You look in the mirror; you hate it. You give birth to your baby; you love it. You try on your bathing suit; you hate it. You finally feel better after a nasty flu; you love it. Your pants are too tight; you hate it. You feel proud of your workout; you love it. Up and down, up and down, over and over again.
For many of us there are far more downs than there are ups and the dysfunction in the relationship can sadly last a lifetime…
A couple of weeks ago I took my daughter swimming at our local YMCA. We were getting changed beside a couple of women (who looked to be in their mid 70s) having a friendly post-workout conversation. One was talking about her recent ski trip and the other her upcoming hiking expedition.
I loved listening to them and marveled at their active lifestyles. I was also happy that my 4 year old girl could witness these women, at their stage of life, exhibiting joy, power and strength in their bodies.
Just then one of them looks in the mirror and says with a tone of disgust ‘Ahhh! I look like such a chunky monkey today!’ “Tell me about it” says the other woman in response, ” I just ruined my day. I stepped on the scale!” They proceeded to talk about their guilty food indulgences, their diet plans and their ‘problem areas’. A familiar conversation, one I have had hundreds of times before.
My heart sank.
Age, shape, size, level of activity; none of these define the problem women have with their bodies. There is no physical external measure that indicates the end of this struggle. I see beautiful, smart, creative, wonderful women of every shape, size and age in my therapy office who are all embroiled in the struggle with their body and clinging to the holy grail of weight loss as their one chance to arrive at peace with their body.
We are taught in our culture that we can only truly love our body if it appears in the world within a very narrow range of acceptable clothing sizes. However, even then, even if the weight comes off, we often still feel it is too flabby, too bumpy, too dimply, too pale, too old, too, too, too.
If you can’t love your body now then when will it happen for you? When will you allow yourself to delight in it’s movement, it’s strength, it’s healing powers, the gift of it’s senses? Will you be in your mid 70s fabulous, active, healthy and still miserable about how you look?
The truth is that until we fundamentally shift our willingness to love ourselves; body, mind, and spirit (as we currently are) there will always and forever more be something that is ‘not enough’ about us.
That doesn’t mean we need to reject change. We can have goals. We can pursue something we desire but to find peace we need to let go of the belief that our very worthiness depends on it.
Can you even imagine the freedom that could be found if you believed you were okay, just as you are, right now in this moment? What more could you be doing? How else might you be spending your time and energy? What more could you be experiencing?
During this Valentines season try to move out of the dysfunctional relationship with yourself. Make a commitment to yourself that you wont say anything mean out loud about your body and make a promise that if you catch yourself thinking something mean you will offer your body an internal apology.
Let this Valentines play out like a beautiful love affair with yourself. Take yourself on a date, surprise yourself with sweetness, say nice things to and about yourself and finally commit to love, only love.
Transform your relationship with your body.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12312740@N07/2309274411″>il mio cuore dentro al tuo</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>