There are a million and one things telling us women we aren’t okay as we are.
Here are my top 7.
Let’s break these down and discover how to find our way to a healthy relationship with our bodies.
1. We’re disconnected from ourselves
Let’s just say it.
It’s easier to be removed from ourselves than to deal with our own shit.
At least that’s our perception.
Have you ever ignored some problem hoping it would go away, even though you know that doesn’t actually work?
That’s how we’ve trained ourselves to deal with our problems- at least some of the time.
And when the problem has to do with our bodies, we’re training ourselves to disconnect, one step at a time.
Repeat this over years and decades and we get really good at ignoring issues and telling ourselves everything is fine.
The fix to this is as simple to say, as it is hard to do.
Start dealing with your own shit. Don’t look away. Stay connected with your body, with yourself, even when it hurts.
2. We never had a role model who demonstrated body acceptance
Has there been a woman in your life who truly demonstrated to you what it is like to love, respect and appreciate her body?
I know for most women, they can’t think of a single one.
That’s because we’ve all been trained to believe there’s something about us, and more specifically our bodies that we have to change in order to be more accepted.
You see, acceptance rules all. We see it as this golden ticket that will provide us happiness. When the reality is, it’s not other people who you need acceptance from. It’s yourself.
I struggled for years with body image issues, and it wasn’t just because I had a debilitating chronic illness that left me bed-ridden.
It wasn’t just because I struggled with acne. It wasn’t just because I wanted to fit in and be thinner.
Much of it was because I grew up learning that dieting was common, normal and expected. I grew up watching the adult women in my life “taking care of themselves” by obsessing over their weight, body image and appearance.
I was shown that the way I looked, really mattered.
When that’s imprinted at you at an early age it sticks, and then becomes incredibly difficult to go and change.
But, that change is possible.
3. You’ve been shown your body is less than perfect
Most of our lives we’ve been shown that the ideal body is slim, toned and moves with grace.
Only recently has the media caught on that we’re over their bullshit expectations that try to make us feel “less than” to buy things that they sell.
But mostly these years, decades, and centuries of this message have been passed down in the pipeline for women to feel they aren’t enough as they are. That if there’s anything different about our body we should try to fix it, or feel ashamed by it.
This way of thinking is what’s developed our self-image. Those comparisons to other women are what’s hindered our connection to ourselves. Because if we didn’t have this, what would keep us from self-acceptance?
4. We don’t know what it’s like to enjoy movement in our body
Have you ever had the experience where you felt so completely alive? Your hearts racing, there’s a smile on your face, you’re glowing and there’s no thoughts, just the moment.
Maybe it was playing a sport you love, or dancing with girlfriends, or in your kitchen, or chasing your child on the beach.
That is what it’s like to enjoy your body for it’s abilities. But no matter our physical capabilities, we can enjoy movement in our body.
Having arthritis and Lyme often makes movement hard. There are days now and were days past when my pain was so bad that the last thing I wanted to do was move. But each time I did, I was reminded of what my body can do, and how much I enjoy being present in my body.
Yoga was a huge factor in changing my relationship to movement and my body.
By learning embodiment I became more fluid in my movements, I started embracing my body more and appreciating the subtle movements even on those days where it felt harder.
Teaching ourselves to fully enjoy movement, that pure joy that comes from moving our body is one of the greatest and most self-loving gifts we can give ourselves.
I know women in Soul Power are already impacted by making this connection for themselves.
5. Diet culture has created a voice in your head that tells you need to be thinner no matter your size
Raise your hand if you’ve ever dieted before…
Okay, I am pretty sure that’s all of us. Am I right?
I remember this crazy diet, I say crazy because it’s one of those things I look back on and think, what in the HELL was I thinking kind of things. This diet, was one where you ate 500 calories a day.
Please tell me you’re rolling your eyes right now, because you should be. And while you at only 500 cal a day you also used this spray hormone that was all natural that helped you feel less hungry.
Yes, I tried this. It was a decade ago. That’s how long the diet culture has been ingrained in us. At 17 I was dieting and doing crazy shit because I thought I needed to be thinner.
The reality is I just got super hungry all the time, was hormonal, a royal bitch and not pleasant to be around.
My mood was sour and I loathed the extra 10 pounds I wanted to lose.
Seriously? And where did I get in my head the notion that I needed to diet to begin with? I got it from comparison, I got it from my family, I got it from the other women in my life doing the EXACT same thing.
Which is why I am stopping the train and holding it up for all the women who feel like they have to change something about themselves, because it’s not true.
The only change I am encouraging you to make is the relationship you have with yourself, and that is because I desire for all women to live a richer life full of vitality and health, and for me, that relationship was the baseline to it all.
6. Illness causes us to lose faith and trust in our body’s capabilities
If you’ve ever experienced illness and injury you know that training your brain to meet your body is half of the battle.
What do I mean?
Once illness or injury occurs in the body our mind is quick to jump in to react and protect us. It likes to tell us to be careful, to operate from fear to make sure we stay safe, and wants us to err on the side of caution because it’s not sure we can trust ourselves.
So this starts to cause a disconnect with our body because we start believing that these thoughts and messages from our brain are actually long standing truth.
Instead of, “oh this is my brains response to this, trying to protect me and keep me safe, but that will change.”
We lean into “this is how I am going to be forever, I can never do the things I once did. My body has failed me.”
This becomes so complicated as we start to mend the relationship to ourselves and our body we have to notice and acknowledge that our thoughts, even these thoughts do not mean they are truth.
7. It’s viewed as uncomfortable and weird to have a great relationship with yourself
Having a relationship with myself wasn’t something I ever really thought about truly. It wasn’t until I wanted to change my life drastically, that I started realizing that the relationship to myself was at the root of everything.
Through years of emotional and physical healing I learned that prioritizing myself and my needs was instrumental to that process and to my happiness.
It’s not popular though. To have a great relationship with yourself, or even talk about having a great relationship with yourself for that matter.
We’ve been conditioned to look to everyone but ourselves for the answers to things, instead of looking within to find what is already there.
It took me digging deep, focusing on myself and transforming my self-talk, and nurturing the connection to myself to finally get.
Creating an unbreakable relationship to yourself is primary in not just creating the life you want, but to finding your happiness.
And just like any relationship, it will ebb an flow, but the foundation will be there, rock steady if you nurture it.
Now you know my top 7 reasons our relationship to our bodies is broken.
So here’s the main points we uncovered today that keep us from a healthy relationship with our body.
#1 – We’re disconnected from ourselves
#2 – We never had a role model who demonstrated body acceptance
#3 – You’ve been shown your body is less than “perfect” compared to airbrushed models
#4 – We don’t know what it’s like to enjoy movement in our body
#5 – Diet culture has created a voice in your head that tells you need to be thinner no matter your size
#6 – Illness causes us to lose faith and trust in our body’s capabilities
#7 – It’s viewed as uncomfortable and weird to have a great relationship with yourself
Let’s be honest- you already knew these 7 because you live them every day.
I work with women in Soul Power to improve their relationship with themselves, and I can tell you that women face the same issues worldwide- whether in Paris, New York, LA, or Auckland.
Now it’s time to help each other out.
I invite you to choose your top issue from the 7 I listed and comment below with what you’ve done to work on it.
I’m not saying defeat the issue, because for most of us it’s not realistic to totally get the “you-must-diet” monster out of our head.
Just share what you’ve done that’s worked so others can learn.
And if anything above resonates with you, follow that intuition and check out Soul Power.