It's Not Your Body's Fault
Not too long ago a client of mine, let's call her Christina, had a big week.
She gave a breakout presentation to top executives in her company, then immediately following her talk, she drove across town to receive the keys to her brand new home.
While parts of her week were exciting, she was way out of her comfort zone – taking her biggest financial and career leaps yet.
When it was all said and done, she sat on the floor of her brand new home, alone, with practically everything she owned in boxes, exhausted and overwhelmed. And she began to cry.
What happened next for Christina is a neurological wiring that occurs lightening quick. Instead of feeling the uncertainty and self-doubt about her presentation – or the fear of buying a home all alone – she looked for something more concrete to blame for the uncomfortable feelings rising in her.
And in a matter of seconds, she felt fat and heavy. She wanted her body to look and feel differently. She started to think about dieting and getting on a plan immediately. She knew those things weren’t the answer, but the pull to get it all under control was ever so strong.
As Christina shared this with me over the phone during our appointment, she was looking for an explanation and an answer about what to do next. This is what I told her:
You’re super gluing life’s hardships onto your body. When life feels heavy, our body feels heavy.
When life is hard – which it is – and when life is full – which it is – it can be a lot to handle and feel. Often times placing all that stress onto our bodies is the only tangible thing to do. We are really good at blaming our body, food, or the weight. We aren’t so good at dealing with life directly.
When we experience discomfort – which is inevitable if you have a body and a beating heart – it’s human nature in those moments to want to find something to blame. Sadly, that thing we blame all too often is our body.
It might be “bigger stressors” like buying a home, public speaking, a break up, or another major life event for you this week.
Or, it might be your everyday anxieties – running below the surface – that will have you pointing to your stomach and arms as a way to make sense of your pain. The body is something tangible to blame, where life’s messiness is anything but.
Blaming our body aka: shaming our body creates a buffer. As long as you roam around the outsides, feeling the feelings about your body, you don’t have to feel the feelings in your body. In other words...
As long as we have our thighs to worry about we don’t have our lives to worry about.
I asked Christina, when you where sitting on the floor in that moment, if you weren’t thinking about your body what would you have been thinking about?
She was lost for words. She hadn’t given herself the space to feel. She had bottled it all up – keeping it all together, all week long– and here was the come down, which had nothing to do with the size of her stomach.
I believe that somewhere in every woman – regardless of her size – is an inkling that her body isn’t supposed to be on the receiving end of so much judgment and projection. And she suspects the innocence of her body, after all it’s simply an intricate system of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and space. It’s far from being the problem.
So how do we stop super gluing our problems onto our body?
We begin to see that our body is not our life. It’s not our ticket to a stress-free, perfect inner and outer world (those aren’t real things). And our body is a vehicle in which we live our life. Our imperfect, yet oh so human, life.
And we ask ourselves, have I given myself the space to feel? To transition? Have I reassured myself that it’s okay to feel whatever I am feeling because there’s no wrong or right way to feel?
Have I investigated – when do I place the fault onto my body? What stressors/discomforts are occurring for me that have nothing to do with my body?
If I’m feeling heavy in my body, where else in my life am I feeling heavy? If I’m feeling insecure, doubtful, or uncertain about my body, where else in life am I feeling those things?
Continue to stretch yourself to live the best life you know how to live. Because you have a body that allows you to do so.