I was tagged in a Facebook post yesterday that touted the efficacy of a new miracle weight-loss pill. Using the same principles as a Ketogenic diet, this advertisement claimed that it would erase those stubborn pounds that refused to budge despite all of my best efforts.
These types of ads trigger me. Sometimes, I’m simply annoyed; other times, I’m downright enraged. Why? Because they hook into that part of me that feels less than, that feels frumpy, or fat, or tired, or hopeless—the part of me that harshly judges myself (and others) and finds us all seriously lacking. Typically, I let the emotions flow over me and delete the email or pass by the post. I remember a time not too long ago that I gave into my feelings of despair, clicked on the ad, watched the video, and then found myself hitting send and purchasing a program that promised to deliver a new me. It was no surprise that after I downloaded (and saved!) the materials, I did nothing with them. They weren’t speaking to the real me, or what was really the root of my discontent. They offered a Band-aid “fix” and one that I didn’t really believe in to begin with. But, I wanted to change something.
The feelings of doubt and dissatisfaction; the need to criticize and judge; the sadness that I no longer felt or looked like I once did—all of these emotions were uncomfortable and I didn’t want to feel them. I just wanted someone to make them stop. . .
What I have come to realize is that the shape and weight of my body is not the cause of my negative self-perception—I am. I am the one who engages in disparaging self-talk, I am the one who makes food choices that “reward” or “punish”. I am the one who “whips myself into shape”. I collect and accumulate shame like Smaug hoards gold. And, I am not alone. In our daily lives we are all bombarded with images and sound bites of what our perfect bodies, our perfect diets, our perfect exercise, our perfect lives should look, sound and feel like. If we choose to compare and contrast, most of our egos will announce that we come up short every time. It’s not just a matter of if we are “less than” it’s a matter of to what degree and in how many areas. Then, in those areas where we somehow deem ourselves to “pass muster,” we become superior—with a need to defend our position.
I once had a professor tell us that “comparisons are odious”. I agree. The more I compare and find myself lacking (or superior), the more I separate myself from others. I become other. Other is lonely. Other is judgmental. Other is exhausting. Perhaps, the biggest casualty of “other” is the separation I create within myself. When I judge and criticize, when I tear myself down or build myself up, I am depriving myself of my inner wise woman, of my inner creative, of the awareness of who I am at the essence of my being, of my Truth.
When, instead, I pause to connect with this inner wisdom that is me; I find love—acceptance—awareness. Even in my darkest hours, I can access a brilliant spark that guides me, when I give it space, let it breathe, and embrace myself.
I created Beautiful Body Mine from that space in the darkness, the place in me that yearns to be in communion with other women who long to love themselves, who desire connection, who want to create. I created Beautiful Body Mine because I want to live in communion with my own body—loving her, accepting her, honoring her—listening to the messages she is giving me. And, I know that together, a small group of women gathering with intention always magnifies the power of their individual intentions. I’ve witnessed this power time and time again—the power of a safe space to explore, acknowledge, create, release & celebrate.