A (raw) Truth About Shame and Authenticity

Warning: This post is raw, and it has taken courage for me to write. I have put off sharing it. 

As a high level fitness professional, and a woman in midlife. [that is statistically where society puts women in the 40-50+ age group] I have made it my passion to share my experience, and to be frank with my thoughts and trials and errors regarding fitness in mid life.

In many ways fitness challenges in mid life are different in a predictable way, such as menopause, post menopause, and all that comes with it. In other ways women in their 40’s and 50’s are no different than the girl getting ready for her prom, or the bride, or the young mom.

Here it comes.

In January, my daughter became engaged. Wedding plans began in earnest, and my immediate and selfish thought was “I have 6 months to get my body back to where I am proud of it”  Several months earlier I committed to a diet free life, so I could enjoy food and wine and remain fit and healthy.

I was practicing a diet free, moderate lifestyle. However, I was not practicing authenticity very well, because I was talking about self love and all things related, and yet I was still not convinced my own body was worthy. I felt shameful. 

The sensible part of me knew that I was fine, even with my meno-pot  [that little deposit of abdominal fat that occurs naturally in all postmenopausal women] But this tiny sliver of insecurity, that I am working on smothering, said “Judy, you can’t show up to that wedding with that fat on your belly.

That caused me great anxiety, because technically I knew that I was fine and I accepted my body most of the time. But then, when it came time to go dress shopping, the old negative thoughts came through. My daughters kept saying “Mom you have to select a dress”, and kept I making excuses.

  Finally, I thought to myself, Judy, if you don’t like something you have two choices, change it or learn to like it.

It was time to take action.

I am actively learning to like, and embrace, my look, because frankly, it is healthy, strong and fit.

Working with affirmations, is making a significant impact. There is room to improve, but for the first time in a while, I truly like my physique, including the curves and meno-pot.

Did you know studies show, that the two biggest things women feel the most shame about are attractiveness and motherhood? Apparently, that is where society dictates that women be perfect. Studies also show, that women who are judgmental of other women, on appearance and motherhood, are insecure in those areas.

Have you ever caught yourself thinking in a judgmental way about another women? These thoughts have certainly flashed through my mind at times. When I catch myself on this path, I pause and look inward, and practice my affirmations.

“I am compassionate, authentic, and uniquely lovely”

Let go of perfectionism, because it is a myth. Let us instead, fight against all critical thoughts about our-self and others, and replace them with our own personal affirmations.

>>>>>>A tip on using affirmations<<<<<<

A wise friend taught me that we can use the alarm function on our phone to name an alarm. She explained how she sets alarms named for her affirmations and recites them aloud when the alarm goes off. Isn’t that brilliant?!

Let me leave you with this, from Brené Brown, 

“Authenticity is a practice, and you choose it every day, sometimes every hour of every day”

Practicing authenticity and owing our uniqueness in a  shame free manner, is equally as important to our overall health and fitness as exercise and veggies. Affirmations help us to practice authenticity, because it is true that we think about, we bring about. 

What is also helps, is to embrace the fact that both authenticity and living shame free, like all things worth doing in life, are hard, and it takes practice to adopt. We must ignore what we think others perceive us to be, and just be who we are.

Les Brown says “We can choose a hard life with easy tasks, or we can an choose easy life with hard tasks.”  The choice is always ours.

 

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