I listen to women a lot. Not just because it’s my job as a therapist, but out in the world. People tend to see me as extroverted, but the truth is I am an introvert at heart.
I like to listen, and observe, staying in my own energies is comfortable and less disruptive to me. Because I tend to watch and listen, at the market, or in a store, I hear the themes that dominate talk among women and girls. I know you won’t find it surprising that talk of bodies and weight dominates many exchanges.
I listen with both sadness and anger when I hear women talk about their bodies. There is a kind of madness inherent in the way women overtly hate their bodies. I am not referring just to my clients who are in pain around their eating disorders, or feeling out of control around food and other pieces of their lives. There is insanity and ugliness in our willingness to betray our spirits, even in the most casual of conversations.
What does it mean, that women betray themselves so regularly and without awareness? How can we possibly live with such hatred of ourselves without paying the price?
We can’t. There is a cost for our endless dissatisfaction with our bodies. Living in a culture where women compare themselves to each other leaves us disconnected from our wholeness, from our essential selves. We are lost within this splitting apart of all of our pieces. We are not embodied. We cannot feel love for the self, and so not for others. We miss out on any kind of true pleasure or intimacy.
The energies of the Divine Feminine are where our intuition and other gifts of knowing come from. When we dissect all of our parts, and don’t nurture the whole with loving attention, when we stop honoring our unique form and expression in the world, we are cut off from receiving the quiet guidance of our Inner Wise Woman. This leaves us at the mercy of external guidance- the culture, the media, religion- places which hold the Patriarchal view of women, which further shames us and tells us all of the ways in which we are not good enough.
Body-hatred is only a part of where we have abandoned and betrayed ourselves, but it is a concrete and specific place where we can begin to pivot our consciousness to heal ourselves, and maybe even society’s view of women.
This is a good place to journal (you knew that was coming, right?!). What are your most common negative thoughts about your body? Are there specific body parts that you reject and bring negative attention to regularly?
Notice what you say about these parts, or your weight, your size, or the other places that you choose to disconnect from. See if you can simply observe how it feels to criticize and condemn these parts. Notice if there is a certain emotion that comes up as you label yourself, and separate yourself from your body. Stay with the feeling for a moment, and just notice where it is in your body- where is that negative emotion, see if you can feel where you are holding it.
Now, see what happens if instead of all of this disapproval, dislike, criticism that you feel for this part of your body, if you soften those voices, and bring love in, instead. One way to do this is to connect with your heart’s energy- think about or bring your attention into your heart-center. See if you become aware of a soft, gentle love that is the essence of the heart. Let yourself breathe it in, imagine the loving energy of the heart permeating all of your cells in the body.
What does that feel like?
Remember that nothing really can change when we are in resistance, or throwing negative thoughts and energies at our bodies, or ourselves. Change comes in on the tides of love and compassion. Inner guidance and intuition can only be heard when you are open, and not resisting.
All of your wellness, healing and happiness come when you own all of your pieces, the good and the imperfect, in your unique wholeness. You will then live in connection with your Intuitive Body, which will generously provide you with all of the answers you are looking for. Beautiful.