Your body is truly miraculous and sacred. It’s a temporary home that you get to wear during your stay on Earth. However, few of us actually truly see our bodies in this way.
Read on for ways of creating body love and why that can be so hard, what it means to be “embodied” and why it matters, the antidote to body shame, and how to create a loving relationship with your body, which translates to loving relationship with self, and others.
How do we view our bodies?
We feel frustration, shame, embarrassment, and annoyance with our bodies.
We feel disconnected, unwell, stuck, and uncomfortable in our bodies. Some of us experience dysmorphia, where what we see in the mirror is not an accurate portrayal of reality.
Some of us have dysfunctional relationships with our bodies and use it as a way to sabotage or punish ourselves with excessive or inadequate food and/or movement.
Some of us are in a sort of codependent relationship with our bodies where we’ll love it conditionally when it’s acting or looking right based on whatever we’ve deemed acceptable, but this is also fickle because what we’ve deemed acceptable is liable to change based on external inputs.
But the truth is, despite all of this and despite popular culture’s programming, our bodies are our only truest teachers, and we have all we need contained within them.
What causes body shame?
The causes are innumerable! From Puritanical programming that says the body is sinful and shameful, to the ways an “ideal body” has changed repeatedly throughout time and place, to the ways we’ve individually been shown and taught how to treat and reside in our bodies, and more.
While we can’t control the external narrative around us, we can manage our own internal one and address the things that are leading to our body struggles.
This is radical self-love in action!
Causes of a dysfunctional relationship with body, self, food, and self-image can be attributed to things like high stress and living in a way (physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually) that creates ungrounded, scattered, anxious energy, unprocessed emotions and life experiences, early life trauma, living from the head and the intellect over body and heart, allowing external cues to dictate your experience (living from the outside in, rather than the inside out).
Embodiment as antidote
To come back into a state of natural wholeness physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, you must acknowledge, feel, and transform the things that are blocking you.
The best place to start? Feeling your body! Your body is speaking to you all the time through sensation and impulse, the languages of the body. We’ve gotten really good at overriding these things, however, they’re still there!
Ways to come into greater wholeness, joy, and alignment with your physical body:
- Embodiment practices
- Things like allowing space for spontaneous breath and movement and tracking emotions and thoughts and the sensations they create within the body can be profound!
- Focus on feeling vs appearance – living from the inside out vs the outside in
- Decide how you most want to experience your life. What are you top values and priorities? This is all that matters. This is you deciding to live guided by feeling from the inside, rather than allowing external factors to dictate your experience.
- Study cause and effect in yourself
- What leads you to feeling more challenged in your body? Track the course of events and the thoughts and feelings backwards.
- Do some emotional processing and shadow work
- Unresolved emotions and experiences will continue to live inside of you and cause challenge until they are allowed to move.
- Care for your body, particularly your digestion
- It’s hard to feel at home and whole in our bodies when we feel unwell. Your digestive system is paramount and must be cared for like it’s your job. It’s amazing how much can shift physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually when we are fueling up with real, whole foods in a way that truly honors our unique constitution.
This is just a short list. The invitation is to follow your heart and pick something to start. The body is your source of life. It was never meant to be the source of anguish, shame, scrutiny, judgement, control, disgust… You come from a very long line of bodies that made bodies that made yours.
Your body is wise, ancient, all-knowing, and your truest and primary teacher.
What are your experiences with body image and your relationship with your body?
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