Smile, and the World Smiles With You

Warning: a bit of a rant coming…

Yes, Swimsuit season is around the corner and today while reading blogs, I yet again read another post about body image issues and I’m want to scream. Over the years I’ve had my fair share of body image issues as well – and now, my body doesn’t quite match where I am mentally, but I’m ok with it, because I realize the size and shape of my body isn’t the issue.

I swear that having Fibromyalgia has cured me of a lot of oddities in life – like I’ve always felt like I’m 90, so getting older hasn’t changed things much except other people accepting and understanding my limitations a bit better. And if they choose to not understand, then it’s their issue, not mine. But the pace I’ve lead my whole life is the same – so I’m not struggling as much as others I see who are now having their bodies force them to live differently. It’s taught me to pace myself gently. To shift and change things gradually. To expect results in months or years rather than days or weeks. To focus on the energy I have rather than the size or shape of my body. It’s taught me that attitude is everything. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Find what works now and know it may not work tomorrow, but it does work today. Yes, it’s a bit Pollyannaish, but that’s the only attitude I can choose to function as fully as possible.

I’ve lost some pounds, and my clothes feel a whole lot better. But that’s not nearly as important as the fact that I feel better. I have more energy most days. I look forward to losing a bit more because I look forward to stepping into a pair of shorts this summer and having energy to get out and do more in those shorts. A swimsuit would work, too – if I had a place to swim.

When you first see someone, you do see the physical. But at least for me, after I get to know them, looks disappear and their character and personality quickly become the main focus. A gorgeous person is just that – surface. They will either become beautiful or ugly depending on their actions and attitudes. So when you find yourself tut tutting at yourself for the shape of your body, or how you move, what part of your personality are you helping and encouraging to flourish?  Attitude is a choice.

Audrey Hepburn had it right:

                             Happy girls are the prettiest.

So are nice ones – the generous ones – the honest ones – the ones overflowing with gratitude for the life they lead – the ones who laugh deeply at their awkwardness as they keep at it. Yes, get healthy. Exercise. Eat well. But don’t spend more time and mental energy on that than on your attitude. Find what makes you smile. Surround yourself with those things and fill your thoughts with things that lighten your heart. That will let you shine your authentic self to the world.  Stop hiding who you are under a blanket of self doubt and negativity. Those aspects of our personalities are strong enough as it is. Stop encouraging them to become stronger in your life. They need to sit down and be quiet. Encourage the aspects that need encouraging. Help those aspects step out of their comfort zone and enter life as fully as you can today.

Best example of late: (watch it again even if you’ve seen it)

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