I’ve spent years deeply uncomfortable in my skin.
Wanting to disappear.
Last night, a wave of anxiety hit me as it often does when the world gets quiet.
In tune with my body for a brief moment, my heart ached.
I envisioned that moment when we ponder what we would regret on our deathbeds.
And I saw the years many of us spend hating our bodies.
Our glorious bodies that make being present in this world possible.
And it felt like such a distraction. It’s easy to spend time hating our bodies and picking apart each perceived flaw- but is that really the most important part of life? What role does this focus have in our lives?
For me, it gave me a sense of control and something to focus on when I didn’t want to focus on the emptiness or chaos … but spending time projecting my emotions onto areas of my body that I wanted to improve only led to more self-hate and more detailed critiquing.
Swapping out those negative thoughts with compassion and gratitude has been one of the most empowering exercises and has calmed so much anxiety. It’s been several months, and I have wept in the devastation of the lost years and opportunities missed due to my negative relationship with self and body.
Improving our relationships with our bodies and becoming in tune with helping them to feel nourished, energized, loved, and safe help us adopt the behaviors that are holistically healthy.
If you catch yourself in a moment of self-hate or picking apart your body- please take a moment and switch on the lenses of gratitude and compassion. How much different does seeing yourself through those lenses feel?
How do your actions change when you start loving yourself more and beating yourself up less?
At a conference I attended recently, Brené Brown said that at the core of “mental toughness” is “self-compassion.”
I used to think beating myself up made me more of a warrior … made me “stronger” and able to conquer what the world would throw at me.
I was wrong.
Self-compassion was the answer all along. What does self-compassion look like in your life? How well are you offering yourself compassion?
Jillian Rigert is an oral medicine specialist and radiation oncology research fellow.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com