It doesn’t matter how others see you! In the end what really matters is how you see yourself. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, intelligent or attractive others may find you. If you don’t see it or feel it yourself, in the end it is meaningless.
Once, in a retreat with my Buddhist Lama he asked “is the beauty in the flower or is the beauty in you?” I have been feeling into this for quite a while and I have been seeing how the image and judgement I hold of myself actually conditions my experience of others and the world. That’s such a debilitating filter to have!
I have always struggled with body image and weight issues and I’ve always judged myself really hard on that. No matter how many times my former partners would tell me I was beautiful, sexy, sensual… I have always struggled to take that in!
“How could they be so blind?”, I used to think. And many times, those compliments used to piss me off because I was forced to sit before my lack of self-love and I silently hated them for that. It was right there, crystal clear on my face… them… holding the mirror for me.
Beach pictures?! OMG! Those were always a nightmare. And if I ever dared to have one or another taken, I couldn’t put my eyes on them afterwards.
Last weekend was no exception. But this time, a more pure and authentic love was holding the mirror and I could do nothing else but SURRENDER… if I am actually REAL about this healing journey.
There we were, me and my 11-year-old kid, absolutely stunned by the beauty of the river, the blue sky, the warmth of winter sun, the boats, the seagulls, the sound of the distant stormy sea, kids laughing and playing… BLISS!
Usually I’m always the one behind the camera capturing these moments and having a blast doing it. Very occasionally I dare to ask to be photographed and last Saturday I did it. I have no idea what I was expecting to see in those pictures but without any surprise to me, I didn’t like them.
I kept looking at those pictures and I kept witnessing a cascade of judgmental thoughts rushing through my mind as I stared and stared… I kept staring and I began to crop them. Would I be able to find a way to be on those photos without “ruining” them? If I kept my upper body only maybe that should do it! Shit! Maybe not!
And I found myself focusing on how much weight I have put in, how my belly stood out, how my comfy cotton yoga bra didn’t make my titties look sexy… and the list went on and on.
Why couldn’t they be as beautiful as I wanted them to be? Why the fuck couldn’t I fit into the beauty that was all around me? How come I had so much beauty inside to see the world beautiful but couldn’t see myself the same way?
And then… his sweet wise voice stopped me on my tracks! As he peeks over my shoulder to see what I was doing, he says: “Why are you cropping them? You’re ruining the pictures!”
OMG!!! He is so right! What am I teaching him with this behaviour? Can’t I just fully accept myself as I am RIGHT NOW? I am 46… when will that happen?!
And so I stopped! The cropping wasn’t saving either the pictures or me. Where else in life have I been cropping parts of myself? Let’s own this shit Teresa! What do you want your kid to grow up learning? Do you want your kid to grow up not loving himself or his body? Oh yes… I have also judged his body too. Not verbally! Not out loud! But I have silently judged his little belly that tends to show up too.
This has been on my mind since last Saturday and this morning, as I woke up and was getting ready for my yoga practise, I decided I would take some time to honour my body and hide no more. How fucking powerful is this body?! She was built to last! The scars are also a proof of that!
My body has endured giving life to two human beings and bringing them into the world through two painful and invasive caesareans. It has gone through the trauma of an epigastric hernia surgery… And what about all the unexpressed stuffed emotions it has had to deal with for ages? And what about all the anger trapped inside? What about all the judgement and making her look less than beautiful and perfect just the way she is? What about all the bad food choices and lack of exercise?
It’s because of this powerful body that I am allowed to FEEL DEEPLY!
As I stood there, honouring my body, pouring love onto my cells, my skin, my bones and my flesh, I dared to SEE myself as I asked for forgiveness. And what I saw was BEAUTIFUL!
I could fool myself into believing that I was being fully authentic and honouring my body by admitting the cropping of the pictures and showing you an original one (the only one that survived my frustration!). That surely would have been a big step too!
But you know what'? I’ve had enough of this bullshit of body shaming myself!
So, knowing how creatively skilful I have become at deceiving myself after years of people pleasing, I want to DIVE right into the FEAR of being FULLY SEEN. Daring to dance with fear one more time, I want to step up my game and be COURAGEOUS to do what scares me right now. I want to shine a bright light on my body. I want to shine a light on SHAME that feeds off hiding and staying in the shadow.
My journey of honouring and loving my body starts today. And odds are that the true healing begins too.
If it was easy, SELF-LOVE wouldn’t be a REVOLUTIONARY act! Here’s to Self-Love Revolution!
#HonourEveryBitOfYourProcess #EveryLittleStepMatters #SelfLoveRevolution #NoMoreBodyShame
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