I recently cleared out my garage to create space for a home gym and I found a big box that my mom gave me that was filled with all sorts of memorabilia from my youth in upstate New York. I also found a few other boxes from the years during and around the time I was married. It was about 5 boxes of “stuff” I hadn’t looked through in about 6-7 years or so… I just moved them from house to house - knowing that one day I would go through them and sort out what I wanted and what I wanted to get rid of.
While going through the boxes, I found loads of pictures. (Back when we used to develop and print pictures.. remember?) Everything from baby pictures all the way up through high school and college - as well as pictures from the past 20 years or so of my adult life. One thing struck me while looking at the pictures from age 16 to 40, I remember looking at them back then when they were first developed - scrutinizing my hair, my face, my BODY… All I could do was find fault in how I looked. My butt was big, my thighs were thick, my face was fat and my hair was frizzy.
My inner voice was brutal back then - it was easy to recall the feelings it brought up inside me. “You’re not thin enough. You’re not pretty enough.” Ugh… not fun.
What’s funny is now, looking at my younger self, I think I look beautiful. I think I look healthy and radiant. I held up one of the pictures of my 25 year old self and looked deep into my own eyes and said, “Oh sweetie, you just didn’t know what you didn’t know - it’s okay.” That girl was a little lost, a lot unsure and trying to please everyone. She never thought to put herself first in her own life and she didn’t know her value.
That process of going through those pictures helped me realize just how far I’ve come in loving and accepting my body and myself. I’ve learned to see my body through fresh eyes that notice the beauty of all that is me. I appreciate the strength and stamina of my body and how it carries me around in life to experience all the things that bring me joy. How healthy it is, how resilient it is, how loveable it is.
I watched this very same awareness unfold with one of my clients that recently went through the Feel Good Junkie Group Program. Ashley suffered from the same brutal inner critic that I had all those years ago - and she faced that critic head-on over the 12 weeks in the program. See, Ashley’s a strong woman who finds a lot of value in what she can give to others: in her work and in her social life. But she wasn’t giving to herself. She wasn’t appreciating what her body could do for her. It was strong, it climbed mountains, and it gave the best hugs. Trust me, I experienced said hugs when I met her.
Through the program, I was so glad to help Ashley give back appreciation and value to her body - she’d been giving it all away to others for far too long. I was so happy to see her appreciate her own body and self. Her story is an interesting one to hear. And she shared it with me! Read about how Ashley overcame her critic and boldly applied to be a lingerie model - and GOT CHOSEN! You'll find it in the "Success Stories" section. Enjoy!