During my last Yoga session I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was surprised to see myself fit and slim. After all, it was just after Christmas and my eating certainly had not been the best, and my exercise schedule had been paused over the Holidays. I smiled and remembered how good it feels to go easy on myself...
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Body image. As a psychologist I learned all about it. For people with an eating disorder it can be very distorted to the point, where a skeleton-thin person looks at herself in the full length mirror and sees an obese person. That is sad and needs serious treatment. But we all have our body image of our own bodies. Have you ever stopped to think what yours is? Does it match with how others see you? I noticed for myself that I typically like myself on photos - no matter how recent - and always assign that fact that I am looking at a younger, fitter ME. Closer to the truth is that I am fairly hard on myself when it comes to the shape of my body. Truly I like my body in the mirror, whenever I had been eating well (meaning little amounts and healthy food) and/or been exercising well. The "well" usually refers to "better than usual". So if I am at an upward trend with my diet, I like what I see in the mirror. Whenever I am on a downward trend however, I am not thrilled with my body. That is a typical "relational" body image, which does not necessarily serve me, certainly does not make me happy.
So how come, I was positively surprised by what I saw in the mirror at Yoga. No, it was not that I was in a class for overweight people and I was the only one with a BMI in it considered average. It was the fact that I had taken off work the whole week and had spent a lot of time relaxing and recharging my batteries. My eating has not been all that bad, but I did enjoy "Holiday" treats. Instead of exercising a lot I played it by ear, was sleeping in, relaxing and exercising whenever it felt good. Being rested has a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves.
Also, I had spent some time thinking about what I am grateful for, and one of the things on top of my list is a good functioning, pain free body. It is needless to say that my own body image impacts how I feel about myself. It interferes with self esteem, the way I approach daily life, relationships and the bigger picture and ultimately my actions.
Well, instead of weight loss and increased exercise as New Year´s resolutions I will focus on being grateful for my body and will make it a point to be easier on myself with fewer judgements about about my body and will enjoy more what is today.
Happy New Year!! Follow your dreams, they are what make you special and unique and point you towards your talents and gifts!!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
A quote I heard from Marianne Williamson has impressed me very much. It goes like this:We are not afraid that we might fail, we are afraid that we might be absolutely brilliant.
Isn´t it true that we are quite good at failing, it is a save thing to do, it is familiar, our environment knows how to handle that, and we know that we don´t offend anybody that way. Imagine you were to live your full potential and are successful with your biggest dreams and desires. That might seem intimidating, frightening, maybe even lonely.
It all does not make much sense, but it feels oddly true and familiar? Not to worry. We have all kinds of pasts where contradicting beliefs get planted. All that counts is to look at it right now: Do I still want to cater to that belief? Do I want to make myself smaller than I am in order to feel save and liked? I believe not.
The courage in living a brilliant and successful life comes from following the true and honest desire to be the best we can be and be the most present we can be for our life: showing up and suiting up, taking it one step at a time, one situation at a time - always guided by our values and truths that we adopted for ourselves.
The freedom of being an adult is that we can truly do with our life what we please and choose to do. This is where the courage comes in: It takes courage to be just and fully ourselves. It is also the most rewarding of all options. Being the original, the unique being that we are and not being one of many many copies of commonly agreed upon mainstream people.
Mainstream is going the easy route, the one where I only have to look alike, act alike; where I don´t need to answer to myself and know myself and make the best out of myself. Mainstream also means that I get to blame someone or something else - outside myself - if I am not happy, satisfied, fulfilled.
So it takes courage to take the responsibility for our own happiness, our own creation, our own growth. Truly, there are powerful ads that advertise products and experiences that we should buy. But we are our only advocate when it comes to our own unique happiness and satisfaction, our own choices and decisions, our own life path. And going down the path of our very own life is the truly satisfying path that no product ever advertised on TV or anywhere else could buy us. Enjoy!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Have you ever noticed, how with changing life circumstances and values/beliefs your circle of friends is changing. It has been said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. This could also mean that by taking a closer look at our friends and choosing wisely, we can improve ourselves. Here is what I know to be true:
After 6+ years of marriage and loving it, I have a quite different circle of friends than when I was a single woman. I got closer to some of my married friends, and have lost contact to some of my single friends - the partying kind mostly. Some new couples came into our life, us enjoying to do couple things together.
As I was chatting with a good friend and the wife of one of our "couple friends", we discussed the topic of marriage. We both like the commitment to our marriage and value and respect it. One of the most hurtful and destructive behaviors of a spouse is to have an affair. It affects not only the immediate family system, it also affects friendships. This is because with the act of following through with a desire and starting and/or keeping an affair going, the whole set of values goes through a change. Some might even say, the values have been there all along: In the case of someone having an affair it would be anything else than respectful, true to her/his word, honest, courageous.
Imagine a good friend who is married or in a committed relationship - like you or like people you value. This friend starts to brag to you about an affair or even more affairs. What does that mean for you? The situation is getting more and more dishonest. No friend does you any good by making you a confidant of their moral downfall. It leaves you with the struggle of what to do with that knowledge. Plus, one not so often discussed aspect is that your spouse/partner might be the target if your friend so desires one of theses days. I have seen it happen, and it is fairly common, even though it is a terrible betrayal of trust and friendship.
We all have friends who need to be the center of attention. Sometimes, when paired with having affairs, this desire gets so intense that the value of friendship has nothing to oppose this. Maybe it is time to take a closer look at our friends and get closer to the ones who we admire and respect and fade out the ones who are not having the same values as we do. Clearly there is nothing to be gained to start discussing morals with a friend ("so called") who is not having any. The person without morals will win any argument about them, because she/he speaks from the perspective of the own ego and not the context of society and the greater spiritual good.
I invite you to be selective with who you call a friend. It certainly tells a story about you.
Courage, love and compassion.