"Stop trying to fix your body image issues and fear, and instead welcome your Inner Guide to be your guide to new perceptions." ~May Cause Miracles
I'll quickly catch you up to the readings that I've been doing. This next week is about body image. Something everyone deals with. It's not just a woman's issue. We all compare ourselves, are exposed to the media and have an idea of what the 'ideal' human body looks like. And when we don't fit that ideal, we feel like shit. We shame ourselves and others, we look at our bodies with contempt, and some of us do whatever it takes to fit into that ideal. It's seriously exhausting. And just plain shitty. These next entries will challenge me, and you, the reader, to look beyond what our bodies look like and instead focus on who we are. What we were put here on Earth to do. We are a vehicle for bringing more love, more joy and more of our talents to the world. Now we just need drop our egos and retrain our brains.
What a concept. Maybe we've been going about it all wrong. Trying to get to the root of our body image issues when we could have just looked inwards, to our Inner Guides. When I was in the middle of my self-hatred in middle school, then again in high school, and in college, and as a twenty-something, and then more when I was in my thirties...I don't know if I would have been able to even hear my Inner Guide. I'm not even sure her voice was big enough. I don't know if this approach would have worked for me then, but I love the idea now. I am able to believe that my Inner Guide will lead me back to love. I'm significantly more evolved than I was back then, when I was starving myself, taking diet pills, making myself throw up. Part of it is the wisdom you gain as you age and part of it is just saying fuck it!!! This is me. If you don't like how my body looks then stop looking at it.
One thing that has helped me focus on what my body can do, rather than on how it just looks, is weightlifting. The added benefit is getting a tighter butt and more defined muscles, yes, but what it has done mentally far outweighs that. Well, most of the time. I won't bullshit you and tell you that I couldn't care less about how I look. I do care. But I also care that I'm strong AF. I can leg press 340 pounds. If that isn't empowering, I don't know what is. To know that I can leg press more than double my body weight is an amazing feeling. I feel strong, and powerful and sexy. And that's just the physical aspect.
That being said, I haven't stepped foot in the gym since February 20, 2015. Falling and shattering my wrist took my physical strength away from me. It's also given me the opportunity to build my mental and spiritual strength. Talk about a lesson in attachment, surrender, and acceptance!!! I've been given this opportunity for a reason, and it's been to go deeper in my yoga practice, to go deeper into my spiritual practice and to release the attachment that I had to that physical strength. We get so caught up in our egos, and how we identify ourselves. When you strip all of those labels away, who are we? Who are you? Mother, daughter, runner, swimmer, weightlifter, teacher, bartender, coach, gardener, caretaker, hairstylist, writer, waitress, yogi, spiritual guide, whatever labels you identify with. If you're not that, then what are you? WHO are you? What false perceptions has your ego been filling your head with? What has your ego told you about your body? That you're fat? Too thin? Too loud? Too short? Too young? Too old? Teeth aren't straight enough? And so many more things that make us feel so much shame.
What if we stopped, just for a minute, got quiet and listened to our Inner Guide? What if, instead, we gave ourselves permission to look just how we look, and still be ok with ourselves? What if we let our Inner Guide do the work, and we realized that this is a body that we have, and that it's not who we are? Who we are is in our hearts, it's how we treat each other, it's the joy we bring to other people's lives. What if we told our egos to fuck off and you're not the boss of me and I'm not here for how my body looks, I'm here because of how my soul looks.
Today I accept my Inner Guide as the inner voice that will lead me back to love.