I struggle with self-esteem because of my weight. In this world, heavy people are less valuable than thin people. That’s just how it is. Do you have any advice that would make me feel better about myself despite being overweight?
It may be true that “the world” values thin people more than overweight people, but that doesn’t mean you have to. You have the power to decide how you will value yourself. You have the power to choose your self-esteem.
Everytime I say that on KSL though, someone disagrees with me and says it’s not that easy, that they can't just choose to feel better. So I want to set the record straight on this — you're right, it's not that easy, but it is the only thing that works, and you must do it if you want to feel better. You must take control of your thinking.
The power to choose your attitude and state of mind is the one power no one can take from you. We learned this from Victor Frankl during World War II.
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
You can deny that you have this power (and many people do) but no one can take it from you. If you let the way other people value you affect how you value yourself, it is your fault, because you don’t have to.
You can reclaim the power to value yourself accurately for who you really are, instead of just how you look. You can choose to love yourself exactly as you are right now and reject false standards of worth. You can replace limiting beliefs with principles of truth. Some of these principles are below in bold.
Your waist size doesn’t have anything to do with who you are, and it definitely doesn’t determine your value.
Who you are is your character, your values, your talents, your faults, your weaknesses, your goodness, your individuality, your spirit and your love.
You are much more than your weight.
Your value comes from the fact that you are an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind, incomparable human soul and the offspring of deity.
Your value is therefore infinite and absolute and is not on the line. Your value is not on the line because life is a classroom, not a testing center. You are here to learn and grow, not prove your worth.
You are the same amazing, unique you, no matter what you do or how you look. Your weight has nothing to do with who you are.
You can adopt these universal truths by just repeating them often. All you have to do in any moment is choose to believe and embrace these truths instead of the negative thoughts you've been letting run amok in your head.
Here are some other ways you can start valuing yourself accurately:
1) Keep a journal, and when you are feeling inferior because of your weight, write down what triggered those thoughts. Write down the belief, the rule or assumption behind those thoughts. Write down how you could change your mind and think about yourself more accurately. How can you use your power to choose your state of mind to feel strong, beautiful, valuable and safe?
2) Poor body image is the result of rules you subconsciously made and still believe. Rules like (thin people are better than fat people) or (no one will love me if I’m overweight). These limiting beliefs are just not accurate. When you meet people that prove these rules aren’t accurate, take the time to write about them in your journal.
There are lots of talented, successful, valuable people with good self-esteem who are overweight. Oprah is a great example. Oprah doesn’t base her value on her weight. She knows she is much more than that. Writing about these people will help debunk those limiting beliefs and replace them with truth.
3) Practice choosing trust. Trust your value is infinite and absolute and not on the line because life is a classroom, not a testing center. You are here to learn and love. You are good enough right now.
Trust that who you are is your love for life, yourself and others. Choose to focus more on loving other people than getting their approval. Love is the most powerful way to eliminate fear in any moment. When you focus on love, your fears disappear.
4) Focus on being healthy, not thin. Most of your body shape is genetic. You inherited your physical body shape from your ancestors (bless their souls) and you cannot escape those genes. Focus on taking care of yourself and staying healthy and stop trying to be something you're not.
5) Eat healthy food all the time instead of going on and off a diet. Eat healthy because you value yourself and your health, not because you're trying to earn approval from other people. Their approval is irrelevant. You don’t need it. Self-esteem is about what you (yourself) think. Focus on your goodness.
6) Find a form of exercise that you love to do. Don’t let exercise become torture. Make it a fun part of your full and enjoyable life. Stay active doing things you love to do.
7) Learn how to buy and wear clothes that flatter your figure. Watch TLC’s "What not to Wear," they give you simple rules for dressing a full-figure body on most episodes. If you learn how to shop for the right clothes and dress appropriately, it will make a difference in how you feel.
8) Focus on how you treat people. In the end, people care more about how you treat them than how you look. People are attracted to your personality, talents, weaknesses, strengths, kindness, character, humor and love — all these things are who you are. Be someone who makes others feel loved and valued everywhere you go, and your self-esteem will improve fast.
9) Smile. According to Search Your Love, 67 percent of single men and 78 percent of single women find someone who smiles a bigger turn-on than someone who is thin.
Decide today to consciously take charge of your inner state. In every moment, choose to value yourself accurately.
It takes some practice, but you can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.