“Every single body has a story to tell and no one is judging you for yours, except maybe you.” —Desiree Rumbaugh
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret.
When I saw the photo that was going to run with the Leavenworth community highlight, I had unkind thoughts toward myself. I was not at all on board with my body’s story. “You look huge in that top.” “That’s because you are huge.” “You need to pull it together.” “Who do you think you are representing a health and wellness organization?” “And, while you’re at it, you need to whiten your teeth and get those braces sooner rather than later.”
Not very nice, right? If I had friends that talked to me like that, we probably wouldn’t be friends for very long.
I had the opportunity to attend Desiree Rumbaugh’s yoga workshops last weekend. She’s an internationally recognized yoga instructor in her 50s. Rumbaugh’s focus is on creating Wisdom Warriors yoga for people over 50, but she can still lead a practice that will leave the under-50 crowd sore for a few days. And did I mention she’s ripped? You can see the threads of her muscles in her shoulders when she moves.
At one point in class, she asked if we sometimes look in the mirror and don’t recognize who we see…the reflection resembles a parent or a grandparent. I could tell that she probably has had some conversations with herself about aging. I asked myself why she would need to have conversations like that because she looks absolutely amazing.
Then I read her quote from one of her blogs. “Every single body has a story to tell and no one is judging you for yours, except maybe you.” We are our own worst critics. We don’t know how to love ourselves. I’m going out on a limb here and assuming that you judge yourself harshly too. If you don’t, I want to know your secret!
I’m on a path to begin accepting my body’s story. I’m ready to jump off of the self-hate hamster wheel. Who’s with me? This is how my path starts:
- List the good things you’ve got going on. I’m blessed with incredibly good health. I didn’t get breast cancer in my early 30s like my mom. I wasn’t born with Spina Bifida, leaving me paralyzed from the waist down, like my sister. I have a moderately lean body weight. I can run a marathon. I can get through a 12-week strength-training program. I can hold my body in a 90-degree angle while standing on my head. What’s on your list? It will be completely unique to you. If you truly can’t think of anything, ask a friend.
- Replace your negative thought patterns with good things from your list. I am healthy, strong, and flexible. I can meet any challenge with enthusiasm and endurance. Put your own words here. Repeat them over and over until you believe them.
- Take action. Negative body image can be paralyzing. If you don’t love yourself, why bother investing in improvements? Break the cycle by doing something nice for yourself. It can be a new workout, a new recipe, or even a massage. I’m super excited about taking yoga workshops with Kathryn Budig this weekend. It’s been on my bucket list from the moment I found out about her several years ago. What can you do or schedule today?
- Find a tribe. If the voice in your head is ugly, find some nice friends who want to work out with you, meet for a healthy meal, or discuss an uplifting book. Let their voices be louder than your own so that one day your inner dialog will be positive as well. InDependent is building communities to help you find your tribe. They are under construction, but you can listen to Emira’s interview on Army Wife Talk Radio to hear what we have planned.
Is it just me, or do you struggle with judging your body harshly?