15 Jul The real meaning of ‘body love’ and how to achieve it
Last night I snuggled up to my husband, totally naked, for the first time in about 2 years. And being comfortable with it (as in, not silently crying inside because the itch and skin contact was overwhelming me)? That would be about 4 years or more.
THIS is what I call “body love”.
Sure, I’ve gained a few pounds recently – you can see my love handles here. But so what? My weight has yoyoed vastly on this journey – mostly on the skinny and wasting away side, but I’ve also had a few chubby moments. More so recently, as I get better and better.
My point is, I’M SO OVER the idea of “body love” for a bit of extra flab.
Now before I get totally lynched I do want to say I HEAR YOU, because we are born into a world where perfection is everything, where the media screams at us 24/7 that WE’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH in every possible way, and where as women in particular, impossible beauty standards are chucked at us repeatedly until we haven’t got a rat’s chance in hell of remotely measuring up.
Recently I saw one of those “celebrities without makeup” posts, and for a change I clicked on it, out of pure curiosity. Without fail, ALL of the non-makeup posts were pap photos snatched in terrible lighting as they were no doubt rushing to do their own, daily errands while feeling the stress of unwanted attention. In contrast the make-up shots were all professionally-taken in carefully controlled lighting, with FULL make up (like the sort that takes hours to apply by a professional artist).
Isn’t it sad that we’re so taken in by this? That we allow it to trigger us?
Isn’t it SAD that our egos are SO FRAGILE that we can’t even remember that a celebrity is just another human being like ourselves? That they have their own bag of insecurities and issues?
On my healing journey, I’ve come to appreciate my body exponentially for the way it serves me every day. The way it moves through the healing process, regardless of how much I try to sabotage it. The way it shows up, day after day, ready to do whatever it needs to. The way it KNOWS instinctively what it needs, and communicates to me accordingly.
So although I am definitely on the job of shifting those extra pounds and toning back up again, I certainly don’t feel guilty or ashamed or LESS THAN.
To me, much of the Body Love message is still about how you LOOK rather than how you FEEL. Which is not only SAD but also MISLEADING.
I have come across so many women on my healing path who I’ve envied their trim body and beautiful, smooth, lustrous skin. And guess what? Every single time I find out they have INTERNAL health issues of one kind of another – IBS, allergies, food intolerances, adrenal fatigue, PCOS and more…
In a way, though my healing journey has been the hardest thing I may EVER have to endure, I feel lucky that I can literally SEE my body eradicating all the crap, all the toxins and stress and internal damage. In a way, it has brought me full circle in loving my body.
Of course, it would be remiss of me to say I have never hated my body.
When I’ve been red, burning, itching like someone crazed, unable to control myself until I finally fall into an exhausted slumber for maybe half an hour. And then it starts again, as I bloody my sheets and fill them with dead skin. And the laborious and traumatic process of getting dressed or undressed every-single-day – well, I can’t even bring myself to go there.
Because the truth is, even in those moments now I can find the love. And I do everything I need to to find comfort and support my healing – not just externally but also internally.Body love is an inside job. Click To Tweet
Whenever I’ve gifted myself intense periods of visualisation, meditation, pranayama and mindset work, soon after I’ve reaped the physical results. Yes, I’ve actually turned around INTENSE flares within a few weeks.
However, for me that’s a bonus. Because it’s so easy to be MISERABLE with any kind of chronic condition. It’s so easy to make excuses and opt-out of life. It’s SO EASY to hate your body because it doesn’t conform to your narrow expectations of what is truly possible. The real alchemy is in actually doing the work, not to LOOK better, but to FEEL better, from the inside.
Believe me, I KNOW – I lived this shitty lie for 33 years!
And then I took control. And at pretty much every single step along the way I doubted myself, and I questioned what I was attempting, and I frequently berated my body for apparently giving up on me.
But then I realised something miraculous: healing truly happens from the INSIDE.
And the external manifestation responds to whatever you’re ‘feeding’ it energetically – whether it’s through
- The food you give it (because all food is mere energy, and not the calorie kind!), or
- Your automatic thoughts (“I hate my thighs”, “why do I always overeat?” etc), or
- The quality and consciousness of your breath (shallow, arythmic, restricted), or
- Alignment to your intuition and core self (double-guessing, overanalysing, regretting decisions), and
- Your connection to others and the universe (envy, mistrust, lack).
When you line up each of these energetic pathways, you CAN’T FAIL but to be healthy, inside and out. It may not be ‘easy’ and it WILL take effort to stay on track (and you WILL fall, stall and lose your way) but the rewards are truly mindblowing!
True body love, from your very core and radiating ALL the way out.
Your skin may still have breakouts. Your thighs may still be wobbly. Your breasts may still be droopy.
WHATEVER! The magic is, the MORE you do the INNER work, the more you are going to see consistent, external results.
So if you’re berating your body today, for its pain or discomfort or heaviness or the way it LOOKS, then I invite you to ask yourself a few questions to help start a new story for yourself:
- How is my body serving me right now?
Think of ALL the ways, right from its automated systems of breathing and pumping oxygen to every cell, to supporting you in your current activity – even if that’s just sitting on the sofa!
- Where in my body do I feel comfortable and at ease right now?
Look carefully for even the tiniest part of you, such as an earlobe or toe. If there are bigger parts which feel great and relaxed, then take your attention and curiosity there.
- How can I bring that sense of ease to the parts that currently feel tight, uncomfortable or in pain?
Tip: set your intention, then breathe into it deeply, sending that intention on the waves of breath directly to the area in focus. Let go of the ego crap that comes up. Know that your reptilian brain is trying to ‘save’ you by making this appear hard. Just breathe through it, again and again and again.
Body love is an INSIDE job. And your body responds BEST to high vibrational energy. So send it a whole lot of that today, and see what happens…
Me? I’ll be enjoying more naked cuddles with hubby. Just because I can.
[this article also featured on HuffPost on 12/07/2016]