Feeling "meh" about your body?

The Q:
"I'm in my mid-thirties, I've had children, I weigh a little more than I should but I'm not totally obsessed with it. I stay at this weight fairly easily and don't feel like I need to diet, not that I'd even have the energy or desire to diet if I did!

That said, I don't feel like I have a really good relationship with my body. I don't feel connected to my body and while I feel fine in a bathing suit I certainly don't consider my body beautiful or desirable......and the minute my clothes feel a wee bit tight, I start feeling bad about myself. I'd like to feel more connected, more appreciative, more proud of my body."

jillianmurphyFFBL

The A:
Well, first of all, I'd say you're in a decent place. Feeling neutral about your body is a really good thing. When you love something unconditionally (think: your children) you don't walk around all day swooning over them. You love them no matter what - and there are days where you could just gobble them up for all the cuteness and magic and then there are days where you could throttle them because LIFE and outside judgment and stress......but no matter what, you always take care of them. You meet their needs. You don't (often) disrespect them and if you do you apologize. Because that's a shitty thing to do and you know it.

So, same with your body. It's fine to have good days and bad days and neutral days. The main thing is: to always take care of yourself. To respect and meet your needs, regardless of what the outside world is telling you those needs SHOULD be.

More often than not, when women are feeling bad about their bodies, it has less to do with how tight their jeans are and WAY more to do with how they are neglecting themselves.

The next time you're feeling BLECH about your bod, I want you to think about what you could do to take better care of yourself.....

Maybe you need a massage, or a hot bath, or to wax your hoo-hah*.
Maybe you need a hard run or a yin yoga class or to watch your sugar intake.
Maybe you need a nap. Or an all night dance party.

Whatever it is, THAT is the thing that will make you feel better about your body (and, incidentally, it's also the thing that will most likely bring your body back to it's happy place. No force needed). 

There is one other thing though, the idea that maybe instead of just feeling neutral about your body you're actually feeling "meh" about it. Meaning, you NEVER see the magic or the miracle or the beauty of the form you exist in. This, I think, is a problem because most women don't exist happily in a "decent, totally apathetic" place.

We need expansion and joy.
We need to feel desire and be desirable.

And I believe that this depth of appreciation for your own beauty and your ability to connect with your body's needs & appetites are deeply intertwined. One does not exist without the other. 

Deciding to really own your own brand of beauty is no small feat. Getting there looks a little different for every woman.....but it always requires that we take complete ownership of all the features we have - the perfect, the off-beat, the ugly - and a great amount of internal discipline to stay in that place of ownership in a world that wants to tell us we're all wrong.

For me, it's a work in progress and likely a topic I'll need to write about in more depth on a different day, somewhere in the future, when I'm fully owning my own beauty - but I do want to plant the seed....because it's impossible to live a full, out loud, expansive, passionate, pleasurable, FUN life, if you're feeling "meh" about the body you're in and worried about the size of your jeans.

That kind of apathy (verging on negativity) affects your relationships and your energy and what you have to give to the world. And for that reason, regardless of how long it takes or how hard it is, it's worth the effort.

You NEED to try. (drama voice)


I may not have all the answers (yet!) but here a few tricks for getting back into your body, connecting with yourself, and finding joy in the body you have...

Quick Start Guide to Owning Your Own Brand of Beauty
1. Play! Every day. Find a way to move (the word I use for exercise) that feels like joyful play and fit it in regularly. For me it's contemporary dance, long walks, pilates and yoga. You?
2. Have fun!
Schedule in activities that make you laugh, inspire you, and bring out the best in you. Weed out as many of the UN-FUN things as you can and work hard to bring fun and pleasure into unavoidable chores (for me, this is drop off and pick-up of my kids.....I hate it, I have to do it, I've found tiny ways to make it FUN!!!!!)
3. Act "as if": Act as if you're a woman who totally loves herself, inside and out. Take care of your appearance and pursue pleasure (in it's many forms) like a part-time job. Experiment until you find a routine that works for you.

What about you? Are there ways you OWN your beauty? I'd love to hear.

XO
Jill


*Medical term