:

Do some digging

Instead of looking to magazines and the media for the ‘ideal’ image, get in your photo books and find a photo of you that is inspiring. You may not have an image that reflects your ‘ideal’ but you certainly have something that inspires you.

Make a list

Take some time to look at that picture and write out all the things that you like about it. What things inspire you about the way you look in the photo?

Pin it up

Make copies of your inspiring photo and list of the things you like and put it up in the areas of your home you visit often. The bathroom mirror and refrigerator are two great places to remind yourself of what you are working towards.

I hope this encourages you to find inspiration from within by embracing your own beauty rather than striving to meet unattainable images.

Me Time

Like many women I know, I struggle with the concept of saying “No” when asked to do something. Time and time again I have been over-committed, over-scheduled and overwhelmed. While my intention is to serve and help, I realize by saying “Yes” to everyone, I am saying “No” to myself.

In a self-indulgent society I am certainly not suggesting that focusing on self is the way to happiness, but in my own life I am realizing that a continuous emptying of myself for others without any “me” time results in a dangerous spiral of poor self-image, weight gain, irritability and general unhappiness. Is that how you would describe the qualities of a friend or someone you would want helping you?

On the other hand, I find when I take time each day to deliberately do something for myself I have a positive self-image, I’m energized and generally uplifted. Quite different attributes than the girl who ignores herself, right? Naturally, I’m far more pleasant to be around after a little me time, just ask my family!

I encourage you to stop sabotaging your good intentions with helping others and dismissing yourself. Believe me, I know how hard it is to say no, especially to those you care about, but by saying no to a task that may be overwhelming, you are actually benefiting your relationship more than you are harming it.

Find some time today for yourself. I promise you – it will be worth it.