A Year To Love My Body
One of the 7 steps to clarity is T – Trust.
Trust your own process and take your own advice
Since writing my book I have been forced, to be so much more aware of my own process and the advice I give others. I now proactively stop and listen to my own wisdom with the aim to take that advice myself.
Instead of projecting my wisdom on others with words and instructions, I aim to embed it, embrace it and be it.
In this weeks Motivational Monday I talk about my reflections on a question that took me 6 years to answer:
Since learning to truly tune into my own wisdom and carefully listening to the advice I am so quick to give others, I have become much better at learning to act on my own advice.
It has given more peace and harmony inside me and around.
And during this process I have discovered that I have some beliefs that quite frankly are not true. They are lies that I have either been told or I have told myself. Or perhaps they were true once and they are no longer true now.
In fact considering one of my core values is honesty, it is at times quite troubling to notice how often I don’t tell myself the truth. I wrap myself up in a story that i believe is intended to protect me but instead it confuses me and distracts me from the truth.
And the journey continues.
As I launch the next iteration of 21 days to Manage Your Critic, I have also signed up to follow the programme myself.
As I looked through my journals yesterday I came across a workbook from a personal development day in May 2017 where I said “A year to love my body”
I have realised that I have become so confused between the stories, advice and wisdom outside of me that I have failed to truly listen to what ‘my’ body is telling me.
With this in mind my personal development task for February is to love my body.
First I have to work out what I mean by those so called 3 simple words – Love my body.
What would you change if you were to commit to 21 days to change something?
Somewhere along my journey I became ashamed of my body, I felt dirty inside because of the stories I believed about my outside. In attempt to ignore that pain I have failed to truly listen to my own body.
I have at times abused it, I have over fed it, under exercised it and all too often put food in it that quite frankly I know are poisonous. I have lacked interest in the way I dress it or present it to the world.
I had a belief that I had always been overweight, when the true story is that I only really gained weight when I became pregnant in 1995.
And yet since I was 14 I believed I was over weight. The story that came with that was that I was not feminine, I was solid and that fat people are lazy.
Ironically as I look at those photos of me at 14, I know I was of course not fat, so where did those stories come from and how come I could not see the truth when I looked into the mirror?
I lost 5 stones immediately after the birth of my first child. I reached my lowest weight in years in 1996.
I even had my belly button pierced to mark the occasion. I had a belief that belly button piercing only looked good on skinny people. Ironically I haven’t been that weight since and I still love my piercing. Except for those odd moments when I catch it in my cloths, then it is not quite so lovely.
I have come to realise that I was still listening to the stories in my head and of those around me that inferred my weight was a representation of my worth or value.
Now ironically I had a belief that I was lazy and I do believe that belief meant I became fat and stayed that way. For years I focused on weight loss when what I really needed to focus on was noticing how hard I worked, how I added value and the fact I am not lazy.
The belief I was lazy came from the perception I never seemed to be as good as everyone else and so I must be lazy right.
For some reason I had a story in my head that skinny people were better, faster, fitter more focused rather than different. And I know for a fact that this is one of those stories that just is a lie. Just like the one that says women are not capable etc. Or men shouldn’t cry.
There is a time for rest, there is a time for emotion and there is a time for getting on with things and they all need space.
I have come to realise that due these stories I had a distorted view of self.
When I was pregnant I recognise that I did not honour the transformation and the magic of the life growing inside me because I was getting bigger, slower and lazier.
I worked up to the day she was born. Not planned. I had planned to take 5 weeks maternity leave but she decided to come 5 weeks early.
I was more focused on what others could see and think, than what was happening inside. I cannot go back but I can reflect and learn. I can inspire young mums to stop, listen and love their bodies.
And as a woman experiencing menopause I can stop and listen to this next phase of change with much more kindness and love.
It is said that woman who have healed the pain of the past are less likely to experience the emotional highs and lows through menopause. I have no idea if this is just a story but it is one that seems to apply and work for me. Since listening to and loving who I am emotional highs and lows have reduced drastically.
I feel like my body has been holding on to my baby weight waiting for me to remember how magical that moment was and to ask me to love myself inside and out. I am now listening and I do love the whole of me.
And as I make take this next stage of change, I won’t ignore and neglect my body this time.
I am committed to 21 days to learn more about what my body wants and needs I am committing to loving this body and truly taking care of it. And change to my shape might happen and I will track change and celebrate it, but change is not my focus it is a bi-product of loving what is.
My focus is on letting go of the stories I have been told and I have told myself about my body that bring me feelings of guilt and shame.
When I watched this short film today. I realised that for many reasons I have hidden my femininity, I have been ashamed of the soft gentle nurturing side of my soul.
I am determined this year, my 50th year to be the very best version of myself. I am determined to be me without apology.
I am a woman, no god damn it, it is not because I am a woman, men cry too. I am me, I am Sheryl Ann Andrews and I cry to release emotions that I cannot find the words for.
And the more I listen to the stories I tell myself, the more I notice that the tears are often from immense joy and that is beautiful and new. For too much of my life, it was from a place of fear, anxiety and a fear of failing.
I am me, I am not as strong as others when it comes to physical strength and I can be stronger.
I am me, I am stronger emotionally than you might think and I will not settle for a world without compassion and love and acceptance of differences.
I will not settle for a workplace that doesn’t allow me to show up as the whole of me. A space that allows me to complain when I am fearful and truly celebrate when I am proud.
I am not interested in mediocre any more. And I will not pretend to be happy just because the other person doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to see, hear and feel my strengths beyond the tears.
I am me, and I will start with my own inner world and heal the conflict inside.
I will gain clarity of what I mean by what I say.
I will gain confidence of what works for me.
Then I will celebrate change that is happening.
Then and only then will I seek your opinion or your advice if something still is not working. Until that point just notice what you love about my body and stop focusing on what doesn’t work for you. It is my body and it is not for you to judge or condemn.
When I work on me with love and compassion and you work on you, then peace and harmony can be achieved.
I cannot bring peace to chaos if I am in overwhelm and lack clarity and confidence myself.
Actually that is not entirely true. I can pretend, I did for years and many were fooled. I can wear the professional mask that says don’t bring your personal problems here. But I cannot wear it in every area of my life all of the time. I have to be able to show up as me with pain and pleasure and for all of my story to be heard and honoured.
For now I am being curious about what happens next when I love my body.
Thank you Allison Marlowe for sharing this today. My Body is ready to move and this film really stirred up some energy which resulted in this article pouring out from my heart.
Please share below your thoughts as google likes to know you like me or join us for more private conversation in our closed Facebook group Manage your critic
If you are struggling to be heard and understood and it is preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life then please do book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will be happy set you up for success.
I might be part of the solution you need and I might not, but you will you know your next best step.
Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.
That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.
Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.
Follow Step By Step Listening on Social Media