Last week, after having spent hours in front of the computer, I decided to throw on a pair of shorts, unroll my yoga mat and stretch. My goal was to feel better than when I started, but then something unexpected happened.
And then the worst one: No one is going to love you if you're fat.
In a matter of seconds, I went from wanting to lovingly take care of my body to hating myself because my legs didn’t look perfect.
You see, I grew up in the South, where how I looked mattered a lot. I picked up a message that went something like this:
You have to be pretty and thin to be loved and accepted.
It's fair to say I'm not the only woman who learned this message. From the women we see on TV and magazines to the popular girls in high school to the hot moms in the carpool line, it so often feels like everyone else looks perfect: pretty, thin, beautiful and fabulous. I want that, too!
So we convince ourselves that once we lose weight and look a certain way, life will just magically unfold. We spend our lives striving for perfection and become more concerned with how we LOOK rather than how we actually FEEL.
And when we focus more on how we look, there’s no perfection. We keep trying but we never get there. In this quest for perfection, we stop living our lives.
We eventually stop trusting our bodies and walk around with guilt and shame about what we eat, how we eat it, what we wear, what we say, and how we look. These feelings build and build to the point where we're actually at war with ourselves.
Well, this year, I finally gave up on waging war with my own body. I got so tired of playing this old, sad game with myself, so I started to create a new mentality for myself instead. This new thought process was based around one question: what if my body could be trusted?
What if my body was here to guide me but I’d been too busy being a know-it-all, so I couldn’t hear what she wanted to say?
This new little game quickly turned into many more questions:
What is it that I really want right now?
Does my body want dark chocolate instead of fruit?
Does she want meat rather than a salad?
If I knew it were safe, what would be the most delicious, nourishing thing I could eat in this moment?
Through asking these questions, I discovered a new truth:
My body is wiser than my brain.
This sentence is the basis for the new game. The truth is that the thoughts I tell myself are usually complete garbage, but my body never lies.
In this new universe, where I know that my body is wiser than my brain, I am learning to TRUST that I can give up the war and surrender to the wise woman in my body.
We all have a purpose in this lifetime. Our souls are here to grow, to actualize, to teach, to share, to inspire, to love ... and nothing else matters but living an aligned life so we can spread our light in this world.
So when I saw that cellulite on my thighs, I freaked out for a split-second. And then I remembered, I'm beautiful no matter what, and whether I'm bigger or smaller, the amount of AWESOMENESS that lives inside of me right now is incredible. And I'm so glad that all that is within has this amazing home.
And every detail of the way my body looks shouldn't be mine to worry about. She can take care of herself. Today is just today. Tomorrow, next week, next year my body will be different.
Your body is the vehicle for your soul. You must fuel her with care, with inspiration, with fulfilling relationships, with nature, with music, with art, with dance, with community, with passion, with purpose.
More than anything, in order to keep her shining, you must nourish her lovingly with the food she asks for, not the food you think you should give her. Some days that may be vegetables. Other days that may be cheese. Just as your mood changes, the needs of your body change. You must let go of the rules and adapt to the moment.
Trust that your body is always transforming, growing and speaking to you. And the best part? When you start listening to your body, you find out just how willing she is to guide you to your truest path.