Original Post: March 23, 2015
'Body Image. Our bodies are a vehicle for spiritual growth and healing.'
I knew just by the title of the next section of this book that things were going to start getting deep. What a loaded topic. If you're a woman, you've struggled with body image in one way or another. This section is going to bring up some shit and hopefully replace it with loving and healing messages.
"Each time we perceive our body with judgment or attack by comparing it to other bodies, we are separating ourselves from our truthful state: love." ~May Cause Miracles
"The ego uses the body to further separate us from love through mental and physical abuse and unhealthy lifestyle choices. It persuades us to believe that we're incomplete and lonely, then leads us to fill our body up with too much food, too much booze, too much sex--or deprive and starve our body as punishment." CHECK. CHECK. AND CHECK. We have our work cut out for us.
One of the hardest things about getting sober has been taking an inventory of past behaviors, of my fears, of how I've mistreated myself and others, and now of all the ways my ego has used my body wrongly.
We carry around so many beliefs about our bodies, and with that so many fears. This is all ego setting us up for self-loathing and negative thoughts. Throughout the years I've gathered quite a few: I can't get fat. I'll get cheated on if I'm out of shape. I'm never going to look like those girls I stare at on Instagram. (I've since stopped following those accounts that just make me feel bad about myself.) I'm getting chubby because I can't workout right now. I don't look good unless I'm a certain size. I'm unlovable unless I'm perfect. My tummy is too round. I need to restrict my food when I'm not working out. I'll never do handstands/arm balances/inversions again. I won't be able to teach yoga. My thighs are too big. ALL LIES, AND ALL FEARS.
I'm so sick of this voice in my head telling me all of these negative things. But it's not just inside my head!!! It's been people throughout the years body shaming me, advertisements, media, movie stars, magazines, friends, even family! We see so many reasons why we aren't good enough. I get discouraged and just want to eat cupcakes in bed all day. (Mmmmm...cupcakes...)
Then the ego starts to convince us that other bodies are more special than ours, or that ours is more special than others. And we say to ourselves, "At least I'm not like that girl." Or, "I'm stronger/hotter/thinner/prettier...at least I'm sober/work out/have big boobs/better hair than..." Or just as bad is, "She's hotter/younger/smarter/taller/in better shape than I am." "Look at those abs. I'll never look like that. She's way better at yoga/soccer/dance/doing her hair and makeup...than I'll ever be." It's ugly but it's true. Unless we really look at this, dissect it and learn about it, we'll keep doing it. And it just ends up being a really vicious cycle. How are we supposed to support one another, love one another and ourselves if this is what's going on in our heads?
I've spent YEARS of my life hating myself. I was depressed and suicidal. On anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety meds. Sad, lonely, feeling like complete shit about myself. And then I acted these out by hurting myself in every way possible: drugs, alcohol, irresponsible sex, cutting, dieting, starving, bingeing, purging, sleeping too much, sleeping too little, working out too much, not working out at all. I'm sure there's plenty that I've forgotten.
Over and over again my ego told me that I wasn't good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough, tall enough, thin enough, not enough. Never enough. It wasn't until after years of therapy and introspection that I found the strength to quit harming myself, found stillness and the voice finally started to quiet down. It's still in there some days, loud and clear. But through reading, meditating, listening, yogaing, and lots and lots of journaling I have been able to finally figure out that I don't have to listen to the ego. The ego is a fucking liar and makes me miserable, and miserable to be around. I'm ready to be done with that in my life. I'm ready to bring in love, bring in happiness and watch cat video and eat as many cupcakes as I can before giving myself a tummy ache.
Cupcakes that I happily eat in bed with my cat while I quit giving a shit about all of the other stuff.