I suppose I can admit that I must have been living under a rock for the past year or so, as I have yet to see the Disney movie Frozen. Yes, I know. Shocker. But I’m not so out of the loop that I am at least familiar with / have heard the popular song “Let It Go.” And yes, I love it too.
What does this song have to do with anything on this blog? Well, I think that the central chorus and title have particular importance in my life, and probably yours, right now. So I’d like to explore that idea.
As you have probably noticed in my blog writings to date, whatever I write about tends to deal with something I’m currently experiencing, have been pondering, or have dealt with personally in the past. I believe that unlike reading about studies, conflicting diet and nutrition information, or arguments for or against a specific way of eating, the most impact comes from relating to another person’s reflections and experiences. That is why I share them here today.
Last week, while I was between running high-intensity bursts on the treadmill, I was huffing and puffing my way through an article in O Magazine. It was an outdated issue from before the New Year, but had a good feature on how to live 2014 to the fullest, and increase your happiness. Part of what struck me so in this article was the tip to practice letting go. The author wrote about the practice of mentally and physically letting go of negativity, behaviors, and lines of thinking that keep us paralyzed in self-doubt and loathing.
Huh. Panting and sweating away, I slowed down the pace on the treadmill. I was irritated that just one minute of running 8 mph was seemingly killing me. Wiping sweat from my brow, I decided to give this notion a little practice. Here I was in the middle of pushing my body in a workout, and my mind was obsessing over how inadequate I felt, worrying about how gross I was looking, and that my butt jiggles as I run.
Breathing in, I thought to myself, Let it happen…and as I exhaled I thought, Let it go…
Again, let it happen… let it go.
Let it happen… let it go.
This small shift in my mental energy helped me push through the rest of my workout and focus on being glad for what I was capable of, rather than critiquing what I felt were my inadequacies.
Over the past week, I’ve been trying the implement this little practice. Breathing in, let it happen, as I catch myself in a negative, self-abusive thought, and breathing out, let it go, as I release the thought from my mind. Amazingly, it has helped me to not dwell over the little insecurities I still harbor with my body.
A couple instances in the past few months have me reeling in self-doubt and easily slipping into some derisive and abusive thoughts about my body. Last month, while shopping for my evening gown for the International Pageant in July, I was insulted by a rude sales clerk when he told me that I should “lose some weight in my hips and butt” to help my dress fit better. It has been hard for me to not obsess over this stupid and inconsiderate quip, even though I know better and see his words as a reflection of his own obtuseness and not my health or attractiveness.
With these words ringing in my mind, as a million other more important things demand my attention each day, I have felt trapped back in a pattern of belittling my body and not appreciating all it is capable of, merely from the verbal critique from one stranger. Stupid, right?
As I go forward, attempting to refocus and direct my energy on mental and physical health and happiness, I’m trying to let it go… I see how wasteful this mental energy is to harbor each day, and how counterproductive it is for me physically.
When I mentally abuse or mistreat my body, by way of thinking negative things or saying things about myself like, “My belly is so swollen” or “I wish I had bigger breasts” or “I hate my thighs,” I begin to manifest these statements as my reality, and turn back to my old vices. Like many of you, I have a history of emotionally eating, eating for escape, eating to feel happy, eating to feel nothing, eating as a substitute for dealing with whatever really needs my attention. Being emotional abusive to myself in any way lowers me to the level of one who is verbally rude or abusive to anyone else… because I do it to me.
Looking in the mirror, I’m practicing positive affirmations, acknowledging that my body is a good body, that it is capable of doing so much and affords me a wonderful vessel in which to experience this amazing life. My body gets bloated sometimes, it feels sore oftentimes, it gets tired, it gains weight, it loses weight, it gives me unbelievable pleasure and sometimes inescapable pain. My body protects me from harm, cleanses me from toxins, and keeps me moving and speaking and thinking and breathing every single day.
My body is a good body. And so is yours – in every way.
So when I start feeling those icky, negative thoughts bubble up inside, I will breathe in, let it happen…and breathe out all that yucky stuff, let it go…
Maybe after that I will burst into song, Frozen style.