Sunday, June 28, 2015

Help yourself, and then help others

As evidenced by the fact that most of you didn't get notified about my blog post last week, I didn't feel quite right about it. Not that there was anything wrong about the post - it just wasn't in the right tone. I wanted to radiate more positivity and confidence than what it had to offer.

So here's this post's theme: help yourself, and then help others.

We've all heard this analogy before: you're on an airplane and the oxygen masks are released. What do you do? You secure your own mask before securing the masks of those around you. How has this idea been applied before?

1. In terms of physical safety, as in the situation with the oxygen masks.
2. Spiritual safety. For an example, see Elder Anderson's talk from the October 2014 General Conference.
3. Health and wellness. I've seen this a lot lately online: take care of your own eating habits (clean them up), and THEN worry about helping others.
4. I don't know how new this idea is - it only just occurred to me for this blog post: CONFIDENCE AND LOVE FOR YOURSELF.

I'm a mother. As a mother, I want to teach my children how to see value in themselves, how to love themselves. I want to teach them how to be confident - a healthful confidence, not an overly prideful confidence. What is the most effective method to do this?

I think what is typical is trying to fill each individual with that confidence. We shower our children with praise and approval, hoping to see the light in their eyes as their confidence grows. We are basically TELLING them how to feel confident. Which is great. . . But isn't SHOWING the more effective method of teaching?

How can you SHOW your child how to be confident?

Could it be that the key to self worth, self confidence, self love, for our children is mastering the same for ourselves? We need to learn how to be confident with ourselves, and then we may lead by example.

People spend a lot of time showing OTHERS their approval, trying to convince them that they agree with what the other person is doing, and they spend less time showing THEMSELVES their own approval. Sure, we spend time rationalizing things. But how often does each of us look in the mirror and approve of what we see?

It is absolutely wonderful to praise others. It's been said that it is WRONG to withhold praise. But we naturally resort to TELLING them the reasons they should love themselves. We don't even fully realize that they're learning from what they see us do EVERY DAY.

Here's the part you've heard before: what expressions does your child see you make when you look in the mirror? Does he/she see you grimace or frown? Does he/she see you smile? Does your child watch you weigh yourself? Does he/she hear you use the word "fat"? Does he or she hear you fretting about your appearance? Talking about how much or how little you're eating? Whether you think it was the right amount or the wrong amount?

If it's possible to gain a negative perspective on self through example, is it also possible for them to find more balance with themselves if you show them the way? Let's turn this on it's head. What can your child hear from you to learn how to see the good in themselves ON THEIR OWN?

Does this fit here?: Teach your child how to fish, don't always just hand him the fish.

Handing out compliments is great, but your child needs to know how to see those compliments on his own, without someone pointing them out. Help him or her create a positive self voice by setting the example of what that can sound like.

Do you approve of yourself? Why or why not? What can you do to change that? If you know what you can do, why aren't you DOING it? What is keeping you from loving yourself?

Learn how to love yourself. Whatever the way you believe you should eat, come to harmony with it. Find harmony with your heart, your spirit, your body. Learn to like the PERSON you see in the mirror. Spend less time looking for imperfections and more time reflecting on the happiness there. Then walk away and let that happiness, contentment, and harmony radiate outward and change others.

On another note, if you can't learn to stop focusing on what's wrong with yourSELF, then how can you ever learn to be selfLESS? You need to learn to love yourself so that you are MORE CAPABLE of loving others. Find that harmony within so that you can stop centering your thoughts on yourself: what you're doing wrong, how you look wrong, how you feel wrong, etc. What are you doing RIGHT? How can you do more RIGHT? And how can you spread that RIGHT out so that others can benefit from the difference?

But don't let what I'm saying deter you from doing RIGHT for others immediately. Serving others can be incredibly healing for the soul. It can boost your spirit, and help you to love yourself.

Whatever you do, it's a cycle. Love yourself so that you can love others, and love others so that you can love yourself.

And don't get deterred by the small mistakes you make on the way! Love yourself AS you make yourself better.

Come into harmony with your body so that you can better reach harmony within yourself, your spirit, with your children, with the earth, and with God.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


I really only have one reason to have a new post right now - I said I would once a month. My commitment to staying away from the scale stands. There's not much interesting going on there.

So I've racked my brain for thoughts I've had this month about body image. I actually had a conversation about my body image with a friend via Facebook Messenger - which is convenient, because now I can quote it back to you word for word:

"I'm actually pretty self conscious about how I look quite often, and actually more so since I've become so vocal about my diet. I don't want anyone blaming the diet for how I look, or claiming that it's not working. 1: acne. It's there, and I worry that people see it. I think I mentioned it seems worse if I eat fattier foods, so maybe I can hope it disappears in the future. 2: I'm really not THAT thin. I worry that people think I should be thinner if I'm really eating right. 3: I quit wearing makeup only recently. This is a mark of my growing confidence in myself, but also I worry that people think I SHOULD wear makeup.
"As for how I FEEL, I'm amazing. I feel amazing most of the time. In the last six months I've slowly developed a routine where I rotate between running and yoga each morning, and this makes me feel even better. Yes, I can do everything I want. The eating though? I often eat too much. Even on this diet, I've been known to unbutton my pants at the end of dinner. Which is what I'm working the hardest at! Pregnancy makes it harder to master this. . . Every time I get the portions down, I get pregnant and it's harder to feel my stomach underneath the baby. Hunger is so demanding, and I'm really good at not eating the foods my body doesn't crave [I mean, crave nutritionally - I can tell what my body NEEDS and doesn't NEED when I'm pregnant], even if I'm hungry and nothing better is around, but the boundaries are different. It's hard to get good habits back in place after pregnancy, especially since newly-breastfeeding hunger is almost worse than pregnancy hunger. And I have a history of starvation-binge dieting from when I was a teenager. . . [All my past habits] work against my natural ability to stop eating when I'm full."All I can say is, I'm working on it!"

So that's how I feel. I AM constantly hoping that I will lose another ten pounds, but I no longer count on that.

My husband DID say earlier this week that he thought I might be smaller in the back area [ahem], but I wasn't convinced that was true, and all my clothes fit the same (except a brand new pair of capris that I should have tried on before checking out at Walmart - I just ASSUMED that a size 8 would fit, because size 8 ALWAYS fits. Unfortunately they fit like a loose size 10, but it wasn't worth the effort of returning them, so I've been doing a lot of tugging up, and dug out a belt that I haven't worn in two years).

What was my brilliant response to my husband's comment? "Well, that's not where I need to lose it." I think all of us women have a fixation on having a flat tummy with no rolls, right? Good thing my husband doesn't care about either! He wasn't intending to give a compliment, it was more like he was commenting on the weather.

Anyway, I'll plan on having another update next month. If at some point I run out of material to talk about, I'll mention that I'm going to cut back on posts. But we only have six more months! I'm pretty confident that I'm going to succeed.