Self-acceptance from the inside-out
I was out on one of my walks yesterday with music to accompany me. I am big on lyrics and I started to reflect on a Bastille song that said...
"we want the bodies on the billboards, not the lives underneath them"
(Daniel Smith/Mark Crew)
I thought about the past year and how we used social media to stay connected with the world. We were trapped in our homes, sitting with ourselves, with our thoughts and our feelings. It was hard not to compare ourselves with others. It was hard to know what was real and what was fake.
Discontent and dissatisfaction can start to creep in when we perceive perfection is all around us. That can be really useful and motivating if we want to make changes to lead a healthier or more satisfying life but sometimes this is difficult and our self-belief and our self-acceptance can begin to erode.
We are accustomed to viewing ourselves from the outside-in, worrying about what others think of us, believing and internalizing negative messages. Our inner critic will have us believe that we can never measure up. At times like these, it is important to turn our attention inwards to the core-self that is authentic, rather than look outwards at things that may not be real (and therefore impossible to achieve).
The question we might ask ourselves is...what are we trying to measure up to? Perfection? The bodies on the billboards that have been airbrushed and designed precisely to get the attention of our inner critic? Don't get me wrong - I appreciate my inner critic. I appreciate all of my protector parts. My inner critic knows how hurt I have been in the past when I have not measured up, or failed miserably. But I need to quieten that inner voice and encourage a different one.
Body and self-image can come to the foreground when we begin to work somatically but the aim is always a turning towards the self with compassion and kindness and a shifting to our felt sense of body that is not influenced or determined by those around us.
This is a different way of being. It takes time and practice. It takes patience and self- compassion. The self-critic will be scared and will try to persuade you not to rock the boat. Gently reassure that part (and any others that show up to try and sabotage your new practice). If the boat is sinking, it is worth trying something new.
You might start thinking about your own body image.
How do you feel about your body? If you had a magic wand, what would you change? Is this important to you or to others? What difference might that make?
What part of your body do you appreciate? Put your hand on that body part as you appreciate it and notice any shift. Make a conscious effort every day to notice and appreciate your body.
Lets turn our attention away from the bodies on the billboards and focus on enriching the lives underneath them.