By Susan Lee, Norfolk.
I have always had an ambivalent relationship with my body – I compared it and judged it against what I felt was the ideal shape and size as presented by the media, celebrities and the world around me. Even as a young girl I felt this dissatisfaction and was aware that my body was pear shaped and I was always wishing that my legs would miraculously change – and this was an underlying preoccupation that was always running just beneath the surface. I was deeply dissatisfied with myself and I am now realising that it was very painful to reject my own body in this way. At the time I had no idea how important my relationship with my body could be – or that in fact I could have an intimate and meaningful relationship with my body. I also felt that if I had ‘the perfect body shape’ then life and my relationships would likewise be ‘perfect’.
Later in my life I began to lose weight and change shape – my ‘pear’ was disappearing and I was delighted! I found it easier to buy clothes and felt more attractive and sexy. My diet had changed too as I was beginning to look at how I lived life and the effect that food had on my body and the way my body metabolised what I was eating. Looking back on this stage of my life it was more about control, so that I could look a certain way, than really feeling into what would support my body. I listened to the advice of others and did not trust myself to know what would support me to change the deep dissatisfaction I had about myself.
The consequence of not listening to my body.
The consequence of not truly listening to my own body was that I lost weight to the point that I felt that I did not like looking at my body; my clothes were just hanging off me and I would comment to myself when I saw myself in a mirror that if I didn’t know better, I would think I was anorexic. I was still eating quite regularly but I realised that the way I was living was not supporting my body. I held my body in constant tension and anxiety and so was burning off the calories at a higher rate than my intake. My metabolism was all over the place – and I felt powerless.
My past relationship with my body and food.
When I look back on the first three or so years of my life, I can feel the connection to this awesome child that embraced life and had a sense of wonder and love that was joy-full and vivacious – and yet could not quite understand what was going on, as the world around me was not confirming this. I became disillusioned and then gradually I found myself succumbing to all the ideals and beliefs that our current world and systems feed us, and gradually ‘my sense of self’ was undermined and it was at this point that I gave up and abandoned myself to food.
I was offered food by way of consolation for the lack of love that I knew was a natural way of life. Love was not openly expressed in my family and I recall as a child giving a member of my family a hug and it being shrugged off and I was told that ‘an ounce of work was worth a pound of pity’. I found this very confusing and painful.
As a family we were brought up to believe that you ‘live to eat’ and it became an element of family life that drew us together and was a common bond. It took on an importance that put everything out of perspective – and was also used as a reward at the end of a long hard day, or offered as a solace when you had emotional pains and hurts. At the time I had no conscious idea that I was using food as a comfort to dull down my senses and ignore everything that was taking place around me. It became a focus for me and took over from any true connection with what life was truly all about.
I began to realise that there was something fundamentally unhealthy about my relationship with food when I was about to undergo a procedure where I had to fast for 24 hours and realised how much of my day was taken up with all-consuming thoughts about food. This certainly felt very unhealthy.
Something else that felt true for me and was apparent as I grew up was that food is used to numb, dull, stimulate and distract us instead of having a true relationship with it – it can be a big diversion that allows us to become lost in a sentimental and rather emotional journey that is nothing but a diversion away from feeling what is truly taking place.
There is nothing wrong with food when we keep its importance in perspective – we need food to sustain us in our human life – but it does not feel healthy or rational when it becomes the whole meaning of our life.
I became very aware that my relationship with food was not healthy and not supporting me to evolve. I was also aware that when people discussed eating disorders I was relating to many of their behaviours and habits, such as secrecy and obsessive thoughts.
Seeking true support.
When I began to address my weight loss and my relationship with food, I went to see the doctor and a dietician. At the same time, I had great support from Esoteric Practitioners who supported me to change both my perception of myself and food. This is still an ongoing process as I am forever learning, expanding and developing.
Life continues to challenge and to change as I gradually open up to loving my body more – I have always had an aversion to my legs and the other day I looked at them and felt how beautiful they were, no longer wishing to change them but appreciating them for the way they support me – this feels quite awesome to have changed what seemed like a very ingrained dislike of my body.
It has been a long journey to learn to support my body to become more healthy and alive – and to find a way of living that is slowly but surely bringing more joy and fun. It also feels like a way of living that is more than just about my body – it’s about beginning to live a life that is more encompassing of all and aware of all the little details that add up and support us to live life more in harmony with and acceptance of ourselves, life and the world around us.
We each need to find our own unique and unfolding way where we begin to love ourselves and life and become more fully engaged and empowered, as it is certainly awesome when we begin to realise how truly precious and amazing we all are within beneath the surface, no matter what shape we are. Rather than seeking the ‘perfect body shape’ (which is a complete illusion) I now accept my body shape as perfectly beautiful just the way it is!
674 thoughts on “From Seeking the ‘Perfect Body Shape’ to Finding My Body Perfectly Beautiful as it is…”
Linda so what you are saying is that it is movement first, that movement will determine the configuration that our bodies move in and with. This would make sense, that if we moved in and with negative thoughts then negativity is what the out play will be.
I would agree Susan that when we become more aware, it’s like waking up from a bad dream and we say we will never be so unaware again. The way we are currently running our society is to be blissfully unaware and we do this by using food and drinks as a distraction, for emotional comfort, numbing or dulling. It’s as though we do not want to wake up and return to our soul, thankfully the law of the universe says otherwise.
There’s so much more to life than food or entertaining those nit picking thoughts about the body. This is discovered when self-love is re-introduced.
And with love comes simplicity……
Susan, I, at the moment am looking at my relationship with food. The food needs to be tasty and filling, without that, then I’m not satisfied. And it’s that satisfying that is the thing that demands all sorts of foods. I’m exploring what needs satisfying, and I come to realise that I am not being enough. Because of this, I’m searching for answers outside, expecting this from other people when at the end of the day, it’s inside of me that I need to look at.
As I build that relationship, my body responds without perfection. I’m finding that the foods that I thought were not delicious or light are the best thing to support my body. It is a work in progress and with this I’m loving the relationship I’m building with my body, it’s forever changing.
Lovely to read your comment Shushila and it definitely addresses where I am at presently. Is it that the word ‘satisfy’ is very much about the ‘me’ and not the ‘all’? It comes with a feeling of self indulgence and distracts us from the clarity and quality that is our true essence.
It seems that it is only when we are forced into being more aware that we finally clock underlying patterns of behaviour that have been running us and harming us for years.
There seems to be an arrogance and waywardness to the Human spirit that is forever distracting us off the path that returns to Soul. Slowly but surely we are returning to the home that we innately know we come from.
Agree Lucy, when we explore an issue or a concern, we eventually realise what’s been driving us to do what we do, often unsupportive to the body. We can stop harming our bodies, if we are open and honest with ourselves and willing to look at the what, then we are given the how. Life shows this to us everyday.
Our ‘sense of self’ gets chipped away so consistently that eventually our sense of ‘self’ bears no resemblance whatsoever to the expansive and unified sense of self that we were all born with.
As I realise how long this process has been going on it’s no wonder it takes a while to shift – and from my own experience this feels much longer than one lifetime – quite ancient in fact.
Susan Lee, I agree with you that there is energy that I have become aware of that feels quite ancient and therefore very ingrained as patterns of behaviour I have established over many lifetimes that are no longer serving. As the energy gets exposed and the healing takes place I’m finding that there is much more to me than I ever could have imagined. It’s actually fascinating to discover that we bury ourselves in our hurts so much that the true essence of who we are and where we come from is veiled from the world which becomes a lesser place to live. If we all healed our hurts and allowed our essence to shine through it would make for a completely different world to live in.
Life is also ‘perfectly beautiful as it is’ but that beauty is covered up by a very ugly top layer, a layer that we have allowed ourselves to get transfixed by.
In my experience it is never suggested that maybe underneath all the layers there is an untouched divine soul.
“I listened to the advice of others and did not trust myself to know what would support me to change the deep dissatisfaction I had about myself.” – This statement is surely a powerful one. Lately, I have noticed just how much I still go to others for advice about how to proceed or respond to ‘this or that’, which on one level is healthy in that it is great to look for support when needed, but when it is done in a way that you are really just looking for someone to tell you what to do without deeply feeling what your own body is telling you it needs or would work best for you, it most likely will result in a situation that you may regret. Because in looking outside ourselves for the answers we are not honouring ourselves and taking responsibility for our lives and our choices, and thus this disconnection with our body actually seems to weaken our natural ability to feel the truth of any matter that arises.
When we begin a true relationship with our body we begin to listen and understand it’s forever unfolding wisdom.
michaelgoodhart36 I caught myself out in this situation recently. Someone phoned me about a situation I was part of, the discussion took place and as soon as I disconnected from the phone call, I rang a friend to ask them to make sense of the conversation I had just been a part of. Reading your comment I have to ask myself why did I do that when I was perfectly capable of understanding what was being said and asked of me. I went into the instant old patterns of I don’t know, don’t ask me, don’t even notice that I’m here. It’s such an old pattern of playing small and looking to others when actually I know all the answers myself. When we have spent life times of hiding and playing small it becomes our normal way of being but it is not a true way of being.
If only I had…. it would be the answer to my problems. I remember especially in my teenage years feeling like this too about my body shape – wishing and hoping that certain parts of my body would be slimmer or fatter. I was miserable and constantly thinking about the shape of my body; the thoughts controlled my life. My teenage years didn’t have to be this way as I have come to understand and realise that how I feel about myself on the inside is what truly matters. Back then how I felt about myself was not good – I never felt I was enough and no amount of changing my body shape was ever going to fill that hole. As I have learnt and continue to do so, acknowledge and claim the beauty within myself, the relationship with my body has completely changed. I no longer seek the ‘perfect’ body shape that I was once chasing but accept the shape I am because the love inside me is far greater than any picture I was once holding of how I thought my body ‘should’ be.
When we realise that we are innately beautiful this opens the way not only to us accepting our own inner beauty but we also realise the beauty of those around us.
I really appreciate your comment about addressing your relationship with your body at the same time as your relationship with food. All too often we do not pay attention to why, when and how we eat, merely focusing on what we eat which is such a compartmentalised way to view our behaviours.
Especially when we realised that we everything about our body is interconnected and this opens us to the notion that maybe it doesn’t end there and that we are all imperceptibly connected to the pulse of the Unverse.
If we don’t listen to our body, it really makes sense how the body would be in constant unsettlement. It’s very likely that it would be put in a situation and/or movement that it wishes not be in, and we would want to be anywhere but where we are at, be anything but that which we are.
I also had a picture of what the perfect body shape was, and I didn’t have it, or so I thought. That thankfully has all changed and I am more accepting of my shape and size.
I have recently realised just how ridiculous it is when I go into comparison – it feels like comparing a rabbit with a donkey – both are here on this planet for a purpose and it is for us to discern.
If it wasn’t so normal we would feel how astonishing it is to dislike our own bodies. In our own way what we are probably feeling when we hate our body is that because we don’t fit the ideal we won’t be accepted, loved, or perhaps have a good life because we aren’t good enough. No one likes to feel rejected or sidelined. What this understanding offers us is how abusive ideals are, that they encourage us away from loving and accepting ourselves exactly as we are, and actually enjoying being in our bodies.
That is so true, “if it wasn’t so normal we would be astonished:. Sadly it is normal and so we think it is astonishing when someone actually enjoys and appreciates their body. I have learnt that this means being aware of how I move, how I touch myself and what I put on it and in it and the more attention I can pay to the detail, the more my body responds.
And with the Ageless Wisdom we are gradually returning to a way of living whereby our body is a temple to be honoured and respected from the very core. We are perfectly imperfect.
We spend lifetimes avoiding this tension until finally we surrender and the tension becomes our friend – and our connection back to the root cause. We can’t avoid reality – at least not forever.
So true, we run from tension and yet the tension is simply a communication that something is not settled within. The moment we give up the fight is when true healing happens and we clock that the tension is our friend to ensure we never go back there again.
Embracing tension – now that will certainly make a difference. For so long we have fought tension and that has got us nowhere – except going around in circles.
In a way we are addicted to have issues. Can you imagine having no problems? How life will be? Just bringing our joy to Every situation that needs care and love. No need to make things heavy or dramatized.
We live light, eat light and evolve from our ill momentums, patterns in which we were dwelling.
‘Just bringing our joy to Every situation’ is power indeed – we allow the world to feel our reflection of a joy known deeply within.