True or False? I Am Perfect Just As I Am
I was looking for this post this morning, as the theme and message has been so loud lately about self love and self worth being key.
These messages have always been there, but it seems there’s an increased focus here perhaps because people are really being challenged by the core of the matter – the self.
I’m constantly seeing and hearing people obsess over things like body image, going to extremes to prove something to themselves and others, trying to emulate others or some ideal of what they think they need to look or be like, trying to achieve approval or some contrived idea of strength and vitality, when again all of this stems from within.
We all have different paths and journeys to take, but if you do things to achieve an ideal and still find yourself not fulfilled in a way you can be with yourself alone without people feeding you praise or providing approval, then you likely are focusing a lot of time and effort in a diversion from the real thing – the core of you.
I’ll give you an example from my own life.
When I was in my early twenties I decided to hire a personal trainer. Now I was always thin and healthy, but like anyone else, was subject to body ideals that we’re bombarded by.
Long story short, I worked with my trainer for 9 months – 5 days a week, three hours a day – got on a very clean eating routine of 5 meals that cut out tons, but also had me eating a lot to fuel my work outs.
Being very good at self-discipline, this was easy for me, but it was also very strict.
I did in that time period manage to shift my small body of 110 lbs and 26% body fat, to 115 lbs of muscle and under 14% body fat – which is really low for a woman. And all of this very challenging to do for anyone, but especially when you’re already small, to shift the composition of your body.
And yes, I achieved this chiseled, strong, body of a fitness “model” type, but here’s what I discovered.
During and previous to this time period (beginning at 16, but increasing at 19 and on) I was on a spiritual growth path and doing a lot of personal work. But it was mostly at the mental level of reprogramming, affirmations, and only scratching the surface of the emotional level.
So, I was thinking in a new way, but still feeling in an old way. And I made the correlation after the 9 months with my trainer, and after many more months on my own maintaining the work I’d done with him, about what I was REALLY doing with this obsessed body work.
I had created this strong outer shell, but it still masked and hid my weaknesses inside and how I felt about me. I was doing the same thing that the books I read and the affirmations taught me…develop a new structure to my life.
But at the end of the day, even if I looked a certain way and received praise from others, I was still left with my “stuff” and that wasn’t going to change by morphing my body – the new structure would collapse on the old foundation.
What I learned was that I wanted to embody that inner strength and have it emanate, rather than my body and words merely emulating strength, while inside a mixed message was being sent out, as well as being experienced by me.
I created this hard, protective barrier also with these muscles, and actually was compounding the trapped emotions in my body by doing the kinds of exercises I was doing where I was compressing and tightening, rather than relaxing into myself.
I actually ended up having to undo this work later with Rolphing, which helped to release all of the build up in my muscles, tissues, and elongate my body while releasing the trapped emotions in the cells, rather than creating this stiff body that was holding in trapped emotions. (While you go through Rolphing they actually tell you to avoid weight training, as it will undo the work being done with it)
I realized that I was creating a protective barrier, as well as an “idea” of strength, rather than being able to embody strength and project that from within.
I saw how I’d also manipulated the divine feminine within me and rather than embrace the softer strength and beauty of my femininity and know that I am strong and fierce, beautiful, and capable in the form natural to me, I was trying to emulate some idea of what strong meant to society and making myself appear more masculine.
It was not long after this that I moved to Sedona and started doing the real deep work and I relaxed into my more natural self little by little and more and more, which has brought me to today.
I actually don’t work out at all anymore because I am deterred by any form of routine and regimented restrictions on myself, and because I’ve relaxed into who I am naturally and so my body reflects what that means for me.
The only exercise I do is in nature…hiking, biking, walking. Every day I’m doing things in the house and even when I draw and have painted, my arms build strength…when I lift my little ones or garden, I’m working my muscles. I’ve even stopped yoga since I broke my foot twice a couple of years ago, and I only very occasionally, when I feel the need to dance, jump around for fun on my rebounder. That’s it. All natural and free-flowing….much more reflective of me.
And my body and soul is healthy and strong. I eat a vegan diet of the food I love and I don’t obsess about things or do crazy cleanses anymore (I’ve done them all). My cleanses are of my emotions and daily mindful practices of living as consistently as possible to my beliefs and deepening my relationship with myself.
I’ve embraced a more feminine, softer, curvier body, to embrace that Earthy goodness. And yet, my muscle tone is still there, naturally. I still weigh about the same I’ve weighed always (with 3 or 4 pounds of variance because this is my body’s natural zone), but my body just is relaxed without tightness and without anything trapped…and definitely without me trying to emulate some ideal.
And yet people still ask me all the time what my exercise routine is and ask about how I maintain myself and have tone to my muscles.
They are surprised when I say it’s about relaxing into me that is key and doing natural forms of exercise enjoying nature. Nothing else.
So while I may not be a fitness model and I don’t have a chiseled body, I’m still strong and fit, but in the healthiest and most natural way possible.
I’m relaxed and flowing. And I follow the inner guidance of my feelings, not the contrived ideas in my mind.
The only ideal to me is to be me.
That was a long pre-post, but here’s the post I wrote over two years ago that will expound on this further.
I thought I’d share some of my own journey first, as I feel that personal experience can be far more powerful than merely sharing words.
Learn to love who you are naturally. You’ll find your life so much more fulfilling. ❤
These are likely things you have come to know as being so vital and important to embrace within yourself – the source from which the rest of your life will reflect – and yet they are the very things that present the most challenge and can undermine all of the positive work you have invested into changes you desire, when they are not exercised and nurtured within.
The way you value yourself can show up in many different forms that are not always blatantly obvious. That can be the times you settle for something less than what you desire – be it a job, relationship, friendship, or even verbal/emotional abuse. It can even be depriving yourself of an experience you don’t feel deserving of, censoring yourself out of fear of judgment, wanting to please everyone else, or wanting to fit in to some social or cultural…
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