Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Best Image Advice: Gratitude as an Attitude

By Katherine Lazaruk on Oct 19 2010 • Filed under Image Intensive

Thanksgiving may only be one day, but the ideas behind it can be practiced regularly. So, in keeping with the time of year, this month’s column is all about acceptance, appreciation and change.

“Adopt gratitude as an attitude” is the best image advice one can get. Gratitude is helpful on a number of levels, but if you are in the process of changing your image, accepting and expressing thanks for the image that you currently have can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, particularly when it comes to valuing and appreciating yourself.

Think back to a time when you’ve tried to help someone change, or wanted someone to change his or her behaviour. Imagine for a moment the success you would have if you continually criticized the person, belittled their attempts to change and vilified their current state. It might sound silly but ask yourself if you’ve ever thought any of the following things:

  • “I am so (insert word here – fat, ugly, boring, etc.)”
  • “How could I have done something so stupid?”
  • “Why can’t I ever get it right?”
  • “I hate my (insert body part here – hair, hips, thighs, etc.)”

Hear an echo of your self-talk anywhere in there? Your body might not be as young as it once was, or as flexible, or as tight or thin or whatever it was in seasons past. Your wardrobe might not be as up to date as it was. Your mind might be a little foggy. Often we berate ourselves for this change, but if you continue to focus on the ‘image that was’ it will be exceedingly difficult to focus on changing the ‘image that is.’ To change or grow, you literally need to reprogram your brain to send yourself positive messages so it will be motivated to change and any success you have will come easier.

There are three steps to appreciating yourself better:

The first part is simply accepting your current image.

When you look in the mirror, take a good long look at your current body. See the current figure as it is, but not in a negative way. Realize that things have changed. If you have a few more wrinkles, note that you earned them through expressing emotion and enjoying the sun. If you have a few extra pounds, think of the time you spent on other things besides exercise or the joy you had in eating. If your body is not the way you want it to be, or not the way it was, accept that the change has occurred and stop comparing your body to what it was in the past. It’s a bit like asking your child “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” Your body is what it is and you need to see it as it is and accept it even if you want to make a change.

The second part, after you’ve spent some time accepting your current image, is to appreciate it.

Perhaps there are things you can’t do any longer, but perhaps there are things about your older body or older self that are easier to do now because of your level of maturity. Get in the mirror again. Imagine that the person you are looking at is someone you dearly love. Talk to the person you see as if you were determined to only speak words of love. For example, you might say something like, “I love that you are so smart” or “I love that you are mobile” or even “I love that you are so beautiful.” If there is a part of you that you particularly like, start there and keep moving through your whole self until you have expressed appreciation for everything you are. Take note of how you feel. Thank your body for its service to you and be grateful that you are still mobile, still alive and still as healthy as you are.

Finally, if you want to change, make a plan.

Call a trainer if you want to change your body. Go to a nutritionist or doctor if you want to change your diet. Talk to a counsellor if there is a psychological issue holding you back. Talk to a consultant if you want to revise your image. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to express all the sentiments that we forget throughout the year. Adopt ‘gratitude as an attitude’ for everything, including yourself and you’ll be looking at a very different you in the mirror from now on.

1 Comment

  1. An excellent reminder to treat yourself with lots of patience,love and care.
    Highly appreciated.

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