SO OFTEN we don’t bat a lash at being mean to ourselves – not because we’re inadequate, but because we’re removed.
Distraction is a fun tactic we use when we feel things we don’t want to be feeling. Scared? Procrastinate the day away. Uncomfortable? Check every app on your phone (twice). Anxious? Eat your feelings. And when we distract, we dissociate.
But the thing is, when we dissociate from whatever’s happening – the nervous jitters, the awkward moments, the anxiety – we don’t learn how to deal.
And since emotions aren’t inherently good or bad – we just name them that way – we start to shut down OTHER sensations, too.
We don’t just become removed from the things we don’t like, we start to numb out to the things we DO, too.
The way we treat our body is exactly the same. None of our parts are good or bad, we just name them that way. And way too often, we lump them into the “bad” category instead of the good. Seeing a reflection you’d prefer looked different, or noticing your clothes fit a little tighter than usual, morph from neutral sensations to negatively charged emotions.
And what do we do when those emotions bubble up? We distract ourselves. It must be the body. It must be the problem. We detach, place blame, and dissociate.None of our parts are good or bad, we just name them that way. Click To Tweet
Just like our Ghost Worries hijack our rational minds – just like salt and sugar cover up what our food actually tastes like – negative self-talk has made us forget what our bodies actually feel like.
The pattern is simple and is just like any other relationship on the rocks. See the thing. Notice the fault. Blame the Other. Withdraw attachment. Withdraw touch. But instead of the Other being a husband or girlfriend or romantic partner, the Other is our body.
The second we dissociate from the actual feel of our body, the second we start to dissociate from our body itself. And when we dissociate from our body for too long, we become afraid of it. Afraid – or at least resentful – of this container we’re in. This thing that seems entirely out of our control. Our skin becomes something to pick at and prod. Our muscles become “bulk” and our fat becomes forbidden. The only time we touch our body is when we’re zeroing in to fix something.
The solution is simple: like Beyoncé, we must literally be feeling ourselves.
I don’t mean in the sexual sense – but hey, if you’d like to discuss that, we can talk here or here – I mean actually TOUCH ourselves. Our arms. Our legs. Our stomach. Our hips. Feel what our body feels like.
Sound awkward? It might be at first. But it’s a weird yet effective trick I always come back to when I’m really feeling low about my bod. And I find the longer I go without putting TOUCH into practice, the quicker I slip into old body-loathing tendencies and self-talk.
I know, I know…”easiest trick ever” like sounds like super obnoxious clickbait. But seriously. It takes a matter of minutes, doesn’t involve spending money, and doesn’t require you to recite a mantra or do anything too hippie-dippie. There is NOTHING fancy about this practice, but it’s powerful beyond belief.
It’s as easy as applying lotion after you get out of the shower or giving yourself a mini massage. Take the time to actually feel what your skin feels like in your hands, the way your muscles curve and your thighs dimple (yes, everyone’s do). Notice the micro-dips in your collarbone as you press in, or the soft area under your armpits that is so often shilded from the sun. Get curious about your lines and shapes. How does this thing I call My Body fit together? How does it work? How does the weight I put on my feet each day affect their sensitivity, or the constant texting-typing-responding-reacting my arms do affect them from the inside out?
When we can notice the way our skin feels, relieve a tight muscle, feel the way each part of our body miraculously fits together, we become a creature to admire instead of an object to critique.When we notice how our skin feels, we become a creature to admire instead of an object to critique Click To Tweet
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