My relationship with my body has never been a positive one. If another human abused my body as much as I have done I’d run a mile. That person would not be a part of my life. Still, I’m stuck with me. So I may as well try and work it out between us.
The things I have said to myself, I wouldn’t even say to my worst enemy. It always surprises me how toxic my mind can be if I think too hard or stare at myself for long enough. Pale, saggy, frumpy, wobbly, manly, abnormal, plain, undesirable. Just a few of the kinder labels I’ve given myself. At first, I thought it was healthy to be a little self-critical but now I can see that an accumulation of these insults over the years has broken down my relationship with myself. I feel like an alien in my own body.
Having always had an interest in health and physical activity it’s always pissed me off that I’m not kind enough to myself to eat well and move more. I know that I’d feel so much better about myself if I did those things but as soon as I do, I start telling myself that nothing’s going to change the way I look or feel. I’m stuck with this unfortunate figure and carrot sticks for lunch ain’t gonna do anything about the stretch marks and cellulite.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and a whole lot of journalling trying to find my way out of this mess. Trying to devise a plan to bring the bully down. The fact of the matter is, it really isn’t that easy. Years of unkindness cannot be undone by a well written plan and a good intention. Years of unkindness should be unravelled over time. I want to restore that relationship I once had with my own mind and body by noticing and listening to their cues.
It pays to be present. It really pays to notice how you are feeling in that moment. Today I feel like an egg dropped from a 3rd story window. I’ve received awful news, eaten junk food and sat on the sofa for most of the day watching reruns of Top Gear. I caught myself looking down at my belly and thinking “you’re fat and lazy and you’re never going to get a thing done from this sofa”. Now, I don’t know about you but if a friend of mine had just received awful news and wanted to eat leftover Easter eggs and cry on the sofa all day I would fully support that. I wouldn’t sit beside them and call them names. I wouldn’t tell them they should go for a jog and then they’ll feel better. I’d comfort them and tell them that things will be just fine.
I suppose that what I’m trying to get at is the fact that we all need a kick up the backside every now and then to get motivated and be kinder to ourselves but we’ve got to give ourselves credit where it’s due. Our minds and bodies go through enough already without the toxic chant of insults coming from within us. When I hear that voice trying to bring me down I’m going to ask myself whether it’s criticism is useful. Is it bringing anything to my life? If so, I’ll make a positive change. If not – I’ll tell it to piss off and I’ll carry on with my day.
Like most things it’s easier said than done which is why I’ll be making a conscious effort to check in with myself and reflect on my efforts. If you take one thing away from reading this please let it be that you can remind others to #BeKind as much as you want but that voice on the inside can be the most brutal so make sure to remind her, too.