My relationship with my body has been love/hate for most of my life. I lose weight. I gain weight. I feel good about myself. I loathe myself. Whether my view of myself was positive or negative almost always seemed to center around what I would see in the mirror.
When I was in coaching, this seemed logical to me, that what was reflected back to me from the mirror was the way that I actually saw myself, and the template with which to compare what was a beautiful body to me, according to the coaches I came in contact with, was whether or not I loved how I looked in a bathing suit. When I enjoyed what I looked like in a bathing suit, then I would know I was living in my dream body.
As a result, my previous thoughts about loving my body were confirmed: that the slimmer and more shapely and small my body appeared to me, the more attractive it was. The more that I knew that I had my dream body. So, when I was plumper, had more rounded curves, and weighed more, I was not in my dream body.
I decided to let go of that equation a few months ago, when I really started to embrace my body as it is, curves and all. That has been a difficult journey for me, because I have always valued myself not just by the number on the scale, and the number of pounds that I had lost in any given time, but by what I saw in the mirror. My size as I saw it. I have been ready to challenge that belief in me for awhile now, and keep looking for opportunities to tune into the real love for myself.
So, a couple of weeks ago, my fiance suggested to me that I stop looking in the mirror at myself, and instead, just feel my way to wearing what I was comfortable in, making it an internal process of trust. My daily ritual was for me to get ready for work, or to go out, and to go in front of the full length mirror in my daughter’s room to assess the result. The process was always the same: do I look skinny or fat today? Do my legs look too short and chunky in these leggings? Am I too old to wear this type of style or color? No self love in that, mind you. I would stand in front of that mirror, believing that the truth was reflected back at me. Which of course, it wasn’t.
So, I stopped doing that. The first couple of days of not going to that mirror were a challenge, I have to say. It felt like a step was missing. However, from the first day that I stopped going to the mirror, I noticed a change. I noticed that I spent time really deciding what I wanted to wear, that would feel beautiful and comfortable to me. Not based on what I thought I saw in my reflection, but really felt good to be in. What really felt good on my body. It was an amazing step.
I believe that one of my lifelong lessons will be to keep loving myself, as I am, more and more each day. I believe that I can keep loving myself in a deeper way, with conscious thought and action. And, I know now that what I see is not the true reflection of my self; that the true self lies within, and I need only listen to that inner voice to hear who I really am.