How are you feeling about your body?
Do you need to be fixing it all the time?
Are you more concerned with how you look to others?
If you’re focused on it looking a particular way, rather than honestly feeling it, you’re insecure. An extreme example of this insecurity is the younger sister of a friend I had years ago. She ALWAYS got up an hour earlier than her boyfriend. In the years they were together, he NEVER saw her without makeup.
It’s hard in this culture to be safe in one’s body because advertisers and marketers want you to feel inadequate so you’ll buy their products.
Statistics range anywhere from 250 to 3000 advertising messages and images that we’re bombarded with every day. Some sure signs that you’re being too fancy in (and neglectful of) your body are:
- You criticize and judge yours and others’ appearance
- You spend money on brand-name clothes to the detriment of your financial well-being
- You stuff your feelings with food, shopping, or some similar activity
- Your exercise habits are excessive and you feel obsessed and exhausted
- You have sex, more often than not, drunk or with altered consciousness
If any of these apply to you, a question you might want to ask is, “Does my ‘look good’ feel good?”
Not quite thirty years ago, a long-time colleague who I accepted a date with after knowing him for some time, came to my apartment. Only present for a few minutes, he blurted, “Is this it?” I had a hand-me-down sofa, and other bargain basement furniture. His comments hurt, and I simply said, “Yeah,” but later thought, “Sure, it’s not fancy, but it’s clean, and I feel safe here.”
Similarly, it’s more important to feel safe in your body, in essence, your home, than to have it be fixed up and fancy for someone else.
How do you know if you’re safe in your body or that your body is safe with you?
- You have clear physical boundaries
- You dress appropriately (low-cut tops for work environments aren’t appropriate)
- You exercise regularly for health but without obsession
- You rarely overeat, binge, or purge with relationship to food
- You don’t stuff or escape feelings or insecurities with food, exercise, work, drugs or anything else that can be used or done to an extreme
- You reserve your sexual intimacy for the right person and enjoy that intimacy to the fullest unencumbered by body shape or size
Thirty years ago I let his comments upset me and I felt inadequate, but fortunately, much growth, self-awareness, and safe self-approval has occurred in the last thirty years, as evidenced by a recent exchange on an airline flight I took. It would have been easy for me to feel inadequate sitting next to a stunning twenty-two year old recently on a return trip from the Midwest. She was much younger than me, taller, adorned with artfully done shadows and creams that enhanced her naturally beauty, and attractive in that way that only the really young can be. Her entire life stretched before her.
But I didn’t feel jealous. Instead I chatted with her easily and reflected on the difference in not only our mindset, but the thoughts I’d had at her age and the respect I’d had, or more specifically, didn’t have, for my body then. I marveled at the growth I’ve made in the last thirty years and was amazed at the much gentler, loving way I interact with and treat myself. I have respect for this body and the way it’s supported me all these years. Today, a body I’d once neglected and treated in an unsafe way, I feel safe in.
You can too. The first step is to be aware of the messages you’re giving yourself, then you can take action(s) to be safe in your body—your home—the only one you’re ever going to have. Check out my program, Love Your Body, Change Your Life to begin being safer in your body today.