As you approach your middle years, have you ever had a moment in time when you see yourself as others see you? The “real” you. Not air-brushed or flattered. Open and exposed with your with your belly fat, your double chin, your wrinkles, and your sunken eyes.
I did. And so did Winston Churchill.
In 1954, Graham Sutherland was commissioned to create a portrait of Winston Churchill by both Houses of Parliament, for his 80th birthday. This was indeed a great honor!
Sutherland was known as a painter who captured the real person, without any inclination of flattery. The finished portrait appalled Churchill. The honor he first felt was replaced with anger.
The image reflected in the portrait was one of a tired, grumpy, puffy man openly displaying its toll on leading the UK. Churchill wanted a likeness of being brave, fierce and undaunted. Some critics to this day praised the strength of likeness while others condemned it as a disgrace.
Churchill was forced to face his own aging body and mortality through this portrait. There comes a time in everyone’s life when we realize that the way we see ourselves is not what others see.
This was how I felt when I was forced to acknowledge how much weight I had gained since the birth of my second son at the age of 38.
One picture was my defining moment. A picture that still remains vivid in my mind some 6 years later. Suddenly I realized how overweight I had become. I used to be able to mentally block my expanding waistline or perhaps I was simply in denial. Until that one defining moment; when someone else takes the picture. A trick of the light or unfortunate angle, but undeniably there for everyone to see.
Just like Churchill who had his illusion swept away from him and finally stood down as Prime Minister, so too did I take a step back and do something about my ever expanding waistline.
It was not just the weight gain that bothered me. Once I saw that picture, it was like a pandora’s box had been opened. I noticed how my hair was dull and lifeless and I was tired all the time, despite sleeping for nearly 10 hours every night. I was constantly irritable, short tempered with my husband and children. I was a wreck. I had no one to blame but myself.
Churchill had the body of an 80-year-old man. What was my excuse?
Comparing myself to the majestic Churchill may seem strange. But his story is one that resonated with me. That we need to see ourselves in a different light if was are to truly help ourselves grow.
I did not wallow in self-pity when I saw my photo but saw it as an opportunity to change. I was grateful that I still had time on my side. Time to make the necessary changes for a fuller, more vibrant life, with less weight and more energy.
The good news is that for all of us it is never too late to change. But, there also comes a time when we do have to admit defeat and admit that some things are inevitable. To be happy within your body and truly love yourself wrinkles and all is a blessing that eludes many. I urge you to consider the following:
Do not always look for flaws in life. Be wise and kind, and sometimes blind, and you will see the virtue behind them.
It’s my passion to help women find ease and comfort in their later years and help guide them to lose weight and feel great. If you would like to know more you can visit my site at www.menopausewhisperer.com
Originally published at medium.com