Don’t You Love Your Body?

Do you suffer from body shame?

Many women look in the mirror and see nothing but their flaws. They aren’t comfortable in their bodies, even with their partners in the privacy of their own bedrooms. They judge how they look way more harshly than anyone else.

How likely is your body going to maintain its youth, vigor, wellness, and well-being if you abuse it with your thoughts and words? How well does a child flourish in such an environment? How healthy are your relationships when you do nothing but subject the other to constant criticism?

Starving your body of nutrient rich-foods and undertaking minimal movement are just the symptoms of the mental and emotional treatment you are heaping on your body. How well are you going to treat something that you hate, loath, despise, or are ashamed of?

As many teachers will tell you, the answer is to love your body. When you love your body, you want to take care of it. You appreciate it. And the positive, anabolic energy you provide it allows your body to rebuild, regenerate, and remain vital and alive.

When you have experienced long-term body shame, however, trying to go immediately to loving your body feels like a big fat lie. It’s almost laughable. It feels so foreign; it’s just not a habit you can develop easily.

Begin small.

Start by finding one thing about your body you can appreciate. Maybe it’s your tongue. You taste foods well. You are articulate and able to communicate with it. Your tongue never lets you down.

After a few days of appreciating your tongue—even for just 1 minute a day—then find something else about your body to appreciate. Perhaps your hard-working hands. Your hands are going non-stop every day. From throwing off your covers in the morning to picking up your coffee cup, to holding your child—your hands are helping you in so many ways.

Slowly build up so that you can appreciate every part of your body.

You appreciate your toes for providing you balance, and your feet for supporting your body weight each step of every day.

You appreciate your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, and hips for their strength, support, and flexibility as you move about—walking, sitting, standing.

You appreciate your abs, waist, and core for supporting you while you bend and reach. You appreciate your chest as it expands with lungfuls of life-giving air.

You appreciate your back, shoulders, and arms as you lift and carry everything from a sock to groceries, and for the ability to hug and embrace.

You appreciate your neck for supporting your head, and your mouth, throat, and tongue for enabling you to tell your partner you love them. You appreciate your eyes for helping you see the world and for how they reflect your spirit. You appreciate your brain for enabling you to think, and your body to function.

When you get to the point where you can appreciate each and every part of your body—even those parts that you typically judge as “gross” or that aren’t working as well as you would like—then you will know you have mastered loving your body. It will then be easy to look in the mirror and say, “I love you”—and mean it.

Did you notice that everything you were appreciating was about what your body gives to you? It wasn’t about how good you look in a pair of jeans, or how another might judge you. It was about functioning with wellness and well-being. It was about acknowledging the gifts that your body is giving you every moment of every day.

What difference do you think loving your body from head to toe makes in how you treat yourself—and others? How much easier might it be to get up and go for a walk or reach for an apple instead of a cookie? How much more physical and emotional energy might you have?

How does letting go of body shame help you move towards the life of your dreams?

Together we can do it!

Link

For years, I was a semi-closeted dance walker and runner. Under the cover of pre-dawn darkness, I would feel so darn good during a workout that I would spontaneously burst into dance.

Granted, I use the term “dance” loosely as it was really more lurching, lunging, hopping, and jumping my way down the road to the beat of a particularly bouncy song. But I felt the music in me and I just had to move.

I publicly outed myself as a dance walker in an August 17, 2010, blog on transformation.com.

But even at the peak of my dance-walking joy I would instantly resume a more traditional gait at the first sign of another human being because of the fear of judgment. While I was “caught” a number of times, the only person I felt comfortable enough to dance walk in front of was my husband, and even he let me know he thought it was a little weird.

The thing is, any time we inhibit our joy, we are also decreasing our wellness and well-being.

Think about this from an energetic standpoint. Positive emotions generate constructive anabolic energy that literally builds our bodies at the cellular level. And joy pretty much vibrates at the top levels of anabolic energy. If left alone, the natural anabolic state of our cells is optimal wellness.

But when we introduce catabolic energy to our bodies through stress and negative thoughts and emotions, this begins a destructive process that is cumulative over time. The fear of what others may think is about as catabolic as it gets.

So I absolutely loved it yesterday when a friend posted the link to Ben Aaron’s piece on dance walking.

You can bet the next time I feel so good I want to burst into dance walking, I am going to do it proudly!

And I know I’m not the only one who has capped my joy because of the actual or feared judgments of others.

Is the catabolic price you are paying in reduced wellness, well-being, life satisfaction, engagement, and success worth what really amounts to a few moments of judgment on the part of another?

And aren’t those judgments really a result of people stifling their own joy because of the real or presumed judgment of others? What do you supposed is the physical impact of the catabolic energy of judgment?

What it comes down to is a vicious cycle. The way to break it is to fully embrace Who you are and what makes you happy. Expressing your joy will help others find theirs.

What things that you love have you been holding yourself back from enjoying? How can you let go of using what others may think of you as a reason for holding back your happiness? What impact does that have on your body—and your life?

Together we can do it!

Image by Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wellness Tip of the Day

Aside

Wellness Tip of the Day: Relax into your wellness and well-being. Examine and detach from thoughts and beliefs that limit you. Reach for Who you want to be.

You’ll See It When You Believe It

What if the thing holding you back from experiencing optimal wellness and well-being is your belief that you don’t have it?

“Wait a minute,” you might say. “I don’t have those things. How can I believe anything other than the fact that I don’t have optimal wellness or well-being?”

And there is the problem.

Most people approach life with the expectation that they will “believe it when they see it.” They want hard facts, statistics, and reality to back them up. “Show me the money,” they say.

But this defies every spiritual guidance and practice. What is faith other than believing that all things are possible? That when you ask, it is given, and that it is up to you to “believe it and you will see it?”

Often people pray by continually asking for the same thing over and over again. By asking more than once, you are essentially telling All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Source Energy, Higher Coach—whatever works for you) that not only don’t you have the thing you want, but that you don’t believe or have faith that what you are asking for is coming.

The first step to creating optimal wellness and well-being is then to first believe that it is even possible.

This is why it is called a leap of faith. You have to disregard the evidence around you and trust that the wellness and well-being you have asked for is yours. That the process for its arrival is underway—much as you trust that UPS is bringing you the shirt you ordered regardless of the fact that you didn’t watch the shirt being packaged, loaded up on the truck, and going from point to point until it is delivered to you.

And it’s usually not that direct. Achieving optimal wellness and well-being is a process that is measured by continual growth and progress. It is something you are always in the state of achieving, so it’s even more important to focus on the evidence that supports your belief rather than the evidence that does not.

What does optimal wellness and well-being mean to you? How much do you believe that it is possible to achieve? What can you do to begin to embrace the possibility?

Together we can do it!