Author, speaker, and teacher, Rosie Molinary, empowers women to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world. The author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, she teaches body image at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and facilitates transformative workshops and retreats for women. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Allow me to tell you about my hair.
I started life with curly hair. It was so curly that my sister remembers me covering my little head with my fists and crying, “No comb no hair, mommy. No comb no hair,” as tears streamed down my two year old face.
By the time I was five, my curls were gone. They didn’t return for a decade.
Then they were sort of lazy curls, a wave if you will. My best curls were in my twenties. Those were big fat, bouncy curls. I miss them.
Now, my curls are erratic. The part around my face is more straight than curly. The part at the nape of my neck is frantically curly and it begins to form dreads there within hours of a fresh wash.
Have you stopped reading this post yet and taken to the internet to try and frantically find a way to contact my family and tell them that something is seriously wrong with me? Am I boring you yet? I must be because I just about put myself to sleep with that break down of my curl history. But I have a point (and it has nothing to do with my hair- although there is one curl that does form a 90 degree angle point right beside my cowlick.):
THERE IS NO CONVERSATION THAT IS LESS INTERESTING THAN BODY TALK.
Seriously, want to help an insomniac? Break down your curl pattern or weight history or freckles for her. She’ll be snoozing in no time.
And, yet, while there really is no more miserable conversation than body talk, we almost can’t help ourselves. We can and do go on ad-nauseum about our bodies. We have studied and scrutinized our bodies so much that we have a lot to say about them and, surely, other people want to hear the conclusions that we’ve reached.
They don’t. I promise you. And here’s the thing. Neither should you.
When I give my 10 Truths for Your Self-Acceptance Journey talk, I can’t help but spend a little extra time on Truth # 5: YOU MUST BREAK YOUR SELF-DEPRECATION HABIT.
We think it’s necessary to bash ourselves. We think it is appropriate to hate ourselves. We think that body bashing builds camaraderie, that it makes us approachable, that it shows humility, that it is what nice girls do.
It doesn’t. It is not. We need to stop it.
Body bashing deflates us. The reality is that we manifest what we think, and so it is particularly important that we be extra mindful of what we say to ourselves. When we criticize ourselves, we diffuse our power.
And as if that weren’t enough, our self-criticism also deflates everyone else who hears it—even if what we are saying is about ourselves and not them. Because that is never how we hear what anyone else has to say, is it? We hear it through a lens that is incredibly myopic.
Our friend tells us she needs to lose ten pounds and our brain isn’t set up to think, “No you don’t!” Our brain is triggered to think, “Well, if she needs to lose ten pounds, then I must lead to lose twenty pounds. Oh my goodness, if she thinks she is fat, what does she think of me?”
Here’s the deal. She is not thinking of you. She’s thinking of herself. And while you are over there wondering what she thinks of you, she is sweating the fact that you haven’t told her that she doesn’t need to lose that weight.
Now, she is thinking, “Oh no. She didn’t tell me otherwise. Maybe I actually need to lose twenty pounds.”
So, there’s the irony. In a moment when two friends could have held each other in incredible light, they didn’t. Because they were too consumed in their own stuff, the stuff of their imaginings and not even real stuff, truth be told.
What is your impact?
Given that, I want you to consider what your impact is for a moment. Are you the friend inadvertently creating worries among your friends because you are sharing your own dissatisfaction (dissatisfaction is contagious!)? What is your impact and how do you feel about that impact?
The world needs you.
You are here on purpose. There are so many needs in this world, so much that is broken that is meant to be fixed and we are, each one of us, who the world has been waiting for—if only, we could get out of our own way, quit holding ourselves back and finally give what we are meant to be giving in the way we were meant to be giving it.
But we cannot begin to live our mission with meaning until we are no longer confined by our small beliefs. Let that small understanding of yourself go. Go big, friend. Be the force you were meant to be.
This week, I want you to really focus on two things:
Watch your body talk. Don’t go there; no matter how enticing the opportunity. You have more interesting things to share. Do not make your world so small and narrow.
Watch your impact. Make sure that you are offering your friends and family a positive voice and force in their lives. That doesn’t just benefit them, it benefits you, too.
photo by Martin de Witte, cc