Don’t You Want an Ideal Body?

Here’s why body shaming must stop right now.

I clearly remember the first time I was “fat shamed.” The phrase – fat shaming wasn’t popular back then. A fellow student looked at me and said, “How much do her parents feed her?” There were other students as well and I saw everyone nodding in agreement. There was no remorse or compassion. No one asked her to stop being rude. Everyone just continued with their conversations and I sat in a corner – feeling low.

Two decades later I still think about that experience. And the interesting thing is that people haven’t changed much. They still believe something is wrong with me. Fat shaming sadly has become socially acceptable to the point where it is now intolerable. Most women and even men believe it won’t hurt if your body is made a talking point.

In this era where we are obsessed with being skinny or tiny, I’d like to say a few things. We all have days when we don’t feel good about ourselves and the last thing I want is to be attacked about my weight. I have always been big. “You must wear black often; it is a slimming color.” Well, people – there is more than one type of physique. Are women with curves not allowed to wear colors and embrace their bodies as well?

I’m happy about how Body positivity promotes the different kinds of body frames. But there’s a lot to be done. Another rude question we often encounter is “when was the last time you had a healthy meal?” Okay, I can guarantee that this question is not helpful or kind. In fact, it is offensive and why would someone ask that in the first place. It is just plain rude.

It’s hard to be happy when I am judged for my size. Of course, I want to be healthy, but it does not mean I want to be skinny! Maybe I want to be more toned or muscular.

Fat shaming has got to the point where new people would remember you for how you look. You’d find dozens of obnoxious memes on social media. It’s upsetting to see my physique being subjected to unsolicited advice and jokes. Even celebs aren’t immune to fat shaming – it effects them as well.

People also need to realize skinny shaming has the same negative emotional impact as fat shaming. You can’t get away with a little smirk if you thought skinny shaming is acceptable. Remember that you should be cautious about the way you speak about the other person’s appearance. Normal decency should apply to conversations. Don’t let someone down to make yourself feel better. These harsh words can break someone’s ‘body’ confidence – forever!

Know that You are Awesome

No matter how much we try, there will be people in our lives that drag us down.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Well, it can be hard to understand that we always have the option to choose our mindset.

Now I only focus on the opinions and the words of those who have a positive effect on my life. Yes, I refuse to be associated with those that worry little about me and only want to bring negativity into my life.

Today, I make the #choice to #bepositive. Remember that you can’t change everyone. But you can control your response. Learn to protect your self-confidence, self-esteem as well as your sanity.

#positivevibes #positivity #inspiration #loveyourself #standupforyourself #youareworthit #emotions #stayawayfromnegativity

Image Credits: tiny buddha.com, thegoodqoute

Just Being There Can Make All the Difference

It’s about being mentally and emotionally there for those who you care about.

Often we find our friends, loved ones feeling the weight of their worry and we want to tell them that they are not alone. There are many ways to be there for someone, but sincerity is what makes the difference.

If you want to be truly there for someone, you must listen with a heart of understanding. Don’t just listen to respond. Show that you genuinely care for the person going through troubled waters. Understand the reality of their situation and try not to be judgmental.

Sometimes being there for someone means you comfort with genuine encouragement. Yes, you can be vocal. Also, try to read between the lines. You must learn to identify what a person wants at that moment, but can’t ask for it. Sometimes ‘I’m fine’ may have a completely different meaning.

Learn to listen, not hear. Become attuned to how they speak, how they express themselves.  Absorb their body language, their tone of voice, their ticks.

Be protective, but not overly so. Do not let your love cloud you into not allowing them to be their own person. Let them speak for themselves. Let them be strong. Let them grow. Hold them tightly when they need it; give them space when they need it.

How To Truly Be There For Someone – Francesca Saunders

You must also realize that you need to be compassionate. Also, being there for your friend or loved one should be a natural response. Of course, you can’t be there all the time — BUT, you can be there when you want to.

There are days when you simply want someone to be there. Not to do or say something extraordinary, but to let us feel hopeful. Remember, being there for someone is what really matters. Your smile can be an instant mood lifter for someone.

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No Strings Attached

“Being there” is unconditional. You don’t demand anything from the person that you are there for. Similarly, the other person might not thank you at that point. But they will sooner or later realize how much you being there impacts them.

Even if your efforts are not appreciated, don’t lose hope nor be sad. If you really want to be there for someone, go ahead. But don’t fool yourself or anyone else into thinking that “you’ll be there” if you don’t mean it. Don’t offer to help if you can’t be there when a person needs you the most.

Being there for someone else is less about the physical stuff and more about being mentally present and emotionally available for more than just yourself. It does not guarantee a positive experience. But saying “I’ll be there no matter what happens, I do care, and I will care” can mean the world to the other person.

Image Credit: Pexels

 

Know When Enough is Enough!

It’s always good to try to work things out. But you must know when to put your foot down.

No one plans to get into a toxic relationship. In fact, most of us don’t realize we are in one until it is impossible to turn back. Sadly most women can’t recognize the fact that they are being abused. It is also important to note that not all abuse is physical; there is mental and emotional abuse. Abuse can be covert as well as overt.

Abusive partners don’t show their true colours on the first meeting.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In the beginning, the other person is extremely affectionate and rushes into a commitment very quickly. Most women being innocent probably believe that he is too good.

Identifying an abusive relationship can be tricky because the victim doesn’t want to break the image of a ‘strong woman.’ After all, good women are ones who compromise.

Of course, no relationship is perfect. But one thing is certain. A healthy relationship should make you feel secure, happy, respected and free to be yourself. Toxic relationships, on the other hand, make you feel drained, depleted, and worthless.

How can you spot a toxic relationship? Watch out for the following red flags.

  1. It’s all take, no give. If you are the only person expected to compromise and change yourself, the threat is real.
  2. Constantly feeling sad or low. If you are always demotivated, stressed out and fatigued, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship status.
  3. If your partner doesn’t trust you, it is a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship. If your partner is disrespectful to you, says things that make you feel bad, blocks you from leaving the home, forces you to stop spending time with your friends, you are better off alone.
  4. Judgmental relationships can never function smoothly. Criticism and feedback should be helpful and never belittle the other person. Mutual respect is the first requirement of a good partnership.
  5. If the other person doesn’t communicate, there is no relationship. Period.
  6. If your partner wants to be in control or there is a constant tug-of-war, you’re in a damaging relationship.
  7. Good relationships are supposed to improve your life. If you have to change opinions to please someone else, there is no reason to be in the relationship. Stop fuelling someone else’s fragile ego. You can put that time and energy to much better use.
  8. Yes, all relationships go through challenges, but partners work through them together. Your partner should be a source of strength, not negative energies.
  9. You have the right to say No. The other person should value and acknowledge your decision.
  10. The smallest bits of lies destroy a relationship. If someone is constantly lying to you and making you unhappy, let them go.

Remember, life is too short and precious. Don’t spend it with a person who hurts you. Stand up for yourself –  you are powerful and you have the right to decide who stays in your life.

Image Credits: Enough is enough

 

The Secret to Recharge Depleted Motivation

First ask yourself: What Do I Want?

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” — Confucius

To be fair, we all need motivation. Often we are lazy, or unmotivated. But that’s not the core problem. We don’t lack motivation. Instead, we care about what others have to say more than what is needed.

The real reason we don’t want to get started or pursue our dreams isn’t a lack of motivation, but rather our fears. What if people don’t approve my ideas? What would happen if this society doesn’t accept me?

We’re right. Look around and you’ll find hundreds of people who had to give up their dreams just because they were too scared to take the first step. I’d like to add a bonus thought here.

Sometimes we care way too much about what others think because we look up to them for support. We believe they would help us take that first step when we just aren’t ready. We also care more about making up things we think would make us socially acceptable. We don’t want to lose our friends and family, our social standing just because our ideas don’t speak to their egos or what’s generally acceptable.

I’ve been trying to figure out the potentially rewarding ideas that actually speak to me – what I want – not someone else’s ego, opinions, feelings, or thoughts. Of course, it is not easy to view ourselves through the lens of others. But if you really want to break free, you have to care more about your own self than other people and their ideas.

The Self Care Equation

You’ll note that there are two parts to the self-care equation – first, stop prioritizing other people’s opinions and caring about what other people think. And second, actively invest in your interests.

When you stop caring about your ideas and fail to actively invest in your own interest, you only end up letting negative opinions, thoughts flow back inside your head.

Know What You Want

One reason we care more about other people’s opinions or ‘log kya kahein ge’ is because it’s the easier thing to do. It’s safer to ‘go with the flow’ and sadly, it is one thing that has been taught to us since the day we were born.

Standing up against the social norms is harder, and scarier to say the least. If you want to be a strong woman and if your thoughts that don’t match with what’s acceptable – you are going to have a really hard time.

Instead of basing your “success” on others, it’s time to figure what you want.

When you figure out what you want, you’d no longer be afraid. In fact, the fear of log kya kahein ge will be quieted a bit. And the best part – following your dreams won’t be “scary.”

How to Know What You Want

It’s really hard to figure that out. But once you get there, all you have to do is just pursue it.

We do know what we want. Somewhere, deep down inside, we have wants and needs that are defined by our preferences and thoughts. Our brain has an opinion on literally anything. But sometimes we misplace our preferences as easily we misplace our wallet and keys.

To figure out your purpose, you must first stop shouting at yourself. Also, don’t let anyone control your life. Don’t look for an immediate answer – that’s not how it works.

I came across an interesting piece by Christopher D. Connors. “Every plan and every action that you take should begin from that very simple question – What do I want.”

“What you want should come from your desire, passion, skills, natural talents and intuitive reasoning to want to arrive at the place that speaks to who you are and where you see yourself going.

When you get to that essence of living and being, the picture will become much clearer. You can then put together a plan based on your desire and the strategy that accompanies it.

This is a critical distinction to point out. What you really want may not be a job or career that can happen overnight. But it’s worth working toward for a future day. This way, you ensure that you are taking steps to live the life that is really yours, as opposed to trying to live someone else’s.”

It’s NOT that simple

It’s natural to feel frustrated when you try to figure out what you want. Okay, should I list all the things I like or all that makes me happy?

Interestingly, most of us struggle with small things like ‘what to eat’ let alone major decisions in our lives. So, identifying wants and needs won’t be easy.

Bits of Advice like “Just Do It” or Brainstorm don’t always work!

You can’t just sit and wait for a miracle to happen thinking that’ll solve the problem. However ‘just do it’ or ‘start brainstorming’ only makes one feel panicked and forced. There are days when I am likely to jump blindly to conclusions – and this includes anything and everything.

Yes, I make emotional decisions for the reasons I don’t know. I have a strong tendency to follow instincts – and often I do make the right decisions. But sometimes, I’m not lucky.

Playing ‘everything is good’ isn’t the best idea, because you are most likely to silence yourself. When you ignore what you desire, you don’t realize you’re not happy.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

Loneliness, helplessness, and feeling low are signs you are ignoring your needs. Inferior confidence is a siren you’ve silenced your feelings for too long. It’s here that you have to decide. Don’t turn to others for guidance. Instead, look for answers within you.

Remember you are responsible for your happiness. And only you can find the answer to “what do you want.” Most importantly, you have to do this yourself. You can return to your why, over and over again. This will help you stay motivated and grounded through the rough patches.

Let’s Put that Balance to Work

You can never succeed if you are exhausted and can’t get your priorities right.

I can remember how difficult it was to show up at work. The place I loved had become my worst enemy. Every passing day was a struggle. If you’ve experienced a stressful period at work, you could relate to this feeling.

My to-do list was mounting and there was absolutely no appreciation from the management’s side. In fact, it was only unjust criticism. I was forced to feel incapable of rising to meet expectations. Soon I was sacrificing my personal time to keep up with my own goals and someone else’s ‘not so logical’ expectations.

There was a phase when I was struggling with ‘the professional syndrome.’ I couldn’t figure out what more should be done to come across as a professional employee. I wasn’t a procrastinator, but I was forced to feel like one. I tried everything to keep up with the rising unrealistic hopes and soon I found myself burned out.

No amount of work or meeting deadlines improved my situation. Unproductive thoughts took up most of my energy and I was working 6 days a week long after my regular shift which eventually prevented me from enjoying life.

What I didn’t realize was at a deeper level, my problem was the lack of ‘boundaries.’ Yes, I had been fooled to become a workaholic! Sadly, we overlook our personal boundaries to meet our professional performance indicators. Trouble begins when we push our boundaries and turn to the ruthless corporate world for approval whether in the form of appreciation or chasing someone else’s version of success. Each time I said yes to impossible deadlines when I really should have said No! And this perhaps was my biggest mistake.

Later I realized it’s not just important to set limits on spending money or having junk food. You must have boundaries to protect your sanity at work. Yes, your bosses, friends, and co-workers are important, but your peace of mind comes first.

There are two types of boundaries – internal and external. External boundaries are pretty clear which include setting work hours, and of course, personal space. That’s right. Your co-workers have no right to be nosey and pokey. Understanding internal boundaries, however, is tricky.

I had failed to set clear internal boundaries. In fact, I kept pushing myself to achieve unrealistic standards of excellence which were never achievable in the first place. I wasted time trying to explain myself to people who loved jumping to ‘premature’ conclusions. But thankfully, I took control of my life.

When I said goodbye to toxic people and situations.

One day I made a promise to myself. I will remain consistent with my goals and more importantly, will detach myself from worries, negativity and unrealistic pressure.

Whenever I received criticism at work, instead of looking at it as a sign of failure (which I was doing – remember professional syndrome I mentioned earlier), I acted more rationally. Are there any possible (hidden) opportunities of growth? Do I really need to get emotionally carried away? Am I respecting my boundaries?

Well, honestly defining internal boundaries wasn’t easy. Being a ‘highly sensitive’ person, I always took other people’s reactions way too seriously. I foolishly did everything possible to fix their problems as my own. The desire to meet deadlines was great, but it drained me to an extent where I could no longer function.

Figure out where limits need to be set.

Trying to keep up with fake success standards can lead you to compromise your boundaries to the point where your physical and emotional health is at risk. While pushing through the ‘burnout’ process personally, I learned a rule that served me well:

If you are not happy even after giving your 100%, it’s a sign that a boundary must be redefined. A strong feeling of hopelessness and constant stress is a sign you’ve probably let an issue go on for too long without addressing it.

If you want a good relationship with yourself, you need to practice kindness. Talk to yourself as you rewire your brain to set new emotional boundaries. Remember, putting yourself first will be new and uncomfortable, but remind yourself that it’s okay to preserve your emotional energy.

As long as you give your 100% at work and are dedicated, you’re doing a good job. Don’t try to please everyone and never feel sad, guilty or upset when you think about yourself.

Never weaken your boundaries

Every time we take on too much responsibility at work or fail to speak up when we should, we only put ourselves under pressure.

Ask yourself: What’s my responsibility in this situation?

While you can never control what your bosses and colleagues will think about you and how they will react, just deliver your best. Also, never let negative people suck your energy.

Last, always trust your gut. Your intuition – even though it sounds cheesy – is an important part of rational decision making. Learn how and when to set physical and emotional limits at work and respect them.