This is a continuation from part 1 of exploring how my life has dramatically changed but also what I have had to face about myself and learn.
One of the most interesting lessons I have learned is about body image and self worth. I have always had self worth issues and earth has been such a big school by providing me with events that have challenged me to find strength as a woman. There are a few memories of mine that initially stand out such as my first ever relationship at 19 where I suffered 5 years of emotional abuse which caused severe panic attacks and to the point of suicide, workplace bullying, to times as a little girl where after a kidney operation a boy at school randomly punched me in the kidney, or when my sister and I walked across the school oval and two senior males intimidated us and put rubbish down our clothes. I never had a good relationship with my body, in fact when ever I felt hurt by something externally I wanted to punish myself for it. These days that is called self harm.
I am bringing this all up because I want you to see that what we experience in the outside environment, and what we feel, can eventually reflect in our body too. Not surprising that I have a condition whereby my body attacks it’s own tissue in every cell of my body.
Before I became ill, I was the fittest and happiest in my body, but you see that was all still too superficial because I had not dealt with the emotional scars that were there. We seek so much outside of ourselves when what we really we need to do is search within. When I went to Brazil on my spiritual trip, we all got pedicures one afternoon as a treat and bonding experience. This was extremely emotional for me and I was very uncomfortable with it. I had so much grief in relation to my body and I didn’t love it. Having someone touch my paralysed feet, and withered legs, and showing them love, reduced me to tears.
The thing is, I cannot control my body anymore, and I had to move to a point of acceptance – let go of the shame, feeling ugly, frustrated or sad. This is my body, but I am not my body. I am slowly learning to love parts of my body, that I didn’t like when I was well. This body has changed so much it is not so recognizable to me anymore, but I have to make the best of my relationship with it. I entered this life in this vehicle, this body, and at the end of my life I will be leaving it.
This is me now, 58kg (from 70kg illness has eaten away at the body), I have no balance and cannot stand unaided, no muscle strength, and in this picture I am in pain after a bad fall (I have fallen over 100 times at a guess), but I have and honour who I am and choose to smile regardless – because it’s hitting home more and more these days that I am not my body. And I am learning more about who I really am and why I am here and that I am valued, beautiful and worthy and you would never treat your best friend the way we do to ourselves sometimes!
Here is a really good article called MIRROR MIRROR – 5 Relational Skills to Heal Body Image that I recommend reading if you are struggling with self destructive thoughts about your body.
Advice from your body
- Realise that this is your body, but you are not your body
- Listen to the pains, or changes, and don’t leave it too late to seek medical help
- Be conscious of your emotions and how that affects your body
- Focus on your positive attributes
- Adorn your body in your own unique way – it really is your temple, your abode
- What you put into your body – from environment, to food, water and thoughts, affects your well being now and in the long run
- Do not take the body for granted, do not push it too hard, slow down
- Do not punish the body for things you feel emotionally
- Balance activity with good rest and sleep
- Connect with nature, stand on the earth barefoot
- Breathe properly
- Love the body you are in, you are uniquely beautiful