09 Feb How to Overcome Body Shame
This topic was inspired by the project body love I’m participating in on Instagram right now. Be sure to follow me @gillianelizab3th to stay up to date with the daily pictures and stories.
The other day a local photographer reached out, complimenting my beauty. He wondered if I would be interested in doing a photoshoot with him to expand his profile. I thanked him for his kind words and asked him to explain what type of pictures he would like to capture and if I could use them on my profile. He said some examples, one such example was cleavage.
I laughed out loud, “I have no cleavage,” I responded.
He seemed baffled by this statement as if he was not used to someone being so honest and direct so I suppose he needed clarification, “No cleavage huh?”
I rolled my eyes and deleted the conversation.
Subconsciously, thoughts from my childhood lingered in the back of my head for the next day. It wasn’t until I acknowledged my ego that I realized what was going on. The conversations in childhood I had with my mom in hopes that my beautiful breasts would arrive one day, just as all of my other classmates had. I waited day after day paying them a lot of attention in hopes that my dream would become a reality. And yet, to no avail they never really arrived. I mean yes I have breasts but not like the hey look I have cleavage type of breasts. Some part of me has always held on to this idea that bigger boobs equals better. I often question myself, why? Why does this matter? Do I want them for me? Or for someone else? Does it truly make me more of a woman? I don’t think it does. Especially, when our view of a perfect chest is a plastic filled chest cavity. Does that make you more of a woman? I suppose from the outside they seem to embody a feminine figure, yet they are imposters. As inauthentic as it gets. Authenticity is hard. It exposes you. Raw.
We all embody our own unique essence as we enter into this world. As we become entangled in this worlds’ views we lose this personal signature to fit the mold of what is acceptable. We would rather be one in the same then be our genuine, real self.
We have two options when we realize certain aspects of ourselves are not valued by our external reality:
1. Conform in order to feel loved and safe in the world
2. Hide this aspect so that we will not feel unloved and unsafe
These aspects of ourselves’ that we decide to hide become a source of pain for us. If someone comments on this aspect or brings it up in some degree we feel defensive, rejected, irritated, unworthy, and a plethora of other emotions. Though, most of us have hidden these aspects so far within that we may not even realize that this is what’s causing our strife. In both cases we have disowned our true being to become something different, or rather someone different.
In order to fully embody and own your unique gifts, power, and purpose it requires you to become authentic. As I move more into being comfortable with the true expression of myself I thought I would share some tips on how to begin the process of awakening your inner truth so that you don’t need to hide, or conform, or be triggered anymore.
If you know me well you know how important this topic is to me. I’m constantly talking about how important it is to be congruent. Your inner and outer thoughts, actions, and image should live in harmony with one another. A common example of in-congruencey would be when someone asks you how you are to which you respond, “good and you?” As if it is common courtesy to always be in a good mood and return the favour of asking. I want to challenge you that the next time someone asks you how you are, tell them what you are really thinking and feeling. Then, notice how they respond. How they respond is more of a reflection of themselves than you. I find that some people genuinely listen (these are important people to have in your life), others will be speechless, or they will keep the conversation short and wish they never asked you. This simply shows their level of how ready they are to be authentic with themselves.
Part of being congruent is identifying your values. Be open and honest about what it is you value. Not what you were told to value. What actually matters to you personally?
2. Identifying Reality
Once you examine your inner and outer world you can then begin to identity what is true for you. When you become aware of what is real you have the power to choose to act in accordance to your truth. Part of this is looking at all of the aspects of yourself, the parts you embrace as well as the parts you have disowned. The next time you find yourself in an irritated mood or being triggered, notice what is underneath the thoughts you think you are having. Are you really mad about your husband going out with his friends? Or is it that you actually believe that you are not worthy to be around because as a child you were always left alone and him leaving simply validates this belief you haven’t brought to the surface of your reality? When you begin to peel the layers of your false identity things that are uncomfortable will inevitably come up. Accept it for what it is. You don’t need to fight it, you don’t need to change it. Some things you can change but know that you don’t need to.
3. Feel Your Feelings
In order for you to live in accordance with your truth you have to be able to identity what that is. Feelings are one of the greatest insights to what that truth is. Allow your feelings to come up, feel into them instead of suppressing, avoiding, disowning, or replacing them with someone or something else.
4. Meditate Daily as the Observer Self
During your daily meditation practice use this time to witness yourself objectively (not as good or bad, instead as neutral). There are a variety of guided mindfulness meditations that will help guide you in this process if you get stuck. As you practice this you will begin to notice the sensation of feeling in the body, you will then experience the impulse to want to change the experience by fidgeting, or speaking, or doing something else. When you can teach yourself to be with yourself and refrain from acting on your impulses you will then begin to dig deeper into yourself and who you are.
5. Trust Your Intuition
Your intuition is connected to your higher self (your true self) it can seem to come through to you at the most unexpected of times and it can seem illogical to our rational brain. We usually have a sense of worry or anxiety that this driving inner feeling must be wrong because it doesn’t make sense, we are afraid of causing conflict by confronting it or being disapproved of so we shove this away. Just as with your feelings, the next time you notice your intuition coming through to you, lean into it. Take note of any signs, or messages you get from within that show you what your truth is. If you feel off it’s likely because you are not living in accordance with your authenticity.
Always remember, you were born exactly as you were meant to be born. In a world where you can be anything why not be yourself?