Fill your Tool Box! Build a better Sense of Self!

I have grouped all of the tools for your tool box here so you don’t have to search for them

What are Your Adjectives

Fill You Tool Box:
Stop the Intake of Information that Makes You Feel Bad

1) Stop the Intake
You can barely open you eyes in the morning and not have someone trying to sell you something. The continuous ubiquity of marketing is impossible to escape, with product placement and soft subliminal plugs everywhere it’s not hard to know when you are being sold something, but discerning the “what” is often more difficult. The reality is- single products are not simply marketed- they are packaged; we are now being sold lifestyles. Like Island hopping cruises or European vacations. Buy this and you’ll look like that, and then this type of person will want to be with you while you drive this car to this house, and you will be beautiful, loved, well dressed and happy. It’s depressing and dangerous. The constant wanting never leaves room or time for one to be content. The desire to upgrade never has you appreciating what you have. Subsequently if you can’t afford it, or won’t ever look like it you end up feelings worthless and inadequate (or buying horribly telling bootleg knock offs).

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just stop. If fashion magazines are making you feel fat, ugly and style-less then why look at them? If lifestyle and gossip rags have you feeling like a loser don’t pick them up. Take a break – too much of the wrong stimuli can do major damage. This is one of the cases where what you don’t know can’t hurt you. Think about it, the point to all the marketing is to make you desirous of whatever the product or lifestyle is, it does not take into account that it may well be unobtainable or unrealistic for the masses- in fact it’s that very reality that it feeds on. If you are clueless you could well be “blues-less” sometimes in ignorance there really is bliss!

Where To Start:
Support the things that support you. Start looking for yourself in the world. T’ruth be told you may not find them. It’s important to note that just because you don’t see yourself does not mean that you are not valid and cease to exist in the real world- you just don’t in the land of make-believe. My rule is if you don’t see or acknowledge me, they why should I acknowledge you especially with my hard earned money. If I don’t exist in your world neither does my money. I’m not say you have to avoid fashion magazines for the rest of your life but just until you can learn how to not to let it affect you in bad way and put you in a negative space. It’s impossible to avoid it all but when you can- choose it not. Once you stop clouding your vision with things that give you the information that you are enough (thin, sexy, white, blonde) or too much (heavy, bland, dark) you might be able to, for the first time see what you truly are without the influence of certain media outlets. You might find out a truth that is quite powerful and empowering- you are fine, there is nothing wrong with you, you are not broken.

No one wants to feel like they are alone or the “only”. In order to see a version of your self in the world you might have to create patchwork Romare Bearden like collage of body parts and characteristic that relate to you. Society’s view is extremely narrow and purposefully exclusionary and we as individuals are far grander and much more broad and deep than its shallow sparse sketch. The key is to get that you are in control, you have the choice, but the key is that you have to utilize that power and control by consciously choosing, and not letting marketing strategies do it for you.

Second Tool: Mind Your Mental

2) Mind your Mental-
Your head can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Thoughts have power. Where you might not be able to bend a spoon with your thoughts you can make yourself depressed, or even sick with what you think. We have all heard the term perception creates reality well it’s true. The way you see yourself not only manifests physically but energetically as that is the vibe you give off to others. It’s a cycle you feel like crap you give off a crappy vibe and then people experience you as crappy. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Arrest the negative speak in your head like Americans Most Wanted! If the things we say to ourselves in our heads were said to us aloud by some else it would be seen as verbal abuse. We would never stand for it. Why should we let the person closet to us do it? Get out of that abusive relation ship with your mind. You can talk yourself into believing just about anything so stopping negative thought patterns before they take hold is paramount.

It’s not easy it- like everything else is a process and will take time but like anything else with practice you get better at it and mastery is possible with consistency.

Where to start:

The best place is at the beginning. Just start to observe when the negative thoughts fire-up, we all have our triggers learn yours so you can get the jump on yourself. Observe what the negative speak is about. With a little thought you might even be able to point where that idea slipped in. Was it something your mother or father said? A teacher? Friends? Or is it something you picked up from the images you take in everyday? (This will be more important is tool three) Don’t try to stop it so much at the start; you need to let it flow so you can get the Intel- so you can wipe it out. After you have a handle on your triggers, when it happens, why it happens and what the thought patterns are we are ready to take action.

Perhaps you stop focusing on what’s you don’t like or not working and shift to forcing yourself to see what is. It may start off as the smallest thing like – I have strong fingernails, and then it will expand to you seeing the beauty of your hands, your arms and perhaps you might see that your shoulders aren’t half bad. Hey it might not fix everything thing but there is so much in this world that is out of our control including who we are born to, and what genes we get, the one thing we can get a handle on are the thoughts in our heads. If your head isn’t on our side does it matter who else is?

Become a friend to your mind- you can have a head that supports you and doesn’t tear you down. It takes time but since your head isn’t going anywhere you might as well learn how to live with it, use it, and have it working for you.

Third Tool: Get Clear

3) Get Clear (About What’s Real)-
Your mind does play tricks on you. Take Anorexics, their minds tell them that at a weight as low as 85 pounds they are fat. Your mind can make your eyes play tricks on you. It can magnify the minutest of flaws into a deformity. It can create an obsessive preoccupation out of a freckle, a mole, or a fleeting zit. Once you start to lasso your negative thoughts about yourself, you can start to look at yourself objectively. I’m not saying that you put on rose-colored glasses and pretend that everything is perfect, but just take the hyperbole out of the equation. Yes you might be noticing some fine lines around your eyes but they don’t make you the crypt keeper. It’s important to get clear about what you really look like so that when you get to Tool 4 (Get Proactive) you are working on real things. To get a better perspective about where you really stand, start to take careful not note of the way people view you- what are the things they say about you- what are your adjectives? This could be a good clue. True- people lie but if ten people have the same view of you, then chances are that’s an accurate assessment.
There are a few things that make this tool a sort of Swiss army knife of tools. The first is the fact that in order to gather the views of others on you, it takes you out of your head. My yoga instructor says “Your head is like a bad neighborhood that you want to stay out of” and at times it’s true. The second is, by creating the opportunity to weigh what you are saying and feeling about yourself against what others are saying and see either how close- or far apart those two ideas are helps you gain perspective and balance. It will help you determine how off (or on track) you are. The third is that when you begin to actively listen to what people say- good things about you- or maybe just things that you hadn’t thought of about yourself, it will help you to “learn to hear” – and take compliments. Often we treat compliments like insults deflecting them with the skill of a gladiator. In order gather this information you might actually have to let a few compliments land- and be absorbed- and possibly take root.
Once you have stopped the negativity coming from the outside, you might well be able to hear and process some of the more balanced, accurate feedback the outside has to offer. These can be the seeds that once owned at take root will begin to re-shape your perspective and image of yourself.

Fourth Tool: Get Proactive

4) Get Proactive-
A problem stays a problem if you just sit around talking about it. Once you stop ingesting things (information) that makes you feel bad, and stop beating yourself up from the inside out, and gotten clear sited about who and what you truly are you can start to work on the things that can be changed. Not everything can be, your genes are your genes and your bones are your bones. If you are short you have to live with that (or live in a pump) Structurally you are what you are, for the most part your shape can be -redefined but your proportions are more than likely what they are i.e. if you are pear shaped you are pear shaped now you can be a smaller more toned pear but you can’t be a zucchini. Commit to making some choices and changes that are going to get you closer to being the best possible you you can be. It may not ever be what you want but knowing that you have done all you can to get to where you are is empowering and who knows perhaps at point that may just become good enough.

Where to Start:

Don’t want to be in shape- get in shape, take one step at a time make sensible, achievable goals don’t set yourself up to fail. If you have never seen the inside of a gym don’t make the declaration that you are going to start going to the gym 6 days a week. Slow and steady wins the race, and we are talking about a lifestyle change, from the inside out. If you know what you need to be doing stop BS and be about it- you’ll feel better in the long run. Sometimes our genes or hormones deal us things like crooked teeth, acne, and facial hair, things that can be embarrassing and debilitating. Things like dental work, and dermatology can cost a pretty penny especially if you have no health insurance but there are some economical ways of getting those things done (we will be talking about that more in Guilty but Forgivable Pleasures).

And for the record I am not ruling out “Procedures” wink wink. If getting your smile lines filled, an eyebrow lift or breast augmentation will really help get you to a better place with yourself- who am I or anyone else to judge? But know that the procedure is not a supplement for doing the work. If you don’t do the internal work, you may have a smooth forehead, ample décolletage, or a flat tummy and still feel the same way about yourself.

Your toolbox should help you get in touch with and take control of how you feel from the inside, recalibrate it and have it translate to what you and others see on the outside. It is empowering to know that you have the capability to create the best you that you can be. It will take work but if you acquire and learn how use all the of tool you can build a better body image for yourself.