There are many spoken and unspoken beliefs in our society. Around our looks and weight. Around mothering, identity, and self-care. Around work ethic and productivity. Around what it means to be good and worthy and lovable.
These spoken and unspoken beliefs can make it harder to be OK with ourselves. They can make it harder to feel satisfied, to embrace and honor ourselves, to focus on what’s important.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Muhammad Talha
Because they lead us astray.
They lead us to search for things that don’t exist. They deplete and demoralize. Which is why I’m making a conscious effort to let such beliefs go.
Below are the spoken and unspoken beliefs I’m no longer buying or internalizing:
- Babies ruin our bodies.
- Being healthy means consuming only what’s on your “eating plan;” eating “clean;” having a “cheat meal” once a week; doing a detox; working out X number of times; not eating pasta or bread or butter; skipping dessert; “being disciplined” and having “willpower.”
- When you do eat dessert, you should feel guilty, and talk about how you’re “naughty” and how you’re bad and that you won’t eat any more sweets for at least a week.
- You need to appear like you have it all together.
- You have to make it look easy. All of it.
- You have to use social media, especially Facebook. Because that’s where everyone is, right?
- Buying a bigger size should be the end of the world, and a sign that you’ve let yourself go. So instead of buying that bigger size, you better whip yourself into better shape—and punish yourself by not purchasing new clothing.
- Relaxation resides at the bottom of a wine glass. So does fun and freedom.
- Self-care should look a certain way.
- Self-care is non-existent when you have kids. You won’t have time for it and you must focus on your baby. Fully. Forget moving your body. Forget sleep. Forget hobbies. Forget. Forget. Forget yourself. You must be a martyr. You must be defined by motherhood, first and foremost and completely. If you’re not, you’re obviously not a devoted, loving parent.
- If you aren’t thin, you must apologize for your body, or feel terrible about it by telling everyone that you don’t like your belly or your thighs, and you know you shouldn’t wear a bikini or shorts or a dress ever again.
Make your own list of beliefs you’re no longer believing—or thinking about not believing. I know this is not easy, especially when we’re constantly bombarded, often from all sides, about being thinner! more productive! healthier! (i.e., restrictive!). I know we don’t just wake up one day, and poof! the damaging beliefs magically disappear from our brains, never to return ever again.