Last week I experienced some dysmorphic body issues. These are not new issues and have popped up on and off over the years, so rather than getting frustrated when they occurred last week (insert Eye roll and “FFS not this again), I faced it and challenged it and chose to love it, rather than push it back down. Not going to lie, this was difficult, as all shadow work is, but it was really worth it.
My friend is doing a lot of video and sharing his life on YouTube and Instagram. He invited me to go on a road trip up into the Dandenong’s, which is one of my favourite spots to visit and reset. We had a lovely time. So much laughter, truly interesting conversations, connections with different people, good food and beautiful scenery. My friend filmed quite a bit of footage. I didn’t really consider that at the time as I was in the moment. I was a little shocked when I saw myself on camera so much. My first reaction was “Oh shit, people are going to see me like this!” I felt shame, vulnerability and really challenged at what I was seeing. I was triggered as I was being seen by a much larger and different audience, which brought up a lot of insecurity and vulnerability. Not a bad thing, but still challenging.
This was not self-love nor self-acceptance, the things I teach and talk about a lot. Then I got curious as to why I was reacting this way. What was I thinking? Where was I holding the emotions in my body? What memories did it bring up? I realised that I was seeing myself thought my distorted filters. What do I mean by this? I was seeing myself through my negative life experiences around rejection and feeling like I don’t fit in, my patterns I learnt when I was younger, the voices I listened to and believed (whether my own or external from me) , coping and survival mechanisms around other people seeing me. Just like a water filter removes certain impurities, our personal filters do the same but this can often be in a negative way. So say you had been hurt by a dog as a child, your filter then would say that all dogs are dangerous and look vicious, which isn’t the case at all. My filter needed a good clean out or an update!
I realised that because I was not in control of what or how I looked on my friend’s vlog, I felt really challenged. I want people to see me in flattering light, from certain angles, to fit into what my idea of how I should look to be acceptable and liked by others. Here is the illusion of control at its finest. It didn’t matter that I was doing every day type activities on this video, that was witnessed and seen by a lot of people at the time of filming and I am seen doing those activities by any number of different people who cross my path on any given day. Oh and do I really sound like that! I have always been tall and solidly built. I have never felt I have fit the mould of what society has deemed normal. I was told at a very young age by an aunty that I should be careful as fat people don’t have friends and then she gave me a great big hug. So of course I put together that no one could like me because of the way I look. All of my insecurities were being laid open for me.
Then I started questioning these thoughts, beliefs and this filter. I had to call bullshit pretty hard, pretty quickly! My friend loves me and would never do anything to hurt me or put me down or harm me in anyway. In fact he has been one of my greatest supports. This means that he didn’t see the flaws, the things that made me cringe inside. Did this mean they only exist in my head or my EGO? Is my perception of myself the actual issue and not what I was seeing? The truth is that I have always been quite popular and accepted exactly as I am. So I started listing all the people who has loved or loves me. The list was quite long. While I was working on this, I saw an 11 year old male client, who at the end of his session, without prompting, shook my hand and then gave me a big cuddle thanking me for helping him. I usually don’t need this validation, but this week, I received it happily. It was truly special. He didn’t care what I looked like or what my perceived flaws are. I shared what I was feeling with my friend, who is also my massage therapist, so she knows my body sometimes better than I know it. She told me how she sees me, how amazing she thinks I am and how limiting my thoughts have been. I was blown away and so grateful for the opportunity to really explore what was happening and to truly receive the love she has for me and the beautiful compliments she gave to me.
In that moment I made a decision. No more hating on myself. I am an amazing, unique, magnificent human being that is needed on earth as I am. I do work that is really needed, but to do that I must walk my talk. No more seeing my differences as a bad or negative thing, as me being me, exactly as I am is needed on this planet. I get to choose what beautiful is and I choose that it includes me. I am going to challenge those self-limiting thoughts as they are not real. I am also going to stop believing the crappy things that have been said to me over the years, because their words reflect them way more than me. I am to be kind to myself. I do accept myself. I am actually really grateful that this popped up again, as I learnt to love and accept myself at a much deeper level and the women I found there is amazing.