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> back to eNewsletter Past Issue List
This issue will take about 3 minutes to read. Issue #07
Bigger than Self-care and Self-acceptance
Coping and Continuing
A Ghost in Your Closet

Bigger than self-care and self-acceptance

This eNewsletter usually has a focus on self-care and self-acceptance. In the light of the tragedy on 9/11, the focus has broadened.

As we cope with the losses and stresses, I see people taking care of each other and helping in whatever ways possible. I also see prayer services springing up that include Christian, Jewish, and Muslim peoples together embracing the unity of the human experience and cultivating acceptance of each other. It is through care and acceptance of each other that we can help break the cycle of terror and hate.

My prayers for all the victims of the terrorism.
My hopes for all the people left behind.
May we find a way to live in peace with each other,
... and with ourselves and our bodies.

Coping and Continuing

You may have noticed the absence of eNewsletters from me since the tragedies on September 11. As I worked with my psychotherapy clients and coped with my own reactions, I had some difficulty knowing what I wanted to say. My apologies for the delay in sending this eNewsletter.

During September, I heard many of the people in my exercise and healthy eating classes expressing a kind of 'survivors guilt'. It seemed as if it felt selfish to focus on these little things in the midst of the bigger issues in the world. Then as the weeks passed, I began to see another attitude emerging. Clients and class members were telling stories of how continuing with their self-care was helping them cope with the stress of recent events. Indeed, by taking better care of themselves, they were feeling like they had more to GIVE to those around them who were in need.

In this spirit of "Coping and Continuing", I write this newsletter on self-care and self-acceptance When we maintain the foundation of a strong self, then we can function better in this world.

I have the pleasure of seeing two communities come together. There are those of us online who get this newsletter, belong to various lists, frequent websites, and use the plus-size resources accessible through the Internet. This "Health for ALL Sizes" online community is a valuable resource. Here in the Philadelphia area, I also see the participants in my local plus-size fitness and healthy eating classes. It is wonderful to see the concepts of self-care and self-acceptance living and breathing in my own local community. In our local "Healthy Eating with Bliss" classes, ideas and topics are developed that I will then include in our eNewsletter. Through this eNewsletter, the online and the local community will be coming together.

Since Halloween is approaching, I thought I would comment on Ghosts...

A Ghost In Your Closet

There may be someone else in your house who has the power to damage your self-esteem. They often lurk in your closet or in a basement storage area. This ghost may be about the same size you used to be. This ghost may be the size you wish you were. You can be plunged into bad feelings just by thinking about this ghost that haunts your closets. Are you saving clothes that you used to wear (or clothes you bought and never could wear), just in case this ghost shows up again? Who is it? It is you. It is the person you used to be when you were thinner and younger, or the person you wish you were when you bought that outfit one size too small. It is the 'ghost of sizes past.'

Every time you wish for the
'ghost of sizes past' to return,
you are criticizing and rejecting
the person who you are right now.
Waiting for this ghost hurts you.

That self-criticism can eat away at your self-esteem.

In the long run, that self-criticism can also drain away your motivation to take better care of yourself. How many years can you stare at a closet full of clothes that do not fit before you become hopeless that they will ever fit? When you are hopeless, what is the use? "I'll never get back into those clothes, I might as well give up." What is it that you give up on? Usually, you give up on eating healthy and exercising.

The ghost in your closet can CAUSE you
to give up on your healthy lifestyle!

Go to your closet and open it. Do you see things in there that you cannot wear because they no longer fit you? How does that make you feel? Remember that feeling bad about yourself sucks away your motivation to take care of yourself. Are you saving these clothes in case you get back to that size again? Even if your body size changed and you end up the same size as these clothes from the past, the styles would have also changed. You would have changed. You are not and will never be the person you were in the past. This is a good thing. Think of all that you have learned, all that you have been through. You should look different than you used to look. Time moves forward. Get rid of the ghosts hiding in your closets that make you feel bad about yourself. You could donate those clothes to charity, give them to a favorite niece, or sell them at a resale shop. These clothes can make someone else feel good. Get rid of clothes that don't fit. It will make you feel better about yourself when you open up your own closet.

On the other hand, when you look in your closet, do you see clothes that do fit you? Do you find the clothes you need to get through your days comfortably? If not, what are you waiting for?

I would like you to imagine that you were in charge of caring for a child. Now, think of this little one who is in your care and notice how you would treat this child? Would you force that little one to wear clothes that do not fit? Would you deny him/her comfortable clothes that look nice?

If you were dressing a little one in your care, you would make sure that little one was dressed appropriately ? even if the little one were going to change body size soon! You would not force a 3 year-old to go without clothes just because he/she will need a different size next year. Even if you expect your body size to change, you deserve to have clothes that fit NOW.

If you give yourself any less, you are subjecting yourself to the same kind of judgment and neglect that would hurt anyone. Perhaps, when you were a child, you were hurt in this same way. Don't continue the damaging pattern.

Go ahead; get rid of the ghosts in your closet and fill your closet with acceptance.

This does not have to cost a lot of money. If you cannot buy clothes right now, just move the things that don't fit into boxes somewhere out of sight and put the things that do fit closer to the front of the closet and drawers. If you have a little money, there are stores with budget prices, resale shops, and clothing swaps. Of course, if your finances allow, it is wonderful to treat yourself to something extra nice. You will find a resource for plus size clothes for men, women, and children at

Having clothes that fit is an experience of self-acceptance. Your experiences affect how you feel. People often ask me "HOW do I learn to accept my body?" There are many answers. There are many paths to self-acceptance. It always helps to take an ACTION toward your goals. Set up your closets and drawers so they are filled with clothes that fit your body NOW. This is one action you can take toward self-acceptance and feeling better about your body. Feeling better about yourself helps keep you motivated to take care of yourself.

Take Care,
Kelly Bliss
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