“I am beautiful.”
#loveyourbody #loveyourself #bodypositive #prioritizeYOU #meFirstthenYou
I was maybe ten years old. I had developed earlier than the other girls in my school. I was shy about it, and probably a little confused as to why I looked different than the other females my age. On a day I can quite vividly remember, a classmate thought it was appropriate to have a conversation about it with me.
Walking in our single-file line to the library, this young girl in front of me stopped suddenly. She turned around with this expression of excitement as if she had a secret she was about to share. With her eyes so big and so blue, she began to examine me up and down. In a movement so sneaky and quick, she extended her hands out in the direction of my chest. Aggressively and uninvited this young peer of mine squeezed my “baby” breasts. She made a face of disgust that I still vaguely remember and said, "Why do you have those?"
I didn’t know the answer yet. I was confused myself. Then again, I didn’t know she was wrong in her behavior. I didn’t know that I had just been violated. The moment shocked me beyond thinking. In my shock and ignorance, I followed the lead in her apparent disgust. I believed that she was right and I was wrong. I was wrong for having breasts, and wrong for standing out.
In that moment and in many more to follow, I began to develop the practice of disowning my body as my own, as well as disconnecting from my sense of Self out of fear that another would deem me “unlovable.” As a teenager familiar with exercise, I found myself working out all of the time. Not eating, then eating everything in sight. In remorse for what I had done, I would go so far as to make myself sick to correct the “wrong.” Every morning I would wake up, hoping that my reflection in the mirror had changed and that some or all of my disowned parts would magically vanish. I learned to reject my body every morning, and lived each day ready to abandon myself in exchange for acceptance.
This is how many of our stories unfold. For some, the beginning is more devastating. As a health and fitness professional, I am approached by individuals who want to abandon their bodies for a better one. They tell me, “I want to get rid of this…” as they lift up their arm shoulder-height and flick their middle finger
against the extra skin under their arm. Others will grab the loose parts of their belly or hips and shake it with both hands. “How do I get rid of this?” they’ll ask.
As a coach, I can lead the way with appropriate diet change and purposeful exercise with the finish line being a trimmer physique. What is the point if you continue to look in the mirror waiting with anticipatory anxiety for those “parts” to return?
We are not whole until we choose to embrace and love all that makes us who we are. This is transformation.
My life changed when I stopped looking for acceptance from others and started asking myself for it instead. I finally stopped caring if I had the “perfect” body, as long as I felt amazing in my body! I stopped caring if someone didn’t like my outfit or my haircut. I stopped caring if my choices offended someone. I learned to care what I felt in situations and to listen long enough to know how to respond.
Imagine what it would be like to look into the mirror and feel enamored by what you see. Imagine what it would feel like to find yourself joyous at the sight of your own smile reflected back at you. Imagine going through life feeling free in your body. Imagine feeling grateful for how far you’ve come.
What do you want to experience that has a hold on your heart? The life you want to live is a choice and a thought away. You are that close to your New Life. Believe me, with a mindset of love, the body of your dreams will come. In love, the dreams you have for your life will find you.
As American Tibetan Buddhist, Pema Chodron, says, “Start where you are.”
1. Accept first that it is okay to feel uncomfortable. Let go of what you want and be with what is right now. Think of your body as your child for a moment. Would you criticize a child for their “imperfect parts?” I imagine you’re thinking that a child has no imperfect parts. Such is my point. Neither do you. The only reason you feel that you are imperfect is because you are judging yourself and probably the choices that “got you here.” Let go of that bull shit. You are here now, and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
2. Be willing to act with Love, not discipline. Nourish yourself with food, do not deprive yourself of it! Instead of allowing the thought preceding a meal to be, “Is this going to make me fat?” Instead ask, “In this moment, will eating this nourish me?” Listen and respond to that answer.
3. You are not what you eat. You are how you eat. Breathe between bites. Taste your food. Enjoy it! The stress of dieting and eating to prevent weight gain in the name of a better body can create a distressed mental state. A distressed mind is a distressed body. A distressed body is primed to run from a tiger, not digest and assimilate food. GET OFF OF YOUR DIET. Bless your food with a thought of gratitude, slow down and enjoy the goodness of each bite. Your body will thank you.
4. Relax, and enjoy the process. This is your greatest opportunity to learn how to best love YOU! Sometimes our thoughts are the only thing holding us back from experiencing everything we’ve hoped for. By changing your mind, your body will follow. By trusting this process, so will your life.
We all experience some degree of pain or trauma in our lives. Each one of us can carry the weight of these experiences quite literally. We do have a choice. We can let go of that weight. Permanently. We can interrupt the negative self-talk and choose to nourish our minds with loving and supportive thoughts. We can let go of the deprivation diets and instead choose to nourish our bodies with heavenly, delicious food. And we can finally let go and nourish our spirit by jumping two feet into the life we always wanted for ourselves, but were too afraid to live.
Do it now.
Look in the mirror today and greet the person who looks back at you. Introduce yourself as the New You, and tell that mirror what you see.
If you remember nothing else today, remember this:
You are whole. You are perfect. You are beautiful. You are beyond this world amazing.
Go out into this world and live that truth.
We’re waiting for you.