I even remember going shopping once so I could get clothes in the favorite color of a guy I was trying to impress. Don’t judge me. I was young and impressionable.
Welcome to Day 6 of #31daysofselfcompassion
The theme today is “build-a-self workshop”
When I was much younger, I was nobody. That is, I was an impressionable young girl who was whatever other people wanted me to be. I did everything my parents wanted me to do, I adopted the women in my life’s beliefs about body image even the damaging ones, and I made considerate effort to be the model girlfriend for each of my boyfriends. I was no one, I was everyone.
Living like this was draining because I was always paranoid about never being enough to everyone else, and not thinking enough about what I wanted to be to myself. I was always the product of someone else’s fantasies, from body image, to love, to success.
Just a few years ago, I made the decision to take back ownership of my person. To drop every belief I adopted in the past, to be no one again, to go through my own build-a-self workshop. Making that decision was the best thing I could ever do because I could finally free myself of everyone else’s expectation, to make room for myself, to give my most authentic self the opportunity to thrive. I became no one, so I could discover myself, and rebuild myself. How, you might ask? Here are a few things I did, I still do, to live life on my own terms:
- Every year I write a letter to my future self to be read at the end of the year. In it I craft a vision of what I want my year to be, free of anyone else’s input, and I design an action plan to achieve it
- I always ask myself, what if nobody was watching, nobody cared, nobody pressured me, what would my life look like? What would be my values, my views about my body, the things I want in a relationship, and my goals for success?
- Why should I care? This is the question I always ask myself whenever someone gives me their opinion about who I should be. Why should I care about what they say? Are they giving me constructive criticism? Would my life actually be better if I follow their advice, or do they just want me to be their own version of what is good? Doing this allows me to always have the last word about myself, while still remaining open to changing for the better.
- Is this your coat? Here is your purse. Maya Angelou talked about how she doesn’t tolerate bigotry or hate around her. When she’s having a party for example and she hears someone say something awful, she would ask them “is this your coat, please take your purse and go”. Your life is your party, you get to decide who stays and who goes.
Self-Love, self compassion, is allowing your best self to blossom and to do so on your own terms.
Who are you? On your terms?
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.