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Monday, June 14, 2010


Be Nice to Yourself

I was never cheerleader material. Back in high school, I secretly wanted to be one, but was too much of a dork. Borderline nerd. It didn’t help that I was a size 11/12 and the rest of them were size 4 at the largest. The only time I’ve been a “4” was 4T, for “toddler.”

Maybe it’s the spring weather, but it seems everywhere I turn, I hear somebody talking about how fat they are, how crappy they look in shorts, etc. Skinny and “perfect” images hit us from every angle, on TV, in magazines, billboards and radio ads. Where does it end?

Where does it begin is the better question. It begins with us. (This is where the cheerleading thing comes in, in case you were wondering.) Personally speaking, I am my own worst enemy.

I put off becoming a personal fitness trainer for years because I didn’t think I “looked” like a trainer. Says who? Hollywood, who embraces lollipop girls like Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton? The media, who bombards us thousands of times each day with unrealistic images? Society, who tells us we need to be skinny and beautiful to be successful? Why on earth do we care what “they” say? Doesn’t being fit count for anything? Do we all really need to look like the airbrushed models on our favorite magazines?

My poor mind used to get battered and bruised from all the mental anguish caused by yours truly. It’s as if I was playing football against myself—tackling, rushing and head-butting me, myself and I. I didn’t need anyone else to do it for me.

Would you ever say to your best friend the things you tell yourself when you look in the mirror? I don’t think so. What would you do if I came up to you and said, “Oh, my God. You’re so fat!” or “Your butt is, like, its own continent!” You’d either slap me, tell me where to go, or start crying. If it’s not okay for someone else to talk to you like that, why on earth is it okay for YOU to talk to yourself like that? It’s not.

The point I’m trying to make amidst all this rambling is that you need to be your own cheerleader. Root for yourself. Part of my job as a trainer is to uplift my clients. “You can do it.” “That was awesome!” “One more rep.” “Don’t stop now.” “You’ll get there.” But who’s going to cheer you on?

Promise me you’ll quit belittling yourself. Life is hard enough, isn’t it? When you look in the mirror, focus on what you do like. When you’re discouraged or frustrated, pat yourself on the back and remember that each of your accomplishments, however small, is a big deal.

One more thing… You look fantastic.

Author’s note: Short skirt, ponytails and pom-poms not required…

unless, of course, you’re into

that sort of thing.

Rebecca Clark has wanted to write romance novels since she read her first Harlequin Romance at age 11. When she’s not writing, she works as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor, where she teaches Pilates, Turbokick®, Zumba®, and yoga. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of 22 years, two kids, a German Shepherd beast who thinks he’s a lap dog, two cats, and a gecko. In her abundant free time, Rebecca enjoys reading, watching Criminal Minds reruns on TV, and doing absolutely nothing.


Diane said...

Aside from making yourself just feel bad, talking negatively about yourself and to yourself can actually make you sick. So be your own best friend and stay healthy!

Donnell said...

Rebecca, well said, and congratulations on your fitness routine and surviving those size 4s.

Keena Kincaid said...

Excellent reminder about our need to be nice to ourselves when we look in the mirror and when we sit down to edit a WIP. Keep to your fitness routine. Healthy is better than super skinny anytime.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Diane--I think we'd all be shocked if we could actually record our self-talk--for many of us, the majority of it would be negative.

Donnell--I don't think my skeleton is a size 4, so I no longer strive for that. Okay, so I've never tried to be that size...

Keena--You're so right about being nice to ourselves as writers, too.

Beth Trissel said...

Terrific post, Becky, and on such a vital topic. Fitness is vital. Being skinny is not. Good nutrition, rest, and exercise are so important as you wisely pointed out. I truly despise that our country upholds the models and actresses who look half starved and probably are as perfect images of womanhood. It's so detrimental. If one of them chooses to look curvy in at all a normal womanly way, they are jeered, even fired. Why do we demand this of women? We didn't used to.

Marianne Evans said...

Rebecca, what a wonderful post. Self-esteem issues, physicality, it's all linked irrevocably to our state of HEALTH - what a wonderfully written reminder to stay HEALTHY - not gorgeous, not stick skinny, not perfect - HEALTHY. Blessings ~ Marianne

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Beth--I couldn't agree more. A friend's bro-in-law is editor of a French fashion mag. He told us that even the "perfect" looking, skinny models aren't perfect enough. They're all air-brushed. Sigh.

Marianne--Yes. It's all about being healthy and feeling good about who we are.

Beth Caudill said...

Yeah, I'm not sure what I'm worse physical looks or my writing and talking down on myself.

Then again, I was never a cheerleader type girl. I was a band geek.

Caroline Clemmons said...

We live in an area where there are only two sizes--two large and anorexic. I geel so sorry for girls who are either of these. I used to worry about my size. My husband reminds me that healthy is more important than thin. What a guy, right? I think Popeye the sailor said it best, "I am what I am."

Good thought-provboking post.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Great advice, Beth! Especially about how we'd talk to others, so why would we be so mean to ourselves. Some days it's work, but reminders always help.

You look fantastic, too! :)

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Beth C--I'm bad at negative self talk too, more so with my writing than with my looks now. That's the good thing about getting older--I've become less shallow that way. :)

Caroline--What a great husband you have. And you're right: it's all about being healthy, not about being skinny. There are a lot of very unhealthy skinny people at my gym. They might look good, but I can run circles around them. :)

Stacey Joy--A good reminder is to write down some positive statements about yourself on an index card or post-it note. Read it throughout the day. Pretty soon, those words will become thoughts, then all of a sudden you're speaking kindly to yourself.

Anne Barton said...

Loved this post, Becky. Negativity isn't good for the writing, so it's got to go! Cheers--to health and happiness!

Mary Ricksen said...

You are so right. Your head has to be in a good place or nothing works well. And a sense of fierce pride doesn't hurt anything.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Anne--Negativity isn't good for anything. If we're not healthy and fit, it's hard to be positive in other areas of our lives.

Mary--Oh, what I would give for my head to be in a good place at all times. I spend much of my life running around looking for it. :) And yes, pride in ourselves and our work is vital.

Laurie London said...

Great post, Beck! My husband went to school with guy who is an international male model (no, I'm not talking Zoolander). He married someone who isn't a model because he doesn't like that look and said those women are too worried about their bodies all the time.

Besides, they're all air-brushed anyway. We're comparing ourselves to something that's not even real.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Laurie--You're talking Doug with the beautiful eye lashes, right? LOL I've never met him, but I like him already, hearing that he doesn't like that look. Yay to him.

Margaret Tanner said...

Nice blog Rebecca,
We should be happy with the body God gave us, is the way I look at it.



C.J. Redwine said...

Loved the post! :) And you're absolutely gorgeous, inside and out.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Margaret--I couldn't agree more.

C.J.--You know I love you, right?

Nicki Greenwood said...

Great post, Rebecca - do you make house calls to NY? LOL! CJ's right, that is an awesome picture of you.