In Part Two of this series, RD&T’s contributing writer, Maryanne Comaroto, PhD, shares the last five steps for combating The High-Maintenence Blues.
6) Be a conscious role model.
What are we saying to our girls? And what are we saying to our young men? This is a tough reality but well worth looking at. Are we saying that women are objects, that men should like this fake version versus the real? Did our mothers teach us nothing, did our grandmothers and sisters and all the women who fought for our freedom not teach us that we are enough? All I am saying is, be clear about one thing; they are not only watching, but they value what we value. And if we value what is false over what is real…do the math! This is just a reminder that how we present ourselves matters. I have to say, nothing is more beautiful to me than a woman who is naturally radiant, without a stitch of makeup, smiling and glowing like Mother Earth from the inside out! (For help with this, see number 5.)
7) If you don’t like it, lose it!
Here is my other favorite high-maintenance buster: If you don’t like how getting on the scale makes you feel most of the time, get rid of the scale (of course, by that I mean recycle). Give it up and stop making yourself feel bad! If you have some clothes that make you think your butt looks too big, lose those too! This is about self-love, not about reality boot-camp. As we strive to be aligned inside out, meaning that we feel connected to our higher selves and feel pleased with the unique way we look au naturel, we begin to notice certain habits just suck and trigger those old stories. If you are tired of being overweight or having flabby muscles either do something about it, e.g. start a self-care program, or accept what is and learn to love it! Often it’s the simple things like just making a decision not to be mean to ourselves today that make the difference! (Repeat Step One.)
8) Change your focus.
This is one of my favorites because it works so immediately (I dearly love instant gratification, yes, I do). This is where you literally change what you are focusing on. Stop looking in the mirror if you can’t say something nice about yourself. Stop dwelling on what’s wrong with your looks and get on with something else, like finding a cure for cancer or finding a way to help kids get a better education or saving animals or (fill in the blank).
Honestly, at some point, I just got tired of paying so much flipping attention to such relatively inconsequential and superficial things. Seriously, narcissism is a real problem in or culture. Become part of the solution. It’s actually not at all attractive to be so obsessed with how we look. Especially after a certain age, and never mind with all that’s happening in the world. Why not take those $100, $200, or $10,000 you were going to inject into your exterior and make a difference with it?
Personally, I have cut the amount of money I spend on clothes down by leaps and bounds and continue to do so. Clothing swaps are a great way to celebrate and have fun while shopping, for example. Gently worn favorites from another’s closet can be a real prize! We can help turn narcissism into celebration and be on the right track!
9) Do a media cleanse.
Here is another fantastic way to beat the HM blues. Turn off your “idiot box,” as my grandmother used to call it. Stop buying magazines with fake images on the front reminding you of what exactly is wrong with female bodies. Need I remind you, they are not real pictures: those women all have wrinkles and cellulite and are heartbroken and frightened, maybe even more so than you because they make a living being some version of what is not real. I know, it’s not easy, but remember these people spend hours and hours trying to look a certain way so you will buy something, supporting a cultural ideology that keeps consumerism and capitalism in place. Think for yourself for a while. Let your brain have a break from those images.
Try it for a week. You might even find all that time you say you don’t have opens up. The average person spends between 3-7 hours a day watching TV or online doing non-work-related entertainment activities. Start that book or blog you wanted to write. Start a “Save the animals” campaign, or go back to school, or learn a new language. To enhance your experience, see if you can start a group. The possibilities are endless. Bottom line: this is another way to put your precious attention back where it belongs — onto that which is meaningful and real!
10) Tell the whole story.
One of the things I learned to do some years ago was to intercept my mind’s rants and not take the thought at face value. In other words, just because my mind tells me something, it does not mean it’s true. The long-term value of this has been remarkable.
Here’s how it works…
When I hear the thought I’m reacting to, if I can’t simply dismiss it and change my focus, I talk to the voice and ask it to tell me the whole story. One of two things happens: My stronger, more connected self intimidates the pesky little ego voice that habitually runs a loop, or I collect more information until I get to the core. Often the thought is just a habit, but sometimes there is something else underneath, something generally unrelated that wants my attention and love. It’s as though these intense thoughts are code for something deeper.
Keep in mind that we live in a world and at a time where life can feel overwhelming, and when we are out of balance and swept away in a zillion different things our minds short-circuit and tend to go to a default. Just the thought of your higher self taking charge is often enough to get yourself connected back, like a loving parent attending to an unruly or cranky child.
11) Get out of yourself.
So here is the paradox: one of the ways we can get right with ourselves is to get out of ourselves. The emphasis is on which self, of course. The little self that’s small and ego-based, that just makes you feel bad and is self-centered, versus the big self, the inner/outer, grounded and connected to body-soul-spirit self that has a perspective and feels right-sized and in balance. So, when the little self is running off at the mouth or trying to get you to attend to your exterior as a means to feel better, snap out of it and get connected to what’s more real.
Helping others is an easy way to make this shift. Be of service. Do something nice or caring for someone else. It’s so simple but wow, really powerful and a great practice for cultivating joy, peace, and harmony. Write a longer email response than your usual texts. Bring someone a flower you picked from your garden. Buy the person behind you a latte. Or listen to someone else’s story with all your heart! I guarantee you, what you look like will be the farthest thing from your mind!
12) Move your body!
I must confess this is my favorite way to combat the maintenance blues or anything else that arises that wants my attention. Because the body never lies, which means it always tells the truth. This is good to know especially when our mind is busy playing tricks on us or telling us mean things or trying to get us to be someone we are not. So when you are feeling overwhelmed, not good enough, pretty enough, smooth enough, light enough or whatever, take this opportunity to ask your body, “What’s here? What wants my attention?” and then see how it moves. The trick is to wait for it and really listen from that inner/outer connection I talked about earlier.
What is really here, what’s really going on and wants your attention, will arise if you sincerely want to know and create the space for it to come forward. No other work has proved more powerful or has had longer-lasting effects. I have moved some serious energy through my body, emptying what needs up and out, making space for my true inner beauty to shine. Join me on the dance floor at one of my Mbodyment™ classes and I will help you learn how!
From my heart to yours, you are beautiful ALL-ways.
Blessings dear, hearts~
This is Part Two of a two-part series. Find Part One here.