Last week I was talking to a woman whom I recently met, and she was telling me about her weight-loss journey. She told me that at one point she was 30 pounds lighter, but it completely messed with her head. She was describing how when she looked in the mirror she wasn’t seeing herself anymore. She struggled with seeing herself as this thinner person because she had always defined herself as being heavier. Eventually, she put the weight back on because it made her more comfortable. When we ended the conversation, I gave her a hug and told her, “You are not your body.”
“You are not your body,” is a phrase or mantra that I repeat to myself a lot these days.
A few months ago, I was attending a coaching seminar program, and was called up to the front to be coached. (At the time I wasn’t up for it, nor did I really think I needed it.) Anyway, during my coaching the facilitator asked me if my husband and I were planning to have children, and then I started to cry. (Little did he know that I had just had surgery for a miscarriage 2 days prior.) When I told him that, he was taken back at first, but then honored me for my courage in being in the course. Then he went on to tell me something that I had never thought to be true.
I define myself by my body.
Although, I really wanted to argue with him and tell him that it wasn’t true, I know deep down that I do. I am not just Theresa. I am my body. My body has become an extension of myself, or maybe I have become an extension of my body. My strength of character is also matched to my physical strength. My rigidness in character is also demonstrated in my physical inflexibility.
“Holy Crap! Is this just me?” I asked myself.
When I engaged in the conversation with the women I spoke of above, it made me realize that I may not be the only one. How many of us do the same thing? How many of us define ourselves by our bodies, whatever that may look like?
Some of you may think that it doesn’t really seem like such a big deal, but I have to disagree.
Defining ourselves by how we look limits us. It keeps us from embracing new ideas and new possibilities. It causes us to morph our personalities to match our physical presence, or to compensate and change our personalities because of how we look.
So, I ask you to break free from your body.
You are not your body.