HEALING YOUR BODY IMAGE FROM THE INSIDE-OUT

6355913634301408071325721035_do-you-have-a-distorted-body-image-jul-11-2012-600x400.imgopt1000x70I have devoted my professional career to teaching people how to have extraordinary relationships with themselves and the people whom they love.  My belief is that the quality of our lives begins with the quality of our relationships.  And really, where the quality of our relationships begin, is with the relationship we have with ourselves.

I am especially passionate about empowering women to value themselves and love who they are, by letting go of the limiting beliefs they might not even be aware of, which rob them of experiencing contentment, joy and peace in their lives.

In almost 20 years of private practice, and through workshops which I’ve led all over the country, I have taught thousands of people that it is the voice of our mind that speaks to us all day long that is responsible for most of our suffering.  It is the voice that tells us what we need to fix, to change, to improve, and where we are just not good enough.  I call this voice the Inner Critic, and there is not a human being alive who escapes from this voice.

What most people don’t realize, is that you are actually separate from this voice, and you don’t have to continue to give it the power that perhaps you currently aren’t even aware that you are giving it.

When we are listening to our Inner Critic, we are always looking for something outside ourselves to help us feel the way we want to feel.  And it is our Inner Critic who convinces us that if we just do what she says, if we just fix this, change that, perfect some aspect of ourselves, we will be enough.

We all have some version of “I am not enough.”

  • For those of you who are teenagers, it could be because of your body, the way you look, or because of your grades, or because you aren’t popular enough.
  • For adults, it could be because you are not successful enough, or your kids aren’t successful enough, or you’re not a good enough mom, wife, or friend.

We think, If I just work harder to reach that goal, at some point I will feel the way I want to feel.  The bottom line is, we ALL buy into the belief that in some way, I am not ok as I am.

So the voice in your mind sets out to have everyone like you, to ensure no one thinks badly of you, to be acceptable to everyone, and to never get hurt, rejected or judged.  And in order to do this, says the Inner Critic, you have to constantly find all of the places in your life where you just aren’t enough, and fix them, to control what others think of you.

The relationship we have to our bodies is a microcosm of the relationship we have with ourselves.  The voice says, if I can just lose those 5, 10, or 40 lbs., I will feel the way I want to feel about myself.   If I just get the boob job, or the liposuction, I will finally feel like I’m enough.  If I can get the right grades, the right friends, the right job, the right marriage, then I will finally feel like I’m enough.  Our Inner Critics make us feel like we have to fight a battle to be someone other than who we are.  It’s like we’re hamsters on a hamster wheel, running and running, and never getting ahead.

We compare ourselves to an ideal woman in our minds, and no matter how hard we try, we never measure up to her.

This is especially true with regard to our bodies and how we look.  In my 20’s and 30’s, I struggled with my own body image issues, so I took up running as a way to ensure that my body looked the way that I thought it should.  I remember when I ran my first mile, and I was so proud of myself!  But, soon my own inner critic mind convinced me that a mile was not good enough.  I ran my first 5K, but eventually that was not good enough either.  I spent most of my 20’s and 30’s pushing myself harder and harder, chasing the ideal body, and feeling like it was never good enough. It was not until after I ran my one and only half marathon at 40 years old, when I saw how much my sense of worth was wrapped up in the shape of my body.  And for the first time, I actually admitted to myself that I have hated running for over 15 years! I was pushing myself to run faster and further, hating every step, but feeling like I had no choice but to force myself and endure the pain it caused.

And we live in a culture that perpetuates this idea.  Every day we are bombarded with messages from commercials, magazines, television and movies, that tell us we are being judged on our appearance, how far away our appearance is from an unachievable ideal, and that our worth as a woman is measured in how close we are in relation to that ideal.  In fact, much of the beauty industry depends on the self loathing attitudes of women.  If we suddenly woke up one day and actually began liking the way we looked, what would that do to the multi billion dollar beauty and diet industry?

It is the unending struggle to impress others, to attempt to control what other people think, that has become a national obsession, and a national crisis.  Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addiction is at an all-time high, because people of all ages are being seduced into believing that whoever they are, whatever their lives look like, and whatever they look like, is not enough.

In our culture, we are not taught that we are separate from the Inner Critic voice of our minds.  Our minds are on autopilot.  Just like our bodies automatically breathe for us, our minds go to the same “not good enough” place.  And we have been doing it in some way, shape or form for our whole lives.

We are not taught how to separate from the automatic voice in our mind.  Our minds are on autopilot.

We are not taught that what it truly takes to feel the way that we want to feel is to understand the difference between our authentic selves and the voice in our mind-The Inner Critic.

We are not taught that if we monitor our automatic critic, then our relationship to how we treat our body will naturally take care of itself.  Instead, in our culture, we focus on diet, exercise and weight loss as being the key.  In other words, our relationship to our bodies is about fixing, changing and perfecting it from the outside-in, rather than the inside out.

I am passionate about having people understand that the key to obtaining the peace, joy and contentment that we all crave, is about examining the false story that our Inner Critic has convinced us is the truth.  It is only when we learn the tools to distinguish the messages of our Inner Critic that we have been seduced into believing, that we can feel how we want to feel.