So I went to the mall to do some holiday shopping and there they were…these glossy, shiny, big and magnificent images of women. They were calling me to be glamorous, svelte, unblemished in my appearance, and compellingly forceful in the way I walk and in the intensity of my make-upped gaze. Yes, I wanted it…I felt the yearning to strive for that perfection…the beauty, the slimness, the perfectly cut arms, the flawless skin and makeup that highlights my eyes in an ever-so-subtly seductive way. Why not? What was stopping me? There must be something I could buy this season that would help me. I deserved to gift myself, right? Yes, I was convinced that I needed help to be something other than the Janelle who had just walked into the mall…
Do you ever have that feeling? An imagined you that you are striving to be? Inside you carry around the image of the other, better body? You see the smoother skin, less-wrinkled, more smiley, and energetic version of yourself? When I work with women, I sometimes have them create a vision of health. I want them to imagine a healthy/radiant version of themselves so that they can hold this vision with the hope that it will impact and literally transform them day to day.
What I am finding, though, is that I am liking this vision-of-health process less and less. Asking women to do this who struggle to love their bodies poses dissonance for me. You see, when we continually fantasize about another version of ourselves, there is the potential to disengage from who we are now….it is actually a form of disembodiment. And what is disembodiment? To disconnect from your body…not feeling it, not being aware of it, hiding it, numbing it, possibly ignoring it.
I wonder if you do this at times? Disconnect from who you are now, seeing different aspects of your body that revolt you…so you turn your gaze away, continually reaching out there for a mirage of you so that you can’t feel and see the you that is here?
This season is packed full of glossy idealistic images. Everywhere we go we get visually fed messages to be different. What I am finding is that those images at the mall always take me away from me. The don’t motivate me to change for the better, they simply motivate me to leave me and buy more things.
Instead of doing the vision of health, I now help women find ways that they can be more present with their bodies. This awareness and connection is developed through movement and activities that are pleasurable...dancing, walking, hugging, looking with grace at their bodies, and more.
If you are like me and find that in big or small ways you are checking -out/struggling to love your body this holiday season….then I want to encourage you to try some things that might help you tune in and reconnect with your body:
Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and feel the breath going in and out of you. This is the gift of life ever-present with you.
Look at your body below your neck. Really see yourself. Notice your reactions. Offer your body and your reactions grace.
Move in ways that bring you joy (Dancing, yoga, walking, etc…Combining movement with joy rewires feelings of negativity towards yourself to growing feelings of positivity)
Find 3 parts of your body that you love, or at least accept, and feel grateful for these parts of you.
May you look away from the tinsel and shine of the holiday glam and look to your beautiful self more each day.