Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What About You?

My last status update on Facebook, posed the question, “How would you describe the current relationship you have with your body?” The question got some really awesome answers and then a reader commented, “what about you?”

Before I talk about my current relationship with my body- I should talk a little bit about how things used to be between me and her.

Things between us started off well, as all babies relationships with their bodies likely do, things started of intimate and innocent. It’s hard to pinpoint where things started to go wrong exactly. However I think my role model for relationships with body probably had something to do with our problems. Mom and her body weren’t exactly a happy couple. Our relationship got infused with fear. I learned to believe if my body got FAT, that would be the worse that could happen. As fate would have it, that is exactly what happened.

By the time I was a teenager, I clearly blamed my body for all the bad things about my life. It was her fault I didn’t get boyfriends like the other girls, it was her fault I had to wear ugly clothes, it was her fault I was unhappy. Over the years I tried to change her many times into something I could like, but it always ended in failure. Even when she seemed to be trying to please me, I found I was still unhappy in the relationship. This made me even sadder about my life. The sadder I was the meaner I was to her. I stuffed her with food, got her abusively drunk, and put her in unsafe situations.

Things just seemed to be getting worse. My daughter was born, and even though I knew it was imperative for my daughter’s sake that I get things together…the relationship spiraled even more out of control. It was headed down a path towards divorce (keep in mind there is only one way one can get out of a relationship with the body).

I hit the bottom, but at the bottom came realization. I realized my body was never going to make me happy. That my worth and wholeness had nothing to do with her. Those realizations made it possible, probably for the first time since I was a baby to really experience her and get to know her. I let go of any expectations I previously had, and gave her the unconditional love she needed. I started to listen to what she had to say. Our once tumultuous relationship started to have a natural flow to it, it stopped being hard and got easier and easier.

So how would I describe the current relationship I have with my body?

Our relationship is peaceful.

I listen to her. I don’t have expectations of what she has to be or does not have to be to make me happy. I love her unconditionally. Before it was difficult to treat her well but now it doesn’t seem like I have any other choice but to care for her, it comes natural. My worth is not based on her. My wholeness is mine. She cannot give it or take it. However the more I am connected to it, the more our relationship flourishes with love.

The relationship with my body reminds me of any other intimate relationship in my life. It needs trust, communication and nurturing. The more I am connected to my whole self, the more I can connect in a positive way whoever I am in relationship with. Trying to change another person never works in terms of being successful at changing them or creating happiness in the relationship. However unconditionally loving them brings out the very best in them and the best in the relationship.

If you looked at your relationship with your body, as if it were a relationship with a lover, a friend or family member, what do you notice?


jenimelt said...

I feel that I lost my outer core two years ago. I don't know where it went.....I took care of it.....loved it....now at 49.....20 pounds heavier....I wonder what happened.

Stephanie Vincent said...

jenimelt- I'm curious: What is it that you lost? What is it that you've gained (besides the weight)?

Anonymous said...

I would notice that I am verbally and physically abusive in how I treat my body. Our stories are very similar. My mom is heavy and growing up I was determined that I would NEVER, EVER be like her.
I have also treated my body very poorly with the choices that I've made throughout the years.
While I'm not as heavy as she is, I'm undoubtedly overweight.
I yearn to get to the place that you are, but I have so much self-loathing. I don't even know where to start.

Stephanie Vincent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie Vincent said...

Thanks so much for sharing Tammy. I hear you on the "not knowing where to start" Starting begins with one step, and I don't mean a diet routine or exersize. The very first step may just be fully accepting that the relationship isn't working as is. What is it that you need to accept?? Not just know or understand but truly accept?

Liz said...

Wow-- this is the first post I've read of yours and I was absolutely blown away. Having recently come to the same realization, I cried a little bit with the happiness that more of us are learning this; more of us are finding peace with our bodies. THANK YOU for writing.

Stephanie Vincent said...

Liz-- thank you for reading. I too get excited the more I see self-love and acceptance becoming a reality for more and more women!