I have a photo of myself at 4 years old that I hang in my kitchen… I often stop to look at it because it makes me remember who I was… It’s probably the closest representation of my highest self.
When I look at this photo I see my belly protruding over my ruffled bikini, my nose is scrunched up and I’m wearing a huge smile. I didn’t care that I my thighs touched or that my belly looked out over my pants…. I cared that I could run with those legs when playing tag, that my body could dive into water and feel it ripple off my back.
I cared that I could bite into a juicy piece of watermelon or lick an ice cream cone. I cared that my hands could slide into my mom’s hand or that my skin could feel the joy of being wrapped up in my dad’s arms or be thrown high into the air.
I cared that I could have fun and experience all that life offered me IN MY BODY.. My body allowed me to experience the world…
I recently started seeing and calling my body a SHE personalizing her instead of callig my body an IT…. SHE has been my oldest friend, my confidant in those lonely hours at night when I thought I would never get married or have a family of my own. She let me abuse her, beat her up with words of inadequacy starting in early adolescence, In college I ran her into the ground (literally)… I made her run 17 miles on the weekend only to reward her with a meal of beans and lettuce and then over the next 3 years I punished her for gaining weight by binging and purging. In marriage I trusted her to get pregnant when I wanted to have babies and she got pregnant. I trusted her to grow 3 babies and she did….Oh and when we gave birth I expected her to lose that baby weight immediately and oh Lordy if she held onto any of that baby weight I would shame her….We are not one of those women who let’s herself go just because she had a baby OH NO! We will rebuild this body to be even better because we’re not a regular mom, we’re a cool mom!!!!
So yeah, my body has done so much for me and frankly put up with so much. She’s put up with constant abuse and criticism for probably 30 years, endured a couple eating disorders, ran 2 marathons and 6 half marathons, loved one man, birthed 3 children, made milk and nursed those babies for total of 5 + years, taken me to different countries, painted beautiful art, taken a gazillion photos, written a few meaningful pieces, allowed me to share my voice on several platforms, endured several sleepless nights and kept a household running…..she is a freaking BAD ASS!!!!!
You know I cried the whole time while I was writing that…. When I think of my body as a SHE, as my best friend that has never left me, a friend that has put up with a ton of crap and still continues to pump blood to my heart, oxygen through my lungs and allows me to move through life. I am overwhelmed with emotion and feelings of gratitude. She hasn’t failed me and YOUR body hasn’t failed you either.
I know what you maybe thinking… but Chrissy you don’t know my story, I’ve been abused, I’m underweight or overweight, I have cancer or an autoimmune disease or I’m struggling with infertility…. I first want to wrap my arms around you and shower you with empathy… I don’t know what you’re going through and if I had an hour with each of you I would just listen. So don’t take what I have to say today as one more thing you have to perfect!
Today I want to change the way you view your body. I want to give you practical tools to reframe any negative thoughts you have about your body…. I want to leave you with the hope that you can live more fully in your body than ever before and love your body more than ever before. Here are the essentials of embodiment, how you can practice it and how it’s a game changer.
Let’s first start with gratitude:
I think of gratitude as “appriciateing things on purpose” and placing value on the things we have and want in life…. Gratitude for me feels like putting on new glasses where I see things fully saturated! As children we were in awe of everything and marveled at the simplest things… My 14 month old daughter can stare outside our window and look at the birds for like 15 minutes without getting distracted or board. When we are children we are in awe of the world around us but something happens to us when we arrive into adulthood… stress and unmet expectation come into our world.
So first ask yourself what did I lose track of time doing as a child and journal about it.
For me it was: Trolls, Barbies, Baby Dolls, and playing “office”…. basically everything in my life now that drains me ha ha!
How to find gratitude for your body?
Everything you want to change starts with awareness….start noticing when you are picking yourself apart or thinking negatively about your body. Think of a mental red flag going up in your mind and then when you can make sure you label in your journal or phone at least 5 things you are grateful for that your body does for you… get very detailed. An example would be: “Ugh I hate that my thighs touch”… I would cross that out in my journal and under that negative statement I would write at least 5 things my thighs or legs do for me. “I am grateful for my thighs because they allow me to walk my child to school. I’m grateful for my thighs because they can squat down and pick things up off the floor, I’m grateful for my thighs because I can walk on the beach or travel more easily from place to place.” You get the idea, get very detailed and soak in all that your body does for you even if it doesn’t look the way you want it to.
Let’s shift to talking about embodiment because I’m so so so excited about how it can transform your life.
What is EMBODIMENT?
At it’s core emodiment is knowing and listening to the wisdom in your body. The wisdom that you were born with and the wisdom that our bodies have acquired thus far in life.
Embodiment is coming back into the body; it’s the process of becoming alive to the signals of our bodies…. It’s the FULL Human experience.
Most of us don’t really LIVE inside our bodies, we live in our minds and our minds tell us all sorts of distorted things….” I’m not pretty enough, slim enough, fit enough, healthy enough, young enough, smart enough, good enough….” Sound familiar?
Childhood is so fun because as children we just naturally integrate our mind body and spirits… it’s much easier to live in your body as a child because you haven’t had much outside influence to tell you you are anything but PERFECT!
You are exactly who you were meant to be a child and guess what?! You are still exactly who you are meant to be today… you just have to get back in touch with that inner child.
The body tells us stuff: What has your body told you lately? Mine has been telling me I need more rest and that I need to be in nature and I know this because of how I feel when I give into these desires.
There are many times I override the signals my body is trying to tell me and just finish that run even though my knees were aching. If we can pay attention to what our body is tell us instead of living in our minds or emotions all the time we can integrate our mind, body, soul and live more fully.
I couldn’t keep this information from you any longer! It has truly been a game changer for me in my mental health and has helped me access the spirit of my inner child and love my body more than ever before.
I want you to experience this same joy in your own skin! I created a guide with all the exercises and journal prompts that have helped me learn to embody my body and love myself. Click HERE to download my FREE “HOW TO LOVE YOUR BODY TODAY” guide. More of this goodness and my own story can be heard on my podcast Sure, Babe.
*Photography by Rise Photo Co.
With Grace & Gratitude,