The Power of Clothing to Wage War on Our Minds
It’s crazy how a pair of single item of clothing can hold so much power.
The other day, I earnestly pulled my jean jacket out of retirement, ready to embrace the 70-something “thank God, it finally feels like Spring” weather.
But my high spirits quickly plummeted as I struggled to wiggle my arms through the once loose, now uncomfortably snug sleeves.
Darn it! Yet another thing that no longer fit!
Unable to stomach the shame-filled, weight-gain reminder a moment longer, I yanked off my former go-to garment and hurled it onto the towering donate pile.
As unwanted tears fled my eyes, I sighed deeply and tightly closed my eyes, willing my own escape from the nasty, vicious thoughts that were hell-bent on convincing me that I was “less than” just because my body was now “more than” it had once been.
Gosh, would this ever STOP?
Would I ever be free of this body shame garbage once and for all?
I’ll be honest, Friend.
In that moment in my closet? When I was grappling with the fact that my body had grown?
I felt at war with my body.
It wasn’t that I believed the old body shaming thoughts that flooded my mind.
No, I could see them for what they were: (1) flat out lies that went against what I knew to be true and (2) blatant attacks against the truth-based, body neutral (e.g., “all bodies are good bodies”), affirming narratives I’ve worked hard to adopt and continue to reinforce on a day-to-day basis.
I was able to call their bluff. I knew deep down those body shaming thoughts were complete and utter garbage.
But man, did they still hurt.
They stung because, quite honestly, they still felt a bit true and close to home…for many reasons. To name a few:
- The old body shaming thoughts had been my “truth” for so many years–so there was that whole “familiarity” and “well-engrained” factor.
- And gosh, there are so many past wounds, painful memories, and everyday societal reminders to support the false claims that “fat is bad” and “smaller is better.”
- Oh yeah, and then there was this other troubling fact: I may no longer choose to believe “fat” is bad or less than…but othersstill do. So shame and fear can cause me to wonder, “Holy crap, what will others think? Will notice? Will they judge me? Will they pity me? What will they say about me behind my back?”
Old mind narratives die hard, my Friend.
We can be 100% committed to believing a new story and rejecting an old one.
We can even know to our very core that an old thought is toxic and completely, undeniably bogus.
- It doesn’t mean old stories won’t pop back up again with a vengeance.
- It doesn’t mean the lies you now choose to reject won’t sting or feel untrue.
- It doesn’t mean that the old, well-rehearsed past belief won’t feel truer than the new belief you know to be true at times (particularly in moments of weakness).
Friend, you can expect this kind of battle on the mind–this tug-of-war between old thoughts and new thoughts–when you’re in the process of rewriting your past beliefs and adopting a new, truer mindset.
But don’t let that discourage you and cause you to give up.
BECAUSE HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS:
- The more we honor and practice our new beliefs, the more real and truer they’ll feel.
- And the less we entertain the old beliefs that no longer serve us, the less frequently they’ll pop up (and even when they do, they’ll feel way less believeable).
So, Friend. Here’s your mission this week.
(Now, what I’m about to explain may sound a bit cheesy; but just go with it. There’s huge power in this. Trust me.)
Here’s what I encourage you to do:
- Start thinking of yourself as a MIND WARRIOR. Your task? To DEFEND your mind: to DEFEAT all lies that kill, steal, and destroy and FIGHT for what’s true.
- Visualize your Inner Warrior first thing each day. (Your Inner Warrior is the truest version of you: the one who is free of all baggage, is in sync with the Holy Spirit, and knows God’s truth back-and-forth.) Practice summoning your Inner Warrior each day. Imagine stepping into her shoes. Put on that war paint. Arm yourself with her brave outlook and unrelenting spirit.
- Then condition your mind with this 4-step daily training to prepare for the battles ahead:
Good luck with those 4-steps, Friend. And keep at them to remind that heart and mind of what is true, irregardless of what may feel true. And when those old narratives pop up?
Summon that Inner Warrior to help you fight that battle.
You’ve GOT this, Warrior!
Keep Fighting Forward,
PS: One area where many of us face mind attacks on the regular is related to our bodies. Body shame can be fierce, my Friend. Unfortunately, we can’t possibly avoid all body shame triggers. But we sure can do our part to make our own personal worlds more shame-averse. One thing I’ve found extremely helpful? Having a wardrobe that is (1) free of body-shame triggers and (2) home to items that make me feel confident in my EXISTING body. I want that for you, too.
In my next post we’re going to revisit that wardrobe update we kicked off the other week (by cleaning out our closets). Next up? The FUN part of that closet revamp. Adding in some fun, new items. 🙂