Ouch! What To Do With Negative Thoughts About Your Looks

A few years ago I was the speaker for a women’s event at the Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle.

The topic was, of course, The Work of Byron Katie.

I had everyone in the audience (there were about 100 women) fill in Judge Your Neighbor worksheets on one situation that really bothered them, maybe for a long time, in their personal lives.

I noticed something interesting, and yet not at all surprising, when I asked for volunteers to share what they had written.

Seven out of ten of the volunteers wrote about something being wrong with their weight, body, appearance, or how they ate.

One woman said she hated the way her butt looked, and her size. Another said she hated her wrinkles at age 60, and that they kept getting “worse”.

Yesterday, I was interviewed (yes, the second time in a week, weird I know) by a wonderful friend and colleague Audra Baker who works with women in nutrition, fitness, exercise and finding freedom and love in all these areas.

She sought me out to share with her peeps about undoing some of the core beliefs about appearance….one of my favorite set of beliefs to undo.

She bravely used her own belief to show the audience how The Work can work.

Her painful belief?

My weight should be my ideal weight.

At the women’s conference at the Center for Spiritual Living I heard these thoughts: my wrinkles are ugly, my thighs are too big, my arms are to jiggly, my belly is too fat, I look too old.

Often, I hear people get angry at themselves for even HAVING these thoughts in the first place….I should know it doesn’t matter! I’m more than a body! I refuse to be so superficial!

But have you noticed, the mind will run these thoughts anyway, despite your best efforts at controlling these kinds of thoughts about your appearance?

So let’s dive into them, look at them head-on, and see what happens.

Your weight (you fill in the blank for what you find unattractive about yourself) is NOT the right weight for you.

Is that true?

Yes! I saw my body! I walked by the store window, I looked at myself in the mirror, I tried on my old jeans. All these prove that this is true!

But can you absolutely know that it is true? If you were all of divine consciousness, if you saw with the eyes of the absolute and infinite?

Are you positive your weight is not ideal?

Are you sure your body is ugly, unattractive, or that it will send people running for the hills? That people won’t find you beautiful? That it means there’s something wrong with you, or that you’re flawed?

No. I can’t know any of this is true.

How do you react when you believe the thought that what you saw in the mirror was repulsive, wrong, ugly, droopy, fat, thick, too big, too small, too old?

Depressed, discouraged.

All the women I’ve ever done The Work with answered that they felt small, shrunken down. Sometimes they wouldn’t even go out to a party, or to the beach, or walk down the street happily. They’d cover their bodies up.

They’d shrink.

So now the big beautiful question….who would you be without that belief? Who would you be without the thought that what you saw to be wrong, actually IS wrong?

If you couldn’t even THINK that thought when you saw that reflection in the mirror? Or when you saw the scale read a number you don’t like.


During our interview, Audra said without that thought, her whole mind expanded, her consciousness grew infinitely bigger, she felt lighter.

A weight lifted off her heart.

I saw her put her palm to her chest, so touching.

I noticed I had the thought just the other day putting lotion on my face that my skin really was looking old and very wrinkled around the eyes.

Without that belief that there’s anything wrong with that, my actions move on to the next thing, I don’t avoid anything, I flow with the space of the day, the joy of being alive.

I notice that what’s inside, the deep inner center space inside, could care less.

Turning the thoughts around: What I’m seeing is gorgeous, ideal, perfect for now.

These wrinkles, this weight, this butt, this stomach should be exactly the way it is. It’s a GOOD thing.

How could this be true? Can you find three examples?

My wrinkles give me wisdom, the authority of someone a little older, I move beyond appearance because it’s too late to be involved with that (ha ha!), I surrender to the knowing that this physical, natural thing (this body) softens, bends, moves.

I see the groves of the canyons and mesas I see in Colorado and how phenomenally stunning they are. I notice I don’t believe the valleys, rivers, lines and canyons should not be there.

These wrinkles are absolutely beautiful. This weight is ideal. This butt, this stomach, these thighs, these arms, this body…all so stunning, miraculous, sensual, alive.

Live that turnaround! Oh happy day!

“Too fat, too short, too tall, too thin…bad, bad, wrong, wrong!… Every body is perfect, Now. Every body is perfect, NOW. It doesn’t mean it won’t change, but for now, this is the body you need to be you…..There’s a perfect thing going on here, there’s not one thing out of order.” ~ Byron Katie

Really considering what is good about this state of this body, in this moment, today, is the most heavenly feeling of liberation.

Freedom from all these thoughts of how the body needs to change, in order to be truly happy. Freedom from concern about ugliness, rejection, fear.

Can you find your good reasons for your current body being the way it is?

Share them on the Grace Notes page, I’d love to read your turnarounds!

Much love, Grace

P.S. I’m cooking up an intensive in-person immersion in The Work on the Body and Beyond…the spiritual path of unraveling your stressful thinking. More on this very soon in Grace Notes.

6 Replies to “Ouch! What To Do With Negative Thoughts About Your Looks”

  1. Fabulous to read your comments here, thank you for sharing. Rather than avoid that image in the mirror, connect with it even deeper, right now, and love it. Beautiful! Love, Grace

  2. Nancy,
    Your comment is so helpful to me to remember. Right there, in the very worst of it. That’s where it’s needed. If not there, my work isn’t done. Thanks.

  3. My belly’s too big. It sticks out too much.
    Thousands (millions?) of pictures of women in fashion magazines don’t have bellies like this–yes, it’s true.
    Of course, I know the fashion industry is crazy, and YES.
    W/thot: I believe I can’t find pants to fit. I slump. I don’t pay attention to the person in front of me. My body is broken up into good parts and bad parts–it doesn’t flow together.
    WO/thot: I buy pants that fit!
    I can’t pretend I’m a model in a photo.
    I’m in tune with most of the bodies I see around me.
    I don’t feel like watching TV.
    I feel like going to the beach.
    TA: My belly’s not too big. How is it perfect? Well. I’m not young anymore. I’m softer, rounder. Softness and roundness seem okay. Other people don’t have as much reason to be jealous of me/I don’t have a flat stomach to feel superior about. This is how this body ages–this way, not another way.
    TA: My thots are too big. Duh! Around this and other bodies.

    I just read about summer camps where the campers aren’t supposed to comment good or bad about other’s looks. I participate in painting workshops where no comments good or bad are tolerated. What a relief.

    I notice that this “looks” business is rampant in my mind: cars, clothes, bodies, gardens, art. How something looks. Something to look at. :)

  4. Hi Grace,

    I love your notes even if I don’t comment often.

    A thought occurred to me the other day. I had smoked heavily for over 25 years. After MUCH struggle with it for years, I finally quit about 15 years ago.

    I was remembering that experience the other day. At that time it dawned on me that the only way I could quit would be in the middle of a cigarette, in the middle of a pack, in the middle of a carton, in the middle of a crisis, in the middle of a depression, in the middle of a fight, and right in the middle of every excuse I had every used to smoke.

    I finally realized that if any of these excuses were absent at the time I was trying to quit, I would somehow consciously or unconsciously stir it up just so I could have a damn cigarette.

    As I was reading your note on weight and body issues today, I finally started to understand.

    If I ever want to love my body, it will have to be in the middle of a fat body, in the middle of saggy boobs, in the middle of wrinkles, in the middle of cravings, in the middle of seeing the number on the scale, in the middle of broken heart, and right in the middle of every other excuse I have ever used to hate my body and my weight.

    Hmmm… so I guess right now would be a good time to Love What (my body) Is.

    Thanks Grace
    Love To You
    Nancy Allsgood

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