Mean Girl? Respect Yourself.

“You’re ugly, your thighs are fat, these people are all better than you (and probably hate you), and you’re a complete loser”

Have you said these words to another person recently? Most people could never imagine saying any of this to a stranger, much less someone we love. But….have you said this to yourself?

Blam! In working with clients, this question around negative self-talk usually hits a nerve. Stunned and with tears forming in the corners of their eyes, they will admit how hard they are on themselves for not following their (idea of a perfect) diet, having a pinterest-pretty life, and for their bodies betraying them by not adhering to what they “should” look like. Ow.

Part of the work here is not about nutrition at all. It’s about helping people see themselves, first as they really are, in that moment, and helping to change their mindset on the way to advancing to a more whole life. What does this involve? It involves treating yourself kindly and learning to be your own best friend. It involves respecting yourself and your body – in self-talk, with exercise & sleep, and how you feed it.

Life is hectic and we often push ourselves and our needs to the wayside. So now, more than ever, is the time to remind yourself to give your body the respect it deserves. A healthy self-indulgence does not mean you are selfish. You are worthy of nourishing yourself with proper nutrition, body movement, and time for self-reflection and quietude. Here is your challenge: incorporate some of these ideas into your life today.

1. Create a nourishing morning routine. If you find that most mornings are a rush -to find the shirt you were going to wear only to find it’s in the laundry, grabbing an energy bar for lunch, and feeling your heart race as you realize you’ll be late for work- realize there’s another way. Make time to eat a healthy breakfast, do some exercise or read quietly over some hot tea before you start the rest of the day.

2. Don’t over-commit. Sure, 6 nights of social gatherings a week sounds fun, but consider how depleted you may feel without having much time to yourself. Particularly if you’re an introvert you may find that you may need more downtime than the more party-til-dawn extrovert types. Honor your needs and act accordingly. Sometimes a hot bath and a book is where it’s at.

3. No one defines your boundaries but you. The flip side of this: unless you set boundaries, others are bound to walk all over you. Be clear about what you want and don’t want – in a career, relationship, or life experience. Listening to others tell you what you ‘should’ do will often only muddy the water.

4. Find something that excites you. If you’re not passionate about your job, is there a hobby that gets your creative juices flowing? Explore salsa dancing, stand-up paddleboarding, crochet, vegan cooking, or painting as avenues that make you smile and fill your heart with joy.

5. If you do nothing else, learn to say no. We cannot stress how importance this is, especially to those who have more people-pleasing, co-dependent tendencies. Strong, respected people get clear and kindly decline activities that don’t suit them.

6. Accept that you are ‘slightly irregular’. We all are! There is a quirkiness to each of us that differentiates us from other people creates curiosity about us. Part of your job is to accept yourself- perceived weirdness and all. Own your unique sense of humor, mannerisms, and weltanschauung as a strength.

7. Celebrate your daily accomplishments. We’d like to move mountains, finish writing books, move head financially at break-neck speed, and have mastered the art of French cooking. But guess what? Today you did contributed at work, walked the dog, paid the bills, made your friend laugh, and prepared dinner. These activities deserve some accolades. Secret note: appreciating your progress will only encourage more progress.

8. Respect yourself and others enough to apologize. If you did harm to someone, apologize without qualifying it or being passive aggressive. Bonus: do this for yourself for when you mess up and then move on. The ability to forgive is the mark of a great human.

9. Write a love note. You’ve likely done it for others; now it’s time to catalog some of those qualities you adore about yourself. Keep them handy for days when you’re feeling less-than-stellar.

10. Fill your pitcher first. Undoubtedly this seems hardest for moms (who are used to putting their little ones before their own needs) but it’s difficult for most of us. An empty pitcher is a sign that something is awry; resentment is soon to follow. When you refill your pitcher -with nourishing food and relationships, fun activities, and self-care- you are better able to ‘pour out’ your time, energy, and care into others’ glasses.

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