Kindness Is Loving Yourself

Here’s the deal. If we’re lucky, we’re going to grow to a nice, ripe, old age. Even though I imagine most of us are grateful for that, it seems we are also in a constant battle with the consequences. As a result, our body images can take a major hit. 

Most of us struggled with certain elements of our body, starting when we were young. And at that age we could be so insecure and wigged out over so many things. As I’ve aged, I’m happy to have found some level of acceptance with my body. Yes, I have Barney Rubble feet, and my never shapely arms have definitely become even less shapely over the years. But getting hung up on those things does nothing to change them. In fact it can turn into a hamster wheel of driving you crazy.

That said, there are things that I can do to make myself feel better … and feel better about how I look. I’ve met women who put a lot of effort into trying to turn back the clock; and I’ve met women who’ve clearly given up and let themselves go. And neither seem to be really happy with where they are.

I guess I land somewhere in the middle of that. No, I’m never going to have narrow, pretty feet. Even with a bunch of exercise, it’s unlikely I’ll have Kelly Ripa’s arms. And I’ll always have a pot belly. Frankly, I’m okay with that. I have accepted those things, and instead of beating myself up about them, I focus on being the best version of me. I remind myself that I can always recommit and I can always bring what I have let slip back to an acceptable (for me) place.

For me, it’s not so much about how I look, as how I feel. I know that I feel better – physically and mentally – when I’m good to my body … when I exercise regularly and eat healthy.  And, I always put a priority on hygiene and taking care of myself … of what I do have. I get regular pedicures and manicures (or give them to myself at home). I take care of my skin. And while I don’t always wear makeup, I do find that when I actually take some time to get ready (vs. running around in my workout clothes all day), my whole mood shifts. Those little things do matter and can go along way in maintaining a happy, healthy body image.

But it doesn’t stop there. Beauty really does come from the inside out, so you have to take care of your soul too. Do things that make your soul happy. My mother in law dances – sure, its great exercise, but she’s not in it for that. She does it for the sheer joy it brings her. And that joy just exudes from her. Sometimes I just stand outside, with my face toward the sun, and take a deep breath and appreciate the day, my life, my family … fill myself up with that warmth.

Sometimes being good to me means being good to someone else. As I’ve shared here before, I am a big advocate of giving back … finding a way (ever so small) I can give back. In doing so, I’ve discovered the added surprise bonus is it helps to focus my energy on someone else. Sometimes that can change your whole perspective. Volunteer for a charity or do something for someone else. For me it’s CASA. When I spend time helping other people and get the focus off myself, I feel like my whole world opens up. I’m too busy to worry about the minutiae of my own life or whatever else is bogging me down at the moment, and it seems to put my life in a better perspective. 

I’ve never been much of a planner, but I have also found that when I’m feeling blue or have lost the normal spring in my step … I just have to set some goals, make a plan and recommit. I did that a while back with exercise – I committed to going 30 day in a row, no matter what. And man, what a difference that made.

You can get paralyzed in funks or feel like a victim in a situation, which ALWAYS makes me feel TERRIBLE. But I have found that in all things in life, if I’m proactive things will get better. The way out for me is that I make a long list of things to do … too many to actually get done. And then I get started crossing them off. Usually, before I’m halfway down the page, my funk will have passed.

We live in a time that is social media driven. How often do you see people, out in public, posing for what you know is their Facebook or Instragram post. I think it has made us slightly obsessed with how we look in photos, etc. Something to think about …

Speaking of social media, I saw an Instagram post this week that really got me thinking about the role we play in our children’s body images. When I was growing up, my mother was always heavy, but she never talked about it. She didn’t complain or obsess about it, so I didn’t grow up thinking about it. And with my own daughter, my husband in particular would always tell her how bright and capable she was before telling her how cute she was. I think those things matter, and I think it’s important to put a positive image forward … and I have always tried to lead by that example.

This month, as we see hearts and love all around us, I thought we could turn that love around and give a little (or a lot) to ourselves. So I am excited to have partnered with Skin Deep Laser Medspa and Kathy Schuh photography to promote positive body images and celebrate self love in a social media campaign. Let’s focus on ourselves in a positive way.

And as you all join in on our little love fest, PLANK will be focused on it too. We’ll have some fun guest bloggers and I encourage you all to join in on the conversation.

The bottom line is we have one life and one body, and we have to do more than accept it … we have to love it! 




  1. Susan Nolen (Suzzy1969)

    Mary Beth…thank you for this!…..I love all your blogs!….you are always so inspiring to me!….keep up the good work!….always looking forward to your new blogs!

  2. Georgia L

    As I begin my 51st year I have decided this will be my Golden Era. My kids are now 15 and 13 and I have been finally able to concentrate on me. I joined a gym and am fitter than I have ever been. My arms aren’t looking too bad but the fat knees and dimply thighs have been my constant companions for as long as long as I can remember!

    But the whole reason for this change was the beast we know as ‘menopause’. I was flying off the handle and not recognising myself. And having a daughter going through puberty at the same time was a catastrophe waiting to happen!! My mental health needed attention. Getting fit was an added bonus.

    Although being in your 50s sounds old (and my kids will often jokingly call me elderly) it is always better than the alternative of not having the privilege of growing old.

    So here is to enjoying the little things, not sweating the big things we have no control over and taking the time to look in the mirror and give ourselves a little nod.

    Thank you Mary Beth for helping me take a step back to reflect on the positives and give some of those negatives a kick up the butt! Those fat knees and dimply thighs come in handy after all!

  3. Marnessa

    Another great blog Mary Beth! Very inspirational! The women on my mom’s side all have a puff belly. So I am very self conscience of my stomach & have been for long time. I go thru spurts of working out really well & eating right, THEN the holidays come & family gets together & everything goes down hill (this past holiday season went well. Only ate one small serving of everything.) Then it takes me a while to get back into the healthy mode again. It is so amazing that you really don’t know how much of a change you’ve made in your eating until you start eating things you’ve not had in a while. I admit that sometimes I hesitate to eat because it seems no matter what I eat, my stomach slightly swells, & I hate that. As long as I get a yogurt, a piece of fruit or a salad then that’s good enough, right? Don’t get me wrong I have days where i will eat & not care, I’ll walk extra few miles or work out an extra 15 mins or so. I am looking into trying that Whole 30.
    As far as getting into things I enjoy, I’ve had so much in me for yrs & did a lot but then stopped. Realized for long time that I wasn’t happy & was so afraid to accomplishing all that was in me. Now, I’ve been doing Voice Lessons for 3yrs, began Acting Classes back in August & now taking Ball Room/Swing Dance lessons, I also love writing! Doing these things that have been in me since I was a child, is literally a breath of fresh air for me & I LOVE IT ALL! Your blogs are so amazing & truthfully helps keep me going further with all of these things. I want to see what I’m made of & how far I can go. I’ve never had so much determination! THANK YOU!!!!!

  4. Christie L

    And THIS is why Katie said you needed to do a blog. Bravissima! Sing it, sister!

  5. Catherine

    I really enjoyed this post. I am 52 and in the last few years I’ve realized how I have loved everyone except myself. I grew up with a mother who was never “happy” with the daughter God gave her which left me always wanting to “change” myself. Now that I am older, yes, I want to be healthier but more importantly I want to love “me” in the state I am currently not when I lose weight or exercise more but right where I am planted because I’ve spent so many years tying to be someone other than myself. I pledge from today on to show myself love and tenderness that I give away to others and I pledge to do better with my eating choices and get more exercise in but love myself regardless of whether I do those things 1 day or 7 days a week.

  6. Natalie (esq05)

    I don’t do selfies but also don’t run away from having my photo taken. I realize that while I’m not as cute at 40 as I was at 30, I’m gonna look back in 10 years and think, MAN, I looked goooood then. So i try not to live in the past because I realize I will never again look as good as I do NOW. I will never love the fine lines or the grays that have shown up, or the softer body haha, but, acceptance is there and that’s good enough. Thanks for a great post.

  7. Mary Beth,

    Yet another favorite post 🙂 I found this to be very inspiring! I love the theme of loving yourself, and I have found that when I am happy, and liking how I am feeling about myself, it shows in my attitude toward others .

    I’ve used the recommitting idea many times. Not always just for dieting, but for positivity and dedicating time to volunteering time at my church or in the community as well.

    Your blog has really been a tremendous factor in helping me show love toward myself (and many others) again after a rough time, by your sharing amazing stories, and advice about adventure, kindness, family, and love. I’m forever grateful for that.


  8. Cindy Martinez

    OMG….I’m not alone in my funkiness?!? Thanks for being the light at the end of this tunnel. How lovely it is to click on #KindnessIsLovingYourself and see such love and fun.

  9. I love this concept and have enjoyed seeing other’s post on what makes them happy and makes them feel beautiful! It’s helped me put my own life into perspective. I’ve always focused on others and what needs to get done and passed up on a lot of opportunities for myself. This year I have “recommitted” to myself and my motto is “why not?” I’m going to get out there and try new things! Recently at work we discussed four things you can do to make your brain happy: ask what are you grateful for-even the search of something grateful stimulates that part of your brain. Label your negative emotions-name those emotions and your brain won’t be bothered by it anymore. Decide-go for good enough instead of best decision ever. The last one I think goes to all the social media…Touch. Stop texting, posting, etc and reach out to people. I’m really working on the good enough part and trying to stop being such a perfectionist. Here’s to being happy!

  10. Stacey AKA BraveWidowMama

    Body image…I’ve been heavy and I’ve been thinner, never skinny, that isn’t happening to this stout, German girl. You know, I’m always me on the inside.

    I feel for you with the feet situation Mary Beth. I wedged my feet into those 80s f@ck me heels. Now, if it’s not comfortable, I’m not putting it on.

    I think that it’s important to take care of yourself as you age, physically and mentally. Being happy takes work. There are times when you lose sight of your joy. That’s when you need to stop and take stock of all of the good things in your life. During my darkest days, thinking of my beautiful children kept me sane.

    I’ve never thought I was attractive and hate having my picture taken. This will seem odd to anyone who has seen my FB and Instagram because it’s filled with “selfies” with me and my kids and my silly dogs. I document all of our trips and big events. Why would someone as camera-shy as me do this? I do it because I have exactly ONE photo of my grandmother who died when I was 18. She hated how she looked and always ran from the camera. So, I have one photo of this woman I adored with her hand hiding her beautiful face. Well, my future grandchildren will have hundreds of pictures of me, some heavier than I want, but me in all of my imperfect glory.

    I still get my monthly microderm and peel, keep my nails nice, go at that chin with the tweezers, moisturize, and wear a little makeup. I do my best, but 50 is hard to look at sometimes. When it bothers me, I look at my beautiful mother and am humbled by her strength.

    Ladies, the world judges women harshly based upon our looks, our weight, all of that garbage. But, we know what matters. Our children know what matters. Beauty is what is on the inside. It’s a cliche’. But, it’s true.

  11. Marianne

    It’s as if this was written just for me! I struggle constantly with self image and yet I continue to eat the things that I shouldn’t! I am 63 and have a 36 year old daughter who is beautiful (of course!). I find myself grieving for my younger self which I realize is silly but that’s my reality! I’m sure having my daughter, (who is actually my best friend) is a constant reminder of my youth. I am thinking about trying the Whole 30 lifestyle, my food addiction is SUGAR. Would love to hear from anyone who’s tried it and what your experience has been. Thanks!

  12. I was having a few difficulties with this campaign at first but after reading your blog today I can say that I have changed my mind. I truly appreciate that you are focusing on inner beauty as well as outer beauty. For many one’s outer beauty can fade but your inner beauty can be remembered long after you are gone.
    Social media can make us believe that we need to look and act a certain way or you do not belong. I have several physical “limitations” but that does not make me less as a person. I refuse to call my limitations disabilities. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way. To be truly beautiful we need to accept one another for who we are not what we look like.

  13. Barney Rubble feet, ha! Our feet must be friends, because my bff and I always laugh about my Fred Flintstone feet.

    I stumbled across your blog about a month ago and was so encouraged by what I read and watched. You have a unique way of inspiring people in a positive way without making them feel defeated by past failures. I love how you use the phrase “recommit to…[fill in the blank].” You are so right! Everyday I have a choice how I live and act. I don’t have to commit to a year or a month, just a day. Actually, I only have to commit to making a better choice in this very moment.

    Thank you for inspiring me. You challenged me to try Whole30. I convinced my husband to do it with me. It’s so helpful to have someone with me on this journey. It’s been a tough road, but today is day 21 and I’m already feeling so much better!

  14. We have but one life to live and, something I was lucky enough to learn in my 20s, we are responsible for our own happiness. I do my best to be an active participant in that. I think this is a great blog Mary Beth (and Mandy), but this month especially. I like this photo challenge and I’m learning so much about all of you who are participating

  15. MB,
    I had to stop reading for a few seconds and recover from hysterical laughter when I read ‘Barney Rubble feet’
    I love your humility and positivist. You’re truly an inspiration.


  16. What a funk I’m in th is week, MB. I’ve had the flu, and it’s kept me in bed for days (get your flu shot!), and nothing drives you deeper into a funk than being cooped up in one room for days, not seeing the sun. Then you look at yourself in the mirror after all that time and say where the hell did I go? But the one word you used today, recommit, helped! You can always recommit. I do that alot in my life but I’ve never thought of it that way, I’ve always said I’m on a diet day one again. But recommitting has a wholistic meaning for me that perks me up a bit and makes me more hopeful about my body image. This must be why Thursday is my favorite day of the week. Because I know there’s something inspiring waiting for us all.

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