I love this; I heard it from an amazing yogi recently, and it really resonated:
“You are not your body. Your body does not define you. Your body is the vehicle that carries your mind and spirit. How wonderful.”
And what great news to my ears! I am not my body. This body that I have allowed to define me, to control my emotions and actions for so much of my life, is my vehicle, is what carries me. It is not who I am. I am my spirit; I am my personality; I am my actions; I am life; I am love. I am me.
I have had my image consultancy business for six years now, and in that time I have had hundreds of female clients, along with a handful of male clients. What links each one of them is a dislike for some part, if not all, of their bodies. And every single time it breaks my heart. To see and hear people being so hard on themselves and being so horrible to their reflections is always so sad. Some of them can barely look at themselves in the mirror. And the words they use to describe themselves are so negative and attacking. What brought them to that point? Why do so many of us do this? Where did this epidemic come from, and how has it become accepted behavior to ritually verbally abuse our own bodies? We entered life as a beautiful, clean slate, so how are these feelings shaped?
I know where my demons came from, and many of my clients share similar stories: comments from people in their past; events that have led to over eating; histories of mental damage… to name a few. We carry them with us, and they turn into attacking, negative voices in our heads.
These voices need to be silenced or the words need to be changed for us to find some peace and learn to love ourselves. We need to stop our bodies from controlling and dominating our thoughts.
If nothing else, if we cannot be kind to ourselves, how can we expect others to be kind to us? If we do not like ourselves, how can we expect others to like us? If our children hear us attacking ourselves, they will assume that this is normal and acceptable and will possibly copy our actions.
Just look at the basic, beautiful facts: your body gives you life; your body takes you where you need to go; your body may have created your beautiful children; your body is an amazing piece of engineering. What's not to love?
I encourage you to start with changing your view point when you look in the mirror. Instead of focusing on the bits you don't like, start seeing the good bits. See your beautiful eyes or your curvy figure or your tiny waist. Find something about yourself that you like, and start to focus on that whenever you look in the mirror. Change the tone of your inner voice or just the words that you use, and it will have such a positive effect. Just be nice to yourself!
And keep doing it.
It can take a while to undo the years of negative messages you might have sent yourself, but just work on changing what your inner voice has to say, little by little.
I have found my peace through yoga. It has given me such a wonderful freedom, I wish I had found it years ago, but it obviously was not the right time then. I started to do yoga assuming it was just another type of exercise; I had no idea how much it would nurture my mind. What a truly wonderful gift. I'm not saying that this is the answer for everyone, but I reckon it’s a very good place to start.
If I could grant everyone a gift, it would be to like yourself; you are unique and beautiful, and you are you. You are not your body.