Guest Blogger Elanie Turso from Elaine Turso Photography shares with us how to STOP the cycle of self-hate associated with weight, body shaming, emotional eating and related issues. Every week Elaine gets to meet and hang out with beautiful women who on their journey of self-discovery. She gets to meet cool kids who are graduating high school and are about to go out and change the world with their awesomeness, as well as fellow business owners to help them with their personal branding photos for their website and business cards.
One thing I love about Elaine is that she operates a body-positive studio. You are not allowed to talk bad about yourself in her presence! She says, “My soul dies every time I hear someone make snide comments about themselves, like, ‘can you photoshop me to be thinner? I need to lose weight first. I don’t want to break your camera.’ NO. Don’t do it. There will be consequences.”
Here is her amazing blog on how to stop the self-hate cycle.
Are you insecure about your body?
Can you look at yourself naked in the mirror and smile?
Do you criticize your body because it’s not ‘perfect’?
Say “If I lose ___ pounds, then I’ll be happy”
Ever said one of those hateful things about yourself out loud?
Ever said them in front of your children?
If you are being honest with yourself, and I hope that you will, your answer is probably yes to both.
I’m begging you… Don’t be like me. Stop the cycle of self-hate. It can end with you.
When my daughter was about 12 years old, I heard her complain about her “thunder thighs”. Shocked, and utterly flabbergasted, I quickly told her she was crazy and told her that I WISH I had her thighs…. (By the way, I know now that was not the right way to respond.) I should have done so many things differently. I should have engaged her, I should have listened, I should have this, I should have that. I could beat myself up over that moment…
One day for some reason, the Tyra Banks show was on. It was an interesting topic and I sat down to watch. It was a show with mothers and daughters. They were marking up photos of their bodies with all of the things that they didn’t like about themselves. It was crazy. I was shocked, yet intrigued. And the “Psychiatrist” guest speaker said something that I will never forget…
“Daughters do not want to be better than their mothers”.
Girls don’t simply decide to hate their bodies, we teach them to. Source: www.bodymatters.com
Our daughters look at us as PERFECT human beings. They see us with loving eyes, they see us for the one that wipes their tears, kisses their boo-boos and gives them cuddles whenever they need it. They don’t see our flaws, they don’t see our imperfections. They don’t think we need to lose weight. They see past all of that. They want to be JUST LIKE US. (Even though they might not admit it)
When we spew self-hatred out of our mouths, we are essentially telling them that there is something wrong with them too. Remember, they don’t want to be better than us.
If we have thunder thighs, then maybe they do too?
If we complain about our stretch marks, maybe they should complain too? I mean, we don’t want mommy to hate herself all by herself, right?
The moment that my daughter complained about her thunder thighs, I knew that she had heard that come out of my mouth. My self-hating complaint turned into her insecurity. WHAT HAVE I DONE?
“At its most extreme, self-hatred can lead people to retreat into substance use, suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors, or violence toward others.” (Source: goodtherapy.org) I know you don’t want that for your or your children. Again, please don’t be like me.
My daughter has always been athletic. On the cheer squad, lifting girls over her head, she was strong. Her thighs are PURE MUSCLE. Without those muscular legs, she would not have been able to do those things.
My daughter was teased for the size of her thighs. One day, I was “snooping”, and discovered she had an “Ask” page. (By the way, do NOT let your child have one of these pages). Someone asked her “How much do your thunder thighs weigh”? Her response was clever, “2 boxes of pizza, and 3 boxes of Chinese food”. But I knew that it stung. (SIDE NOTE RANT: Why on earth people feel it’s ok to talk about another’s body, is beyond me. Even if you think you are giving a compliment, just don’t. It’s not your place to give unsolicited comments/feedback about someone’s weight loss/gain, their shape, none of it.)
Another recent occasion happened when I was driving my daughter’s friend home, and her friend complained out loud that she was fat. My daughter began to cry. She said, “How do you think that makes me feel? You are smaller and thinner than I am, so does that make ME fat?” That was a very quiet car ride.
I spend my days focused on empowering women through photography. Let me tell you, she is my most challenging client. She complains about every little non-existent flaw. Her eyes, her waist, her thighs, her hair, her smile, everything. In our minds, our children are perfect. We love them unconditionally. We don’t want them to change a thing. We know that if we erase their flaws and imperfections, we erase their unique individuality.
Let me say that again. If YOU were to erase YOUR flaws and imperfections, YOU would erase YOUR unique individuality.
No one is like you. No one. No one has your mind, your heart, your soul. You are a unique and special person.
But, she is plagued with these unrealistic ideals of beauty. Everyday. Instagram is full of girls who probably took 100 photos of themselves before they’d post one they liked. She sees commercials telling her that she is not good enough unless she uses their products. She sees magazines with photoshopped models who you probably could not even recognize on the street because they’ve been altered so much. Have you seen the dove commercial? Yeah. That’s so wrong on so many levels.
So what do we say/do when we hear our children or someone we love, say hurtful things about themselves? How can you turn your own negative thoughts around? Trading self-hate for self-love is not easy. But it IS possible.
Here are some tips:
- Start a “swear jar” – If you or someone in your home is using self-hate talk, they have to put money in a jar that is donated to a charity of your choosing. And for the love of all that is holy…Do not ask your husband, “Do these jeans make me look fat” EVER AGAIN! It will cost you! (Did you know there is a swear jar app?)
- Focus on the positive – Turn that self-hate talk into an opportunity to focus on what you DO love about yourself. If you are caught self-hating, you should say 5 things you LOVE out loud. Say it until you mean it.
- Curb comparisons – ever wish you “looked like her”? You never will. It’s not attainable. It’s not reality. Let it go. Focus on being the best YOU. Give back. Be positive. Be a good friend. Remember this quote “I’m not beautiful like you, I’m beautiful like Me”. It’s true. Remove those Instagram gals who make you feel inferior. You don’t need that negativity in your life.
- Gentle reminders – Positive quotes plastered in places that you will see every day. Pinterest is full of them. Find one that sings to you. Put one by your mirror. Your car. Your office. Let that sink in until you believe it. Wholeheartedly believe it. My favorite is “Be your own kind of beautiful”. To me, that means, be unique. You get to decide what beautifully is, no one else’s definition is going to be your definition.
- Do you exist in photographs? Will you have a legacy left behind for your family? Have you been avoiding the camera because you didn’t like your appearance and you wanted to change it “first”? It’s time to GET PHOTOGRAPHED…. NOW!!!!!!!!! I know this may sound like a plug for my business, but I am hoping that you will take my advice. Whether it’s a family photo, a glamour shoot, a boudoir shoot, a selfie… I don’t care. Be photographed. Begin your legacy. Accept yourself. Be photographed and review the photos WITHOUT criticizing yourself during or after your session. I have a rule in my studio… there’s no self-hate talk allowed. Not tolerated. Find a photographer that will stick to that rule. If they don’t have it, ask them to help you through it. It’s easy to complain about yourself, it’s harder to love/accept yourself. But I have faith that you can do it.
- Talk it out – tell someone that you trust that you are on this journey of self-discovery. You may have a bad day and need someone to help you work it out. Ask them to be your beauty buddy. Sometimes though, you really need help from a professional. They are fully equipped with the tools to help you work through some trauma that may be preventing you from changing your mindset. Don’t be afraid to get that help.
- Surround yourself with positive people – make a rule that there will not be any self-hate talk when you are out with your girlfriends, etc… Don’t give in to the group self-hate game. Don’t do it! If you hear your friend say or you see them post something negative online, CALL THEM OUT on it! Sometimes, they don’t even realize they are doing it! (“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” ― John Joseph Powell)
Stop the cycle of self-hate. It starts with you. It’s possible that you heard your beautiful mother complain about herself. And I know you think your mother is the most beautiful woman in the world, why would she say those things about herself? (See what I did there?) Imagine your children saying that about YOU.
You are worth loving. You are worthy of existing. And none of that worth has anything to do with your appearance!
More awesome quotes to share:
“If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…” ― Cheri Huber,
“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self-acceptance opened.” ― Shannon L. Alder
“Your skin is your skin. Your legs are your legs. Your hair is your hair. Your smile is your smile. Your past is your past. You can waste your life hating these things, but you may as well learn to accept them. Both routes are difficult and full of pain, but with acceptance, you will be happy one day, while with hatred, you never will.” ― Vironika Tugaleva
“Self-hatred is self-imprisonment. Self-forgiveness is self-liberation. You have the right to suppress yourself, oppress yourself and depress yourself. You have the right to impress yourself too. Feel happy!” ― Israelmore Ayivor
“Self-hatred is the inevitable byproduct of the culture of narcissism in which we all have been reared. We learn from day one how special and wonderful we are. Or conversely, and perhaps more pervasively, we do not learn this at all and instead are subjected to glorified views of others through the media whom we idealize and envy. At the root of it all are inappropriate expectations about life, about ourselves, and an overvaluation of self that breeds profound isolation.” ― Melissa Grabau
Original Post: http://www.elainetursophotography.com/blog/2015/12/2/how-to-stop-the-cycle-of-self-hate