How comfortable is it for you to stand naked in front of your mirror? What’s that you say? It’s not comfortable at all? You avoid looking at yourself naked in the mirror? Do you dash by and pretend not to look?
Yeah, I’ve done that for most of my life.
I’ve also been at war with my body for most of my life. That is, up until about a month ago.
When I was away at the Heart conference with my Pathway’s peeps, I had the opportunity to learn what it meant to really be kind and gentle with myself. There’s a “thing” I have about the color pink and my long-time aversion to it and a more recent embracing of it. I would often question why I never bought or wore anything pink. That is, until a major AH-HA moment, standing out in the dark of night at Essex Woods, when it hit me. I’ve been avoiding pink because I’ve been avoiding compassion for myself. I was attempting to bring more pink into my life with the hopes of increased femininity. The attempt never felt right or fit right because it wasn’t about my feminine side in the way of, “I am a woman.” I mean, there is always opportunity to increase and express the Divine Feminine but it wasn’t the color pink like I thought.
For me, pink represents compassion and love for myself. THAT, was my ah-ha moment. Though I may often preach about the need for self-love and self-compassion, I wasn’t fully embracing or practicing it. Why? Well, because I wasn’t giving myself permission to actually be kind, gentle, loving, nurturing and compassionate with my Self.
What does that mean?
It means giving up the need to be hard on myself for not measuring up to some ridiculous standard I had set in my mind. It means releasing the need to put myself down, criticize myself or judge myself. It means to stop punishing myself.
But isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Punish myself? If I punish myself, if I criticize, condemn, judge, then I push myself to do or be more. Well, that’s all fine and dandy and I’m all about being a better version of myself, yet all of this can be done from a place of love and compassion instead of fear and suffering. The punishing doesn’t seem to be serving. It never has, never did and never will. It’s not motivating me to do or be more. It’s really just keeping me in a cycle of hell.
So I started giving myself permission to nurture and love myself. This was the key for me. To say okay …. I’m not a societal ideal size and weight but this body and I have been together since conception. This body houses my soul, my light, my Divine spark, my creativity and my expression. What if I give myself permission to start liking myself, or accepting myself without the need to criticize? What if I give myself permission to nurture myself? Or to forgive myself? What if I just say FUCK IT to judgement and in its place offer myself compassion? This was challenging for me because somewhere down the line I learned to punish myself. I believed I had to punish myself through judgement and criticisms. And let me tell you, I got really good at it.
Somewhat frightened and unsure I asked …. What if I stand naked in front of the mirror and thank my body, the lines, bumps, spots, wrinkles and all, thank it for being with me all these years? Could I give myself permission to be compassionate and nurturing even as I stood there naked, looking at myself? OH boy, that was a moment. I looked in my eyes, I looked all over my body. I wanted to run but I didn’t. It was a challenge but not as hard as all the moments leading up to this moment. I credit this to my Heart initiation, my willingness and my daily practices. For me, the feelings of fostering, growing and developing a loving and compassionate relationship with my body and my Self, far out-weigh the uncomfortable feelings of standing naked in front of a mirror.
It’s a long road ahead and for sure I have my good days and my bad days but I’m trying. I absolutely feel more loving towards myself and this is such a good thing. It’s so much lighter than the continuous barrage of hatred that was once a pattern of behavior. My plan is to stick to this and to continue sharing with you with the hope that you too will one day stand naked in front of your mirror, loving all over yourself. It’s a journey. It’s a practice. And I’d love for you to join me.
Self-Awareness and Transformational Coach, Inner Child Advocate, and Yin Yoga Teacher.