Reclining Nude by Amedeo Modigliani, c. 1919
I’m sure most of us would immediately say we are lovers! We prefer peace and harmony in our lives over fighting, right?
But what about the war you wage against yourself? Whether it’s physical, mental or emotional – or all three – we are hyper-critical of our Selves in so many ways, aren’t we?
This is however, the way it goes in a world where duality rules the roost. We always want what we don’t have, we always perceive ourselves as not quite what we want to be.
And that is war. Or if you prefer, self-loathing. Any time we are in that mode of thinking, then we are in conflict with ourselves.
Just the other day I found myself cursing my poor left shoulder, for no other crime than being injured and limiting my movement (it is getting better BTW, just slowly)!
Now, if a friend came up to you and told you they were injured would you curse them? Would you be rude and mean to them or ignore them? Probably not, right? You’d probably be sympathetic, perhaps send them love and healing vibes. Maybe you’d even help them work out the best course of action to get some healing going on. Yeah… that sounds about right!
This is especially true for our relationship with our own body. Women have complexes about their bodies in droves (an epidemic perhaps?) but I believe many men do, too. Personally, I’ve had a life-long struggle to accept how I look and some aspects of that struggle are ongoing.
Sometimes it seems like no matter how much yoga I do or how many times I chant Om or meditate, those thought patterns about my body remain. They run deep! Of course, the more yoga, meditation and chanting I do, the easier it is to see those thought patterns and marvel at their relentlessness.
My negative body image thoughts have become transparent to me now and I can separate my Self from them, but they never really let up… too tall, boobs too big, not pretty enough, too muscular, too heavy, not thin enough, not graceful, too different, thighs too big, nose too chunky, jawline not defined enough, lips too thin, too many freckles, wish I looked more like HER instead…
I know now those thoughts are not my true Self; they are part of the tricksy and distracting monkey mind that comes with this body and existence. The mind rules the world of duality and the more conflicts it creates, the harder it becomes to peel back the layers of delusion to an awakening of who we really are.
So this work of self-acceptance is vitally important.
Recently I was asked by The BlissChick (aka Christine) to participate in an interview series called EmBody Talk. It took a while to consider Christine’s questions properly and then attempt to condense a lifetime of body image issues into a (relatively) short response.
You can read the interview here: EmBody Talk: Svasti, Yogini & Survivor (cool title, thanks Christine!!)
I could’ve written so much more!
The wonderful thing about Christine’s interview series is that hopefully we’ll all learn more about what goes on beneath the skin of others. We will all be able to relate in some way to the stories being told and see how our negative self-image thought patterns are entirely detrimental. We are not alone in our self-denial!
Certainly, many of my own issues as documented here on my blog have stemmed from a deep dissatisfaction and self-hatred of my physical appearance, including (but not limited to) the reasons I found myself working in the sex trade industry all those years ago.
So I hope you enjoy the interview. On the same topic of body image issues, I also invite you read a couple of Anthroyogini’s recent posts (here and here).