There is a voice in my head – it is a constant monologue of ‘shoulds and shouldn’ts’ – “You shouldn’t eat that cookie”, “You should probably work out some more”, “ You shouldn’t wear that because it makes you look fat”, You shouldn’t even bother trying on a bikini, it’s going to look gross anyway.” “You should maybe just stop eating for a month” Then there is the downright mean bully voice “Your body is not meant for sexy clothes, just deal with it” “What happened to you? You used to be so sexy?” “Don’t wear anything tight, it will show all your flaws”….BLAH… Have you ever heard a voice like that, saying things like that to you?
I never used to question where that voice, or voice(s), came from – but on the road to self discovery and more importantly, positive body self-image, I realized that I had the choice to question that voice in my head and start figuring out where it came from and why I thought I needed to believe what it said.
Is Knowledge Helping or Hindering You?
The positive body image movement is not new and it’s growing FAST, and I’m thrilled for that. But, I’ve often wondered: ‘Am I the only one who still hears those voices, even though I know they aren’t telling me the truth?’ There is a difference between ‘knowing’ something in your mind and knowing it in your heart. Knowing something in your mind is easy enough to do. Read enough self-help books, spiritual books, body positive books, and other types of literature like that, and you’ll have a whole arsenal of self-improvement projects at your disposal.
Initially, it feels fantastic to have all of this new knowledge. But, what we don’t often talk about is how, even with all this new knowledge, we can still find ourselves crying in a heap on the floor because those pants from 5 years ago STILL don’t fit, in fact, they don’t fit even less than they didn’t fit last week when we tried them on and fell apart – again.
We are still repeating our patterns of self-destruction – over and over again. And then the shame sets in AGAIN because we cannot believe we are still in this place after all we now know.
No, There Isn’t A Magic Bullet
Knowledge is one thing, integrating it is an entirely different process and it is not a magic bullet, overnight experience either. It is something that is gradual, gentle and is something that becomes a lifestyle, rather than a ‘thing’ to fix the ‘thing’ that is wrong with you.
You see, even with all those books out there and body positive messages, we still come at it in an unhealthy way. We warrior forward wanting to fix something that we feel is broken about ourselves. It’s always the same script. It doesn’t matter WHAT we are fixing, it is the belief that we need to fix SOMETHING about ourselves to be ok that causes all the problems.
We’ve been told for so long that we are broken – we’ve started to believe it. And even though we are smart enough to KNOW that judgments, shaming, and negativity aren’t our problem or our fault – we can still find ourselves FEELING ‘less than’ and wonder why we just aren’t ‘getting it?’
THE TRUTH IS THIS IS THE REAL WEIGHT WE NEED TO LOSE: WE NEED TO LET OUR OLD BELIEFS FALL AWAY FROM US SO WE CAN REBUILD NEWER, HEALTHY ONES THAT SUPPORT US, LOVE US AND EMPOWER US.
It is not enough just to KNOW up in our heads, we need to KNOW down in our hearts. This is not spiritual woo-woo either, this basic human conditioning. It takes time to integrate new habits, and that is really all a body positive and confidence mindset is; a new, healthier and more supportive habit.
Listening Is Integrating
So, how does one go about ‘doing’ this? Isn’t this just another thing we need to put on the ‘to do list’ and something ELSE we need to fix? NO. In fact, this is where things change a bit and we do what usually feels counterintuitive when striving to get away from negativity and shaming. WE’RE GOING TO LISTEN TO THOSE VOICES. Yes, listen.
The logic and value of this is undeniable. There is a saying that goes ‘what you resist, persists’ – when you resist a thought, a feeling and judge it as wrong, or unacceptable, you are not letting it go, you are doing the opposite – You are repressing and stuffing it deeper down and end up carrying it around with you as ‘extra weight.’
Wouldn’t you rather put down that weight once and for all rather than continue to have to deal with it and drag it around everywhere you go? The obstacle we can often face when learning how to love who we are is that we tend to ‘disallow’ any negativity by stepping on it as soon as we see it as we would an unwelcome bug.
True Healing is Releasing, Surrendering and Rebuilding
This seems like the right thing to do, but true healing is not about stopping. True healing is about releasing, surrendering and re-building upon a stable foundation. We CAN put down all that extra weight, and how we do that is by surrendering to those feelings, allowing those thoughts their time in the spotlight and just LISTENING rather than ‘stuffing’.
When we begin to listen, the energy and weight begin to loosen, shift and fall off – quite naturally. It becomes less about ‘doing’ and becomes more about simply ‘being’. This is different than believing what those voices say. When we believe we react and get entangled in the negative energy. When we listen we observe and allow feelings to flow through so we can release them.
It is the fundamentals of meditation or yoga – it is a healthy process for many reasons. It allows you to observe only and allow the energy to flow through and release. All feelings need is expression and acknowledgment – they are, after all, parts of you. Denying those parts will only serve to alienate you from yourself further. We all have dark, unwelcome thoughts and feelings – it is the HUMAN experience. And in body positive work, we have YEARS of conditioning to work through that has created those voices within us.
The trick is to master your reaction to them. Learn to listen and observe only.
Girls don’t just simply decide to hate their bodies, we teach them to.
This is the ONLY diet you need. When you listen and allow, you tap into your infinite wisdom. You find the healthy, vibrant you that has been trapped for so long under pounds and pounds of emotional weight. Then, you will start to see the truth about you – the truth about how truly beautiful you are no matter what your shape or size.
Beauty is in us to be – but we have to believe that we are beautiful first.
Enjoy the transformation!