When Your Inner Voice Sounds Like Regina George
When I showed up for my yoga shoot, I was wearing a big, white sweatshirt with my purple yoga pants. It was 45 degrees (F) on this spring day in Normandy, & the l'Orangerie had no heat.
I told myself it was because I was cold.
After all, body image issues are no longer an issue for me--I am passionate about encouraging women to love their bodies.
But when the photographer suggested I take off the sweatshirt for the remainder of the shoot, I more than hesitated. My stomach tightened into a cold, iron knot, and I involuntarily sucked my cheeks in (a habit I curated from youth in response to the well-meaning compliment, "you have the cutest chipmunk cheeks!").
In that moment, I knew I was grappling with my ego. The 20+ pounds I've gained were all I could think about. My old thoughts of needing to be 100% perfect to be an effective health coach needled into my brain. Then my higher Self stepped in.
How in the world can I authentically encourage you to embrace your beautifully & perfectly imperfect raw, authentic beauty, ALL of it, if I am not willing to step outside of my comfort zone & into the fear?
(Also 20 pounds less than this? Not perfect. Not healthy. Not even a little bit.)
I asked the photographer if I could simply move through a personal practice, stepping into my Self & tuning into my body. It then became about the grace, power, & alignment of my body rather than my outward, physical appearance.
There is no perfect yoga body. There is no perfect body. There is no ideal weight. There is only a mutual respect between the self & the Self. A give and take. An honoring of the needs of the body when it comes to nourishment (both physical & emotional).
Dude. When the pictures came in there was some SERIOUS negative self talk. The fold of my stomach skin in one photo making my self cringe. The crinkles & wrinkles & imperfections were all I could see.
Again, the Self came in, & she reminded me:
It's not about perfection or ignoring the negative self talk. It's about listening & understanding from where it's stemming, & then responding with the same love & authentic appreciation as you would toward the person you love the VERY most. Your best friend. A child. A sibling.
Because we can love ourselves that much. We can. We really deserve to treat ourselves with the same love we hold for the person we LOVE the very most.
Can it be you?
(To be clear, I'm not looking for compliments on this photo; I realize the lighting is GREAT, the posture is flattering, & the photographer frankly did an amazing job. This is an incredible shot. But knowing this & KNOWING this are two different things, & THAT is what I'm highlighting here.)
How do you work toward loving yourself, all of you?