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Five radiant lessons I learned about healing the relationship with my body

Five radiant lessons I learned about healing the relationship with my body

My Story

With so many contradictory pressures placed on women it can be hard to be authentically ourselves. Assertive women are labeled bitches, emotional women are labeled needy, and women who enjoy sex are called sluts. Let alone the various critical judgments we receive for the way we look and how large or small we are. It can be hard to love ourselves in a very hypercritical environment. So, when does the lack of confidence set in? At what age and under what circumstances do limiting beliefs plant the seeds that effect the perceptions we have of our body image?

Maybe, if we can tune out the noise, we can start to appreciate our own beauty and heal the relationship we have with our body.

Eye lashes and beauty

While I spent time peeing in the school bathroom, other girls were stationed in front of the mirror putting on their lip gloss and using eye lash curlers. I had no idea what those were. I was so bewildered that one day I grew the nerve to finally ask, “What are those?” One girl responded in a tone that clearly expressed she thought I was an idiot and the things had been around for ages, “They’re eye lash curlers, they make your eye lashes long and curly.” I was bewildered and I quickly decided after that, that I needed to learn how to use one so that I can have pretty eye lashes too. The thought that I had to do certain things to be an equal and be “pretty” slowly planted itself in my belief system. A small seed that would slowly grow weeds within my garden. 

My hair is a mop

Meanwhile at the farm where I grew up, my stepmother never failed to take the opportunity to make fun of my weight and my unkempt hair. “What a mop, you need to brush it or cut it off,” she would say as she grabbed at my hair and flung it around. To shut her up, I put my hair up nearly every day. I didn’t bother with it, and it didn’t bother me. My hair was a curly, wavy mess and I didn’t understand it. It knotted up all the time and still does. I wasn’t given the proper lessons on curly hair, nor did I have the right products. I straightened it when I wanted to look pretty because back then curly was not in. I was self-conscious about my hair, it was one more thing to not like about myself.

Now I am super cautious when talking about my daughter’s hair as she has the same curly hair that knots up all the time. I don’t want to make her feel badly about her hair and I certainly don’t want her growing up believing that she has ugly irritating hair. Because it is not, now that I am older I have an appreciation for my hair. Sure it is wild but it is my wild and my curls. I want my daughter to know the same.

Messy hair don't care.

The weight, always with the weight

The weight I gained around my middle must have been a bother to my stepmother. One night after dinner, she looked at my shirt, at me, and then my dad. She grabbed my wrist and dragged me up the stairs to my room.

“Let me go, please!” I said as my bodily freedom was instantly confiscated, “You’re going to try on all your clothes.” She stated, but I refused. My refusal did not stop her from throwing every single one of my clothing items on my bed. Dad pulled up a wooden chair to sit and watch the night’s entertainment. I folded my arms and stood there in front of them both, “No, I don’t want to, I don’t need to try on all my clothes.”

I had only fueled stepmother’s anger. She grabbed my neck, tossed me on the bed and choked me. Her body hovered over mine; I felt her grip squeeze tighter while I stared out of the corner of my eye to my dad, wondering why he just sat there. Why wasn’t he stopping this? She finally let me go and with my head hanging low fighting back the tears, I silently got back on my feet. Feeling degraded, ugly, and fat I reluctantly tried on every piece of clothing I owned.

This experience instilled in me the limiting belief that I was not pretty and that I needed to be skinny to be appealing. I was filled with shame and I became a closet bulimic. Walking the halls at school, I felt so surrounded by goofiness and laughter, but I felt invisible and numb to all my feelings. I thought the way to feel and the way to be “in” was to be flawless. I swallowed myself. Internally I rebelled against the idea that I had to be a certain way. So I did what I thought would make others happy. I did whatever everyone else was being. I hid my true self expression.

Body insecurities

Relationship with the body?

The relationship with your body will be fluid because bodies change constantly from birth to death. Reflect on a time in your life when you were completely happy with where your body was at? Maybe that time is now? Instead, I feel as though my spirit sits in an adolescent looking body.

My hips sink in, I’ve got chicken legs, stretch marks and my ass and hips are small, but I keep working towards my goals. There was a phase in my life where my curves were poppin’, breasts weren’t droppin’, hair was thick, nails wouldn’t chip, knees were moving, I just felt bomb! I wish that season lasted for me, but I had a child by the time I was twenty-one and my body changed drastically.

Like other woman after birth, shit went south from there and even more so after I had my twins. The biggest change was that my large breasts literally were sucked dry from breast feeding.

Time for honesty ladies, have you ever cupped your hand and laid your breast onto your palm to feel how heavy or light they were? At my lowest weight of 100 lbs. at thirty years old, they were empty skin bags. I felt disgusting.

In these moments it is important to be gentle with what I call the “body spirit”.  When you feed into the negative thoughts and body shame, you continue to store that negativity. The more you engage in that thinking, the harder it is to see results.  Your body is going to change so why not just be an observer of the self?

 

Is 33 aging?

I am thirty-three now and I can feel the effects of not taking care of my body the way I should have when I was in my teens and twenties. I feel the wear and tear on my joints, the trauma that resides in my body, and the lack of, well, everything I need to do to keep from feeling “old.”

I understand now why it is important to keep the body healthy, to not vomit my food, to drink water, manage sugar intake, be physical, eat a healthy diet, and release trauma. One of the more important things that I have learned, but not always put into practice, is to speak to myself with tenderness. I know that I can be unhappy with where my body is at while also speaking tenderly to myself. My motivation to work towards my goals and take care of myself goes further if I’m kind and compassionate with where I’m at each day. I’ll only self-sabotage if I degrade myself and my mindset isn’t right.

What is the relationship with your body? Can you think of any unlimiting beliefs that you have adopted that’s created a strenuous relationship with your body?

 

Moving into body positivity and security

When I see myself more as a spiritual energy housing itself in a body, I become more grateful that I have this body to move me around this beautiful earth.

I want to take care of this body and I first do that by being kind towards myself. When I feel the courage and the need, I will look in the mirror at my body and just appreciate the season I’m in. And exactly like each season each holds a set of unique beauties. It can take weeks, months, or years to be comfortable with your forever changing body. It can also take even longer to recover from abuse that our body has suffered.

One thing is sure: whether it is weight, wrinkles, silver hair, joint pain, arthritis, or tremors, your body will age and change. You will have days of feeling yourself and others where you don’t care to look in the mirror.

I want to change that for myself, and I want to encourage you to change the relationship you have with yourself. I want you to be able to look yourself in the eyes on any given day and appreciate with gratitude the woman you look at in the mirror. Your body is your vessel, it deserves to be acknowledged, touched, and praised. Do this everyday.

Radiant Lessons

The moral of my story is, that regardless of the changes that your body experiences, you are radiant!!

Limiting belief: As you read, limiting beliefs are easy to work their way into our belief system. The thoughts of feeling and looking ugly can be so ingrained in ourselves that we cannot accept a compliment. There are women out there who spend an hour getting beautified and still cannot acknowledge their beauty. I have plenty of limiting beliefs that I am working through but the thinking around the body can be positive, loving and kind even on the worst of days. I encourage you to explore what beliefs you have that are forming the way you see and relate to yourself.

Intention: You have the power to set an intention. Intention is setting a purpose, a determination to act and be a certain way. What is your motive? Your purpose? Think of ways you can alter the intent around your goals and body positivity. I am doing things throughout my day to attract positivity. 

Mindset: Mindset is so important if you want to get anywhere with your goals. I think it is safe to say that most of us get into the negative spirals of picking apart all the shit we don’t like about our bodies. Sometimes that thinking can be difficult to notice and even harder to stop. The thing that is amazing about free will is that we get to choose what our attitudes will be. I mean, that to me is so awesome while at the same time being incredibly difficult. Where you put your mind is where you put your efforts. To help shift my mindset, I listen to a motivational video nearly everyday. Here is one of my favorite motivational video from your one and only Oprah!

Goals: With the right intention and positive mindset, you can kick ass on your goals. Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.  Read about S.M.A.R.T goals here. You’re not going to go to the gym and lift 45 lbs when you can’t manage 25 lbs, right? It is alright to start small with your goals. Some days all I can do is drink all my water and take a bath. Boom self-care! Remember, each goal is going to be individualized for you.

Be courageous and build that radiant energy: I know you may be feeling some type of way about your body but sunshine, you can try something fun to transform the way you view yourself. For instance, my sister will take these beautiful photos of herself. One of my favs was her down by the river. Gorgeous! 

In those moments she is courageous. She owns herself regardless of how she truly feels on a day to day. Now that is some badass shit. That’s one reason why Bordeaux photography is a thing. It builds women up. We do those sexy photos because it makes us feel beautiful. They challenge us to be brave. Then we get to take those photos home as a reminder of how fucking brilliant and sexy we are. One day I’ll work up the nerve, for now I’ll take mirror selfies.  

Body image
Body acceptance
Body acceptance
Body acceptance

My love letter to you

Sunshine, As you observe your body and work towards body positivity, I invite you to have compassion towards any judgmental and critical thoughts that arise. Let them pass the mind and do not cling to them. Allow room for positive, kinder thoughts.

Remember you are wanting to improve and transform, don’t bash yourself in the process. Don’t compare yourself to the ladies in magazines, models, or actresses. Or better yet, anyone. Those people are photo shopped and literally get paid to work out and look their best. Plus, they have oodles of money to buy the creams and cleansers that some of us cannot afford.

Explore your limiting beliefs. Understand how they impact the way you view yourself. As I wrote this, I had to explore where my limiting beliefs came from. How they were rooted within me? And how they affect me today?

Stop bashing other women. I could write this a million times, stop bashing other women! It is women hurting women. No place is free from the criticism and judgments that are made. Social media is one of the worst platforms for cyber bullying. So please instead of wasting your energy on criticizing, instead build your fellow woman up. May I add that, the way you treat others is only a reflection of who you are.

Show gratitude Treat your body like the friend that has carried you through the shit storms, given you the shirt off their back, and walked with you through fields of flowers. Thank your wonderous body for carrying your spirit around this earth, for keeping you alive so that you can experience many amazing moments with all the people you love. Appreciate your bright gloriousness. And remember don’t forget to love yourself.

PS: If you need some feel good music while you admire yourself put this song on. Like John Mayer said, “Your body is a wonderland.” John Mayer knows what he is talking about ?

Say these affirmations,

“I am forever changing and I love my body as it is today.”

“I am worthy and beautiful just as I am.”

“I am strong and will continue to work towards my goals.”

“I am at home in my body.”

“I’m not where I want to be with my body, but I am working towards embracing all of myself.”

“I am a fucking powerful woman.”

“I cherish my body and all the magical things it does to keep me alive and breathing.”

“My body is worthy of love and respect from myself and everyone else.”

“It ok to nourish myself, eat healthy foods and make healthy choices.”

“I unconditionally accept and love myself for who I am today, who I am tomorrow and the next.”

Affirmations for healing the body relationship