a note on self-love

I’ve been thinking a lot about how so many people hate themselves and their bodies. This is a problem prevalent in our world and manifests itself in anxiety and depression.

We see so many people who externally have a great life. They have a roof over their heads, are fed, and well taken care of. They seem to “have it all”.

And yet, they struggle.

Internally, they are constantly in battle with themselves. Worrying about how they look, what to eat and what not to eat, and worrying about how the world perceives them.

I’ve always felt that my purpose in life was to enjoy life. I see no reason not to. All we really know is that we are born and then die. Why make things difficult for ourselves by making ourselves crazy with worries, doubts, fears, etc? Why can’t we just let ourselves ENJOY life.

Earlier this week, I heard that a woman who went to my college tried to commit suicide. I barely know this woman personally, but I always looked up to her as one of the most talented, most artistic, coolest people ever. She was a senior when I was a freshman in college and I idolized her. She was beautiful, the most talented, giving actress and was a BFA in Music Theater which is something I aspired to so greatly back then.

After college, she moved to NYC and occasionally I would stalk her social media pages, being inspired by her artistic soul. She started her own band and I was always thinking, wow, if only I could be that cool. Hearing that she was struggling so much, that she hated being in her own body, made me so sad.

Why do we hate ourselves so much?

Why do we make ourselves prisoners in our own bodies and minds?

We did a shatkriya this week which means a cleansing practice where you make yourself vomit. You drink a bunch of warm, salt water and then throw it all up after. It’s supposed to clean your internal organs.

I have a very weak gag reflex, so as soon as I see people vomiting, I start choking myself. I tried to drink the water but would spit it out every time, just knowing that I was supposed to throw it back up.

Doing this practice brought up a lot of questions for people and we asked our teachers if this was similar to bulimia. Our teacher had never even heard of it, (it doesn’t exist in India!) and I started to think about how bulimia could only exist in a privileged, first world society.

The idea of eating too much food and then throwing it all up is so wasteful and so sad that people feel the need to do it.

My roommate confessed to me that she was dealing with bulimia only a few years ago, which shocked me and didn’t shock me.

It shocked me because in my mind, she has the most beautiful body. She’s greek and her legs are long and skinny, olive skinned, her body is slender and strong. I mean she has the body of a literal greek goddess. Why would she want to do anything to change it? She doesn’t need to change, she’s literally perfect!

But it didn’t shock me, because this is so common in so many women (and honestly men too). It doesn’t matter how “perfect” of a body you have, we can all succumb to this type of self-harming behavior.

Nowadays, it is normal to hate yourself and it is a radical thing to love yourself.

I find that absurd and at the same time have compassion for the struggling people who feel they are not worthy, who never feel “good enough”, who worry too much what other people think of them and who feel the need to control themselves and not give into their pleasures or desires.

I’ve never had a perfect body by any means. I’ve always been “bigger”, overweight, chubby, etc. But, I’ve always felt comfortable in my own skin. I’ve always loved myself. I think I was just blessed to be born with a brain that just doesn’t think that way.

How can you begin to love yourself? I see no reason not to. You are made of stardust, of the sun and the moon and the sky. You are made of earth and of waterfalls and oceans. You are love in its purest form. You are magical. You are love so how can you not love? No matter if you’re tall and skinny, short and fat, or anything in between, you are utterly divine and beautiful.

One practice I like to do is just rub my body and tell different parts of myself “I love you”.

I genuinely think everything about me is beautiful. My troll like feet, the blonde hair growing on my legs, my short, tree stump like legs, my hips, my vagina that is too wide and looks like a pizza, my long torso, soft and sometimes too big, my full breasts that sag and my sister calls “footballs” my tanned arms, my fingers & hands, my soft cheeks, curly hair, green goddess eyes.

i am beautiful because i am divine. i am beautiful because i am love.

This means you are too.

Sometimes I feel this way about myself, and then I see a picture of me and think “wow, I look so fat, wow I look so ugly” and immediately feel the creeping voices of shame and self-doubt.

When this happens, come back to love. Come back to all the amazing things your body can do. Think of all the amazing processes it has in place to keep you healthy and alive!

It is truly a miracle, and it also does not define you. You are not your body. Your body is simply a vessel for you to inhabit during your time here on Earth, so respect it. Take good care of it. Appreciate it.

It would be such a shame to shorten your time here because you hated the costume you were given.

 

 

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