Laying Down Body Shame
Updated: Feb 15, 2020
Our work is about helping women wake up to their inner radiance and shine.
But we cannot shine unless we see, acknowledge and heal what is dimming our light - and there are a lot of things that can dim a woman's light, but the one I want to talk about today is the relationship we have with our body.
We talk to women all the time who hate something about their body. This hatred is something I (Lindsay) have experienced in my own life.
After birthing two 10 lb babies, my stomach is not what it used to be.
For years following the birth of my first daughter, my tummy was what it is now - soft and squishy and still round because growing big babies can do a number on your ab muscles.
My stomach used to be a source of deep shame for me.
I loathed seeing my naked body in the mirror.
I was obsessed with getting my pre-baby belly back. Fixated on tightening and flattening it. Preoccupied with thoughts like, "If only my stomach were flat, then I'd be happier."
The volume of disapproval of my belly - of myself - was loud. And it impacted everything. My confidence. My sense of worth. My happiness. My power.
My body was my enemy. And the cost was high - too high.
So after my second daughter was born, I chose another way.
I decided to make my body my friend, my partner, my ally.
To give myself some Grace. Kindness. Gentleness. Love.
I opened the door to accepting my sweet belly that grew and nurtured two healthy baby girls - and not let her roundness and wrinkles and crape-like skin stop me from putting on a bathing suit or letting my husband see me naked. No longer was I willing to waste my precious life-energy on hating my tummy and spending hour upon hour preoccupied with getting it to look the way an unconscious culture tells us is acceptable for a woman's belly to look.
This time around I care more about how I feel than how I look. Do I feel alive, vibrant, present, grateful, worthy?
When it's a resounding yes, I feel beautiful - even if I'm not living up to some impossible physical standard.
Why did I choose differently this time around?
Because I have two daughters and they will learn to love or hate their bodies from me.
Because I was tired of all the obsessing, scrutinizing, comparison, self-doubt and suffering.
Because I see now that the Universe gave me this belly to help wake me up out of the painful trace of believing that my worth, my happiness and my power is somehow connected to the size and shape of my waist.
It was given to me to help me remember the truth of who I am so that I can teach my daughters the truth of who they are.
I won't lie, it's not always easy - and some days of the month are a lot harder than others.
My ego can kick up a lot of resistance to loving and accepting my body as it is. Transforming my perspective and my relationship with my body is definitely a journey, but it's a journey I'm committed to - a journey of choosing love and acceptance over judgment and shame.
If you feel inspired to join me in laying down shame and embracing your inherent beauty and worth, I want to share a 4-step process I've found helpful in case it might be helpful to you, too.
What body part do you judge or have trouble accepting?
How has your judgement - or hatred - of this body part impacted you and your life? What has it stopped you from experiencing?
Flood yourself with love by writing a love-letter to this body part. Thank it for all of the ways it has served you. Find gratitude for it. Acknowledge what is beautiful about it.
Forgive any judgements or limiting beliefs you may have bought into about yourself or this body part. For example, "I forgive myself for buying into the belief that the size of my waist determines my worth and value." Or, "I forgive myself for judging myself and my body as loathsome."
Let's see our bodies and ourselves through the eyes of acceptance.
Let's surrender the judgements we've carried for too long and wake up to what Rumi said centuries ago: "By God, when you see your beauty you will be the idol of yourself."
Let's own and celebrate our beauty - for ourselves, for our daughters and for the generations of women to come - and set an example that gives other women and girls everywhere permission to own and celebrate themselves, just as they are.