It’s Time for Some New Rules

Everyone has their own set of rules for their life. And each person’s rules become their standards. We rarely question these rules and standards. Yet, did you know that most likely, your rules and standards were created at an early age?

Most likely, if you struggle with body image today, you have a distinct memory of someone commenting negatively about your body as a child or teen. This negative comment shaped how you viewed your body throughout your life, including today. It became your standard.

Somehow, this memory led you to create a rule that your body must look a certain way to be acceptable. You internalized the comment the person made and it has guided your thoughts that something is wrong with you and your body, and that you must change. The message: You and your body are the problem.

I have a distinct memory of this happening to me. Picture a blossoming young, pubescent eleven year old girl on the playground at an elementary school track and field day in the late spring of the year. I was not the athletic type and was typically selected nearly last for any team during gym class. I wanted to do my best at this event. I even wore my favorite matching short set and pig-tails. I went up to bat to kick the kickball and the boys, who I had a crush on at the time, yelled, “Here comes Tick Tock Titty!” I was mortified. They were teasing me about my blossoming chest (that may not have been in the most supportive bra ever). I wanted to run and hide, rather than kick the ball. In that moment, I suddenly realized that my body was different than most girls in my grade on that kick-ball field. I was larger chested, and my thighs we bigger too. That must be the problem. I must change myself so that I am never humiliated about my body again.

Unfortunately, less than fifteen months later, at the start of the seventh grade, I started my first diet. My pubescent body was sticking out too much and I needed to change it. I wanted the boys to like me. I wanted to simply “fit in” and be liked. The rule was still there – the problem is you and your body. Boys don’t like girls in bodies like yours.

Soon, these struggles with my body bled into other rules and standards. If my body wasn’t good enough, I thought the next best thing was my brain. Enter in a new rule – perfect grades are a must. When in the work world as an adult, it meant obtaining an “Exceeds” on my performance rating each year. The rule was that you must achieve at all costs, to prove you are worthy. I lived with the belief about my body and my worth for years as an adult.

Thankfully, I have been on a self-love journey for over four years now and I am breaking down these old rules that no longer serve me. I am coming up with a new set of rules and standards. I had to re-wire my brain so that these new set of rules and standards could take shape. It takes time and patience, and A LOT of grace! You can do this too. These old beliefs are no longer serving you. Let’s work together to re-wire your brain and thought patterns. It’s time to show this world just how worthy you are. Let’s start with you first!

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