Our minds are filled with the thoughts, beliefs, and values of all the people who influence our lives. Having a strong sense of self comes from tuning out the voices of everyone else and listening to your own information, intuition, needs, and desires.
Living in radical loving communion with your body is a kind of activism – It flies in the face of what we are taught by peer, social, cultural and familial values. I think, sadly, all too often I see these values as influencing our self-perception, self-worth, and self-esteem.
My own story of taking on board others’ opinions about my own body started when I was around 13. I was on holiday with my family, and kept being told I had ‘puppy fat’ .. It was at this moment in time I began to see something ‘wrong’ with my body’ and seeing it as separate from me, and something that I should be ashamed of.
As an adult, I know intuitively that there is nothing ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ about puppy fat, however, in my 13-year-old head, it seemed to little me that as people were commenting on my appearance, it must mean there was something wrong.
At around the same time in my life, I began hearing comments from my parents’ friends and the kids at school that I was goofy. One woman even looked at me straight in my eyes, and pulled a goofy face stating, “what’s up Doc” 🐇
.I will never forget how I felt in that moment. Shame, pure shame.
As I grew into a young woman and went off to university, obviously the nightlife entailed lots of socialising, cheap larger and at the very end of the night, some chips and gravy (which I LOVED) – so ate a lot of 😉
After my first term, I drove home to my Dad’s house eager to see him as I had missed him, and the first thing he said to me was, “what the hell has happened to you?” implying *I thought* that I had put on weight.
I remember feeling utterly ashamed, especially when I saw a photo of myself on that trip home.
I pulled myself apart for my external appearance and that pattern continued on for many years.
I am sure many of you reading this post will have similar stories of others’ commenting on your appearance and personalising those comments, and have made them mean something about you –
Not good enough, not tall enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough, not thin enough etc.
As I continued to grow into my female body I don’t recall any of the women I was surrounded by say anything positive about their bodies. I would hear my mother berate her own body and picked up a strong energy of dissatisfaction with the way she looked. I don’t remember hearing a sense of gratitude, appreciation for what their able bodies’ could do.
I did, however, see a lot of gripping, pinching, comparing, judgment and pointing out flaws.
And I heard this from both men and women.
Interestingly as I got further into my early 20’s and having suffered the huge loss that I did, I lost huge amounts of weight. It was only then that I began to receive compliments (again from men and women) about my external appearance. I don’t remember one person saying to me – “Goodness, you don’t look well – are you ok?.”
My belief system had started – You receive compliments when you are thin.
I attached my worth on ‘thinness” – I took drugs to maintain my smaller frame – as I think many of us did in the ’90s. It was at this time of my life that I started a punishing regime of calorie restriction, punishing exercise, slim-fast shakes instead of food, drug and alcohol binges that went on for years.
We live in a world that is increasingly medicated, with ads telling us what we are lacking and how we can fill that void and gain self-esteem by buying this beauty product, this exercise program, or this diet.
“It’s not you. You’re not an isolated case. It’s systematic and it’s called patriarchy” ~ Pat Allen
For a long time, I prescribed to that way of thinking and teaching. I built my Bootcamp business on “before and after” pictures subscribing to the belief that there was something wrong with the “before” picture.
It worked, many many women bought into the idea that they too could be ‘happy’ if only they looked like the ‘after’ picture.
And for that, I am deeply sorry. I am sorry that I did that to myself and I am sorry that I did that to other women.
I am deeply sorry to my own body for the years of self-destructive behaviours and constantly trying to mould it into something that wasn’t natural for me – Curves, softness, movement, and fluidity are what is natural for me. My body changes with my cycles, it changes with the seasons and it is changing as I age.
Nothing ever stays the same (except who you truly are) – we were born to be ever-evolving, and this is where I am today. I have lifted the clouds of shame, guilt and self-loathing around my body.
My body is no longer an obstacle to be conquered, or morphed on my road to happiness and love.
I healed my relationship with myself.
I am here to help you to that too.
If you feel called to, I have a 9-week program called “FINDING FREEDOM FROM HABITS & ANXIETY”.
The program is designed to help you see the Truth of who you really are and to get you to a point of knowing without a doubt that you are already enough.
I’d love to have you join us 🙏
Just follow this link 👉 https://charliwall.simplero.com/finding-freedom or get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org