If we are not our physical bodies but beautiful divine souls, energetic beings of infinite quality beyond our prosaic physical matter of flesh and bones why do we expend so much energy in fighting our bodies to look a certain way.
Coming up to the summer holiday we may yearn for a flatter stomach to look splendid in a bikini or fit into a party dress. We all seem to be trying to get thinner. There is an aspect of eating healthily for balance in order to be healthy. But this can easily tip over the edge into being constantly dissatisfied with our physical appearance. As a mother, single woman and yoga teacher, I am torn from wanting to be a positive role model, comfortable in my skin to also craving to look a certain way. I ask myself why is it I am fighting my body to get it to be half a stone lighter when actually it could just be that shape. We all have different natural body shapes, and appetites.
Why is it the words “you’ve put on weight” are like daggers to my heart.
Many people who know me would call me thin, but being a fat child has left me internally fat. Those words somehow to me sound like you are a fat failure, looking a certain way seems to suggest that I am in control, but actually, I think it means the opposite – my ego is in control. Bullying my poor soul, this has at times of my life so acute it has manifest in some very self-destructive behaviours, an eating disorder where consuming certain foods was so forbidden they would have to be purged. What utter cruelty to myself? What time and energy wasted that could have been used to create, to care, to grow. I feel it important to be able to share these retaliations. To help people realise we don’t love ourselves and others enough.
I am apple shaped with narrow hips which has always given me a protruding belly, my daughter aged 7 a mere tiny wisp of a girl is already looking in the mirror and wishing she had a flat stomach. It is not our genetic makeup. Our African genes make us somewhat pot-bellied, I positively re-enforce her but it keeps coming back. Has my body anxiety rubbed off on her – or has societies obsession with skinny got to her already – is it both. I wish fat were fashionable, like in parts of Africa – being larger is a sign of beauty and wealth, to be too thin is associated with starvation, the paradox of the west where it seems the wealthiest women in the work thinking Victoria Beckham et al are the skinniest.
How to break the body dysmorphia cycle and honour our bodies as we are with lines, with fat, with cellulite, with frizzy hair, with spots – with imperfections that give us our charm? I am not sure if it can be done – but I suppose spending more time with ourselves a deep intimate internal connection witnessing our thoughts. “Oh look at her in a bikini, I would like to look like that, I ‘ll go on a diet or quit sugar so I can look like that…..” and there the thought loop goes on and on. Totally useless, redundant. They say resentment is to the soul, what smoking is to the lungs. In this case, this internal resentment is literally eating away at us. Until what is left? We become an empty shell. Nothing left. So then we crave food for comfort to make us feel whole, we gain weight and or purge/go on crash diets and there the loop plays out over and over again.
Meditate, be the witness to your thoughts. Recognise them as purely thoughts which have created a habitual groove that can be changed. So every time we catch ourselves thinking – “ How can I drop half a stone by next week” when I go on a date, go on holiday, have a party or whatever the situation. We can embrace the beauty of what we have as we are. This may seem like climbing Everest as even the most ‘beautiful women in the world’ are candid about how they are always dissatisfied with their bodies.
We must stop waging war on our bodies and minds – love our love handles, drooping boobs, wobbly thighs and more embrace them all – as it is our flesh but more importantly our soul will be nourished than starved by the self-hate. Dare to bare all this summer as you are. Ditch the diet, enjoy an ice-cream and love yourself.
This blog was is written by Samantha Trinder - bhuti Founder