I have spent a great deal of my life believing I am less than. That because of my shape I am less. Because of my past, I am less. I’ve believed that being heavy – curves and “a little extra” – meant I wasn’t good enough to have the things I desired and longed for, like companionship and acceptance. I’ve been much heavier. I lost quite a lot of pounds and then a put a few back on. And then off, and then on. I’ve beaten myself up. I’ve shamed myself and joked about it. I’ve belittled myself and tried to make myself small so I could somehow feel accepted by my peers.
A whole lot of lies perpetuated by years of misinformation and societal conditioning.
Beliefs have power. The things we tell ourselves matter. We can create pain when what we want is relief from it. So, how to unearth the truth? Shift from the negative to the positive?
To start, recognition of self-deprecating patterns and toxic influences is a must. Whoa! We have to see our patterns for what they are. And this means relationship. Relationship to our families, our partners, our friends, our teachers. Relationship to money, to objects, to food. Simply stated you would think it’s a snap. Just don’t do this or don’t do that and everything will be good! As a recovering addict, I know what it’s like to want something so badly that the consequences don’t matter. The risk of being physically or mentally stunted within the indulgence is easily overlooked, and afterward the inevitable return to a belief of being “less than” starts the pattern all over again. The internal bully encourages the turmoil and then to justify the internal abuse, the pattern repeats.
There is a line that my teacher quoted in an article not too long ago stating that “if you argue for your limits, you’re sure to have them.” I’ve been pondering this a lot. In terms of practice, in terms of general life skills. There are many ways that I dilute my own power. One of them is believing that I’m not as capable as or generally not as good as others because I haven’t attained specific goals. So what? This is, by no means, a statement as to what I am actually capable of or the depth of my understanding or the level of my own sacrifices. And, who sets the standard of these goals?! I have a BODY. I’ve explored my limits within it and will continue to do so. I’ve studied my injuries and the lethargy, the depression, that can accompany them. I’ve incorporated ways of moving, ways of practicing when my body was unable. I’ve broken the barriers of my own mind in order to make it to my mat and discover joy. What an accomplishment!
I’ve lived all the excuses, indulged in excesses and I’ve perpetuated enough self-hate because of them to fill a life time. Through it, it’s been my experience, that to feel joy, to bathe in the relief of self-awareness and acceptance, to feel the calm of contentment, one has to award themselves a generous amount of empathy and compassion. Practice a great deal of self-care, self-LOVE. Surround themselves with positive people — genuine, loving people.
In the end, the fact is, I’ve been blessed with a BODY. Blessed with the ability to do more than I though possible. The more I learn about myself and the world I have entered into, the more I understand about real beauty and how wonderful it is to be so lucky to have this life.