I know I am supposed to love myself, warts and all. And I am better at this than I have ever been. I continue to get better all the time, in fact. I practice being nicer to me, and I get better at it. But I have this one area that feels impossible for me, no matter what I’ve tried.
Every day, when I weigh myself or when I get dressed or see myself in the mirror, I hear a barrage of self-criticism in my mind. Cruelty I would never dream of saying to others comes spewing out at my body for being overweight!
I have lost weight, even getting to my goal, many times. However, it seems impossible for me to stay there. I am not huge, but that doesn’t even seem to be the point.
I am successful in every other area of my life. But this one has me baffled. I’ve tried every weight loss program. I’ve tried every spiritual and psychological tool I’ve ever seen. Nothing seems to work. I am suffering from my own mind’s cruelty, and can’t seem to get okay with this part of my life, my body. Can you help me
Pudgy in Purgatory
I’m sorry to say that I can totally relate to this struggle. I have had a history of this same challenge, both externally and internally.
Any time we have a strong desire to do or be something and we aren’t succeeding, there’s a good reason for our lack of success. Almost always, there is some aspect of our internal selves that is adamant about NOT having success in this arena.
It is possible, with diligence and openness, to access the part of you who does not want to have this change.
Perhaps she or he doesn’t feel safe at that smaller size? Perhaps they are afraid of what might happen if worrying about weight isn’t available as a place to focus energy? Perhaps this has served as a wonderful distraction from other emotions that might seem off-limits to you, if you were to become aware of them.
Let me clarify what I mean. What I have found for myself is this:
My unconscious mind is protecting me, always. That is a large part of what it does. However, often it is protecting me from the unacceptable emotions I would feel if my unconscious mind was distracting me from them.
For instance, I adore my wife. So much so that the love I have for her makes me vulnerable to her. Too vulnerable, according to my scared inner part. She could hurt me so easily, if she were so inclined. (She is not so inclined, of course. But I have had people hurt me in the past when I was vulnerable.)
My vulnerability makes my inner child scared, and that makes me angry! (This is all unconscious, of course. And not so pretty. But still… “How dare she make me feel so unsafe! It’s scary!”)
My unconscious mind, unchecked, will do what it needs to do in order to keep me from being angry with my wife and feeling my fear. Because Z has done nothing to deserve this anger, it is unacceptable for me to feel the emotions. So my mind needs to find something else to focus on in order to distract me, protect me and keep me a good person in my own eyes. Therein lies the rub, if you will.
My most recent exploration of my weight challenge led me to a very old, extremely tender aspect of my self. This aspect is terrified of feeling confident and attractive! Last time she felt that way, trauma followed. My unconscious was working diligently to keep me from feeling this terror.
By keeping me focused on my weight.
I used to get mad at my unconscious. I believed it was out to get me and punish me. Now I believe that my unconscious mind is busy protecting me! However, if I become willing to feel the off-limit feelings, and to practice self-love in the face of complicated and sometimes dark emotions, it communicates to my unconscious mind that it doesn’t need to work so hard to create distractions.
This all comes from the wonderful teachings of Dr. John Sarno. I am extremely grateful to him. I have had many a physical healing from his work, and I look forward to greater and greater freedom around my own inner self-talk.
One place to start is to make an agreement with your self that you won’t allow the self-hateful inner talk any more. This doesn’t mean to berate yourself when you catch yourself doing it. It means that when you notice the hateful inner chatter, you change the focus.
Look for all the reasons your body is lovable – your favorite things about it, and how well it has served you in your life. Respond to the hateful voice with a barrage of good.
This is the beginning of a new love-filled relationship with your inner body-assesor. And with her on board, better choices can be easier.
Wishing you greater self-love, for all reasons.
What has been your approach to loving your body? Share your comments below!
Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org