Stop reacting. Start responding.
Sometimes, you can’t help how you react initially. A certain word, phrase or image can have tremendous power over you, despite your best work and effort to emotionally detach. It’s part of our conditioning.
When it comes to our physical bodies, we are conditioned to react in certain ways to certain bodies. When we see someone with a flat and more “desirable” or “acceptable” body, we are conditioned to feel jealousy. We are conditioned to want the “superior” option.
And boy as diet culture and diet industry caught on to that reaction (caught on and perpetuates). They stand ready, willing and able to sell us all the solutions, all the teas, toys, gadgets, creams, pills and wraps that our hard earned dollar can buy.
Truth be told, I don’t know if body insecurity or shame reactions ever go away entirely for anyone.
I can’t control the reaction that I have to my body. That’s the product of my conditioning. I am powerless to stop these thoughts appearing in my head. Sometimes I see my visible fat rolls, and I think “EEEEEW!”
I forgive myself for that reaction. I’ve been subjected to 35 years of diet culture bullshit telling me my body is just wrong and selling me on the idea that my fatness means that I SHOULD feel shame, guilt and failure around my body size, that I deserve it.
My reaction leaves me powerless, but my RESPONSE is mine to control.
I have this feeling, thought or experience, now what is next? The most powerful tool in your arsenal is the pause.
Body acceptance as a practice is hard work, and it’s constant work. I can acknowledge my negative thoughts and choose to show myself compassion for having them. I recognize they ultimately come from a place of fear. Fear that I’ll never be “enough.”
Some days, I can look in the mirror and tell my body, “I love you and you’re beautiful.” Other days that feeling seems distant and unreachable. Some days I see my body and think, “maybe I should go back to diet X for the umpteenth time.” In the past, that reaction usually leads to a purchase. The next workout program, protein shakes, energy pills, etc. This is when I pause.
Don’t act on your reaction. You are not in control. Instead, choose to pause, then respond.
Pause and come back to yourself. Ask yourself questions. Poke around to get to the root of what you are really feeling. CHOOSE a response that serves you as a whole person, not just an ornamental aesthetic designed for the viewing pleasure of others.
It’s about unpacking your conditioning around your body and creating your own rules. It’s about learning how to respond to your thoughts in a way that brings you into your power, instead of reacting in a way that diminishes you.
One day, one situation, one opportunity at a time. Some days it flows and sometimes” body peace” is a hard fought battle.