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We hear it all the time with those who have had bariatric surgery; harsh words we would never use on someone else but have no trouble saying to ourselves.
Maybe you’re right!
I recently ran into a friend I have known for years who also had bariatric surgery. I thought she looked fantastic and gushed over her slimness. I could visibly see her cringe as I said the words. She really did look good and I meant what I said. When I finished, she launched into a list of her imperfections and as she began showing them to me to counteract my praise, I was sorry I had complimented her. She. Won. Hating yourself means you can continue to tell your sad story and get validation from those who feel sorry for you, but those who care will eventually tire of it.
Just say thank you!
It’s a simple, but practice accepting a compliment. When someone says your ring is beautiful, you don’t need to tell them it’s inexpensive or that it is only silver. You can say ‘thank you, I like it too!’ When someone notices your weight loss and says that you look great, don’t point out that you still need to lose another fifty pounds. Don’t show them how loose the skin is when you hold up your arms. Just smile and say ‘Thank you, I am really happy about it.’ Even if you have to fake it until you feel it, you will begin to accept a little more that you are deserving of good things including compliments about your looks.
We get to start over in the morning…
It’s OK, you messed up but eating sweet potato fries wasn’t the end of the world and in the morning you have a clean page to begin again. Compassion for yourself sounds simple, but it takes practice. Forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up. One small slip up will not sabotage all your efforts if you shake it off and keep moving forward. If you have trouble changing your tone to be kind to yourself, frame it differently. Think about about what you’d say to a good friend who fell off bariatric plan and was berating herself for it. It’s likely a lot more supportive and nicer than anything you’d say to yourself.
Careful, you may get your wish
The people you compare yourself to are not perfect and do not have perfect lives. I promise that the people you believe have it all or at least have it easier than you, don’t. When you look at others through a reality filter instead of judgment and jealousy, you see that they’re going through the same life challenges as the rest of us. Everyone has their own bag of garbage to deal with. Sometimes the people who have the life you wish for, have a much bigger bag of garbage than the one you are hauling but they don’t let it define who they are! Learn to love yourself and your journey instead of wishing you were someone else.
Don’t believe everything you think
Thoughts are just thoughts and it’s unhealthy and exhausting to give so much power to the negative ones. There is more that is right with you than wrong with you.
I could zoom in on my perceived flaws and rattle myself to the core in under a minute if I allowed myself to go there. It helps me to remember that there are lots of things I really like about myself. I have warm eyes, I am creative and clever and can have a roomful of people engaged and laughing in minutes because I like to smile.
Look in the mirror right now and out loud, tell yourself one thing you really like about yourself! I guarantee it will make you feel good. What we believe, we become. Positive words have more power than negative ones, but for some reason the good scares us.
Focus on progress rather than perfection
Appreciate how far you’ve come on your journey rather than dwell on how far you have left to go. A friend tells you ‘it’s fantastic that you’ve lost 70 pounds already!’ You tell them that you still have another 50 to go! Please don’t! Say thank you and tell them it’s been an exciting journey so far.
One of the biggest causes of self loathing is the need to get it all right. We strive for perfection and success, and when we fall short we feel as if we have failed. Striving for success after bariatric surgery and putting ourselves out there is an accomplishment in itself, regardless of how many times we may have small bloops. I think the quote is that it’s not how many times we fall, but that we continue to get up.
Instead of putting yourself down for stumbling backwards, give yourself praise for trying, making progress, and coming as far as you have. Bariatric surgery takes courage.
You can’t hate your way into loving yourself
Telling yourself you are a failure does not make you more successful. Telling yourself you’re worthless and unlovable won’t make you feel any more worthy or lovable.
It’s your responsibility to redirect your thinking away from negative tapes you’ve been playing in your head and think more positive thoughts about yourself. It sounds simple, but the only way to happiness is to love yourself regardless of who you are and where you are right now, even if you are in the middle of change. Love who you are during the journey!
You are good enough just as you are. And life will be a little bit brighter every time you remind yourself of that.