"Wow, you got so fat. What the heck happened to you?" "Why do you even go to the gym? You quit everything you ever start." "Don't bother with the mirror. Of course you look fat." "You know you are the fat one in the group, right? They're laughing at you." "You look ridiculous trying to run." "Why sign up for that? You won't finish it."What do you do? If you're like me, you immediately stick up for your friend. You tell this other person (nicely) that they are being hateful and hurtful and should probably mind their own business or you tell them (not so nicely) to shut their pie hole before you put your fist in it.
Either way, you don't just sit there and let it happen. You protect your friend. And after the idiot leaves, you spend time encouraging and supporting your friend, convincing her that she can do anything she puts her mind to. You tell her that she should sign up for any race she wants and that you will be right there with her to cheer her on. You tell her the only thing ridiculous is being afraid to get out there, to run, to exercise, to make her life better. You make sure she knows that she has the power to make whatever change for the better she wants to make.
In other words, you encourage and support your friend. And you do it because she matters, because she is important to you and you hate to see her struggling or in pain. So why on earth don't you treat yourself with the same courtesy?
How often do you say those words above to yourself? How many times a day do you fill your head with "I can't" or "I won't"? What do you say when you see yourself in the mirror? When you try on clothes? When you get dressed to go out?
You would never let someone else talk to your friend the way you talk to yourself. You would say, loudly and directly, "don't talk about my friend like that." So the next time those negative thoughts come to your mind, send them right back where they came from. Learn to be a friend to yourself. Learn to protect yourself from your own hateful comments.
Is it easy? Heck, no. I've spent a lifetime running myself down, so learning to encourage and support myself still takes work. Old habits die hard, right? But I'm worth it. I deserve to be treated with respect, and that starts with my own thoughts and opinions about myself.
Today, I will protect myself the same way I would protect any other friend. Because I'm worth protecting.