Recently I have become aware of the meaning I give to my body and what it looks like. For as long as I can remember, I have not liked how my body looked. Nothing was ever good enough. I was either too big, too skinny, not enough muscle, too much muscle, too big of an ass, too small of an ass, etc. I constantly felt like my body was not good enough.
I found ways of feeling good about my body through running, weight lifting, and eventually yoga. I was able to see my body as strong, flexible, and capable of things I never knew were possible. This definitely made me feel more positive about my body and about myself. However, the feeling of my body not being enough was still there. I would beat my body up instead of treat it with compassion and love. Even if I was exhausted, sick or in pain, I would still work out and not listen to my body asking for a rest. Because if I didn’t, then I felt guilt, shame, and even fear. So although I had a more positive attitude about my body, the underlying issues were still there.
Yoga has brought more acceptance into my life in a huge way. It has allowed me to be more authentic and aware of myself. The negative thoughts about eating and body image were becoming more and more apparent. I learned to witness the thoughts and feelings without getting caught up into them (another awesome thing yoga and meditation brought into my life). So last night when I returned home from leading a yoga training, I was sitting on the couch looking at my body. I noticed the roundness of my belly, the curves of my hips and thighs and I was completely detached from it. I was admiring what the shapes looked like. I asked myself, “who said this is supposed to be different?” Why is a straight line more attractive than a curvy line? I started to realize it was all about not accepting and appreciating what was in the present moment. Why are our bodies supposed to be something other than what they are right now? Of course, there are images in our society as to what is viewed as beautiful and not beautiful but remember that is totally culture-dependent. I was so blown away by this “Ah Ha” moment that all those thoughts are just thoughts based on other people’s agreements and not my own. More importantly, I do not have to keep believing those thoughts and there is nothing I need to change about my body or the present moment.
As I sat and looked at my body, I think I was really seeing it for the first time through the eyes of love and not fear and it was mind-blowing. I had never seen this body before. In the past, I was not seeing what was presently before me and I had only seen my body through what others said it was supposed to look like. As I get more and more clarity, I can see that there really isn’t anything to fix and that everything is absolutely perfect in the present moment.