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Beauty and the Brain

Lauren Wulz body image Comfort Tags: self esteem Compassion dieting eating disorders healing personal growth weight issues

It shall be done unto us as we believe. Our minds do not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Neither do our hearts. They communicate, you know. So what we believe in our hearts, we tend to believe in our minds and vice versa. I can tell myself over and over again that I am beautiful, but if I do not believe it in my heart, if it is not a deep seeded belief, I am just telling myself a story.

My eldest granddaughter posted on Facebook recently. It hurt my heart to hear that she was being mocked about her weight and yet she was declaring on social media that she felt she was beautiful and that despite the ridicule of this boy, she knew she was curvy and was embracing her body just as it is. I went to graduate school and earned my Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Food Science. My thesis was actually on the eating disorders and weight related concerns of young, school-aged children. Body image is just that. It is an imaginary vision of what we look like and typically a reflection of ourselves as we believe others see us. Rarely have I met a young girl or woman who is happy or satisfied with her body. Even my thinnest friends and I can easily lapse into “fat talk” unless I consciously assert that there is no such “fat talk” allowed in our conversation. It starts out innocently enough, and before you know it, the conversation has fallen deep into the halls of shame and self-deprecation. Ironically, when playing with words, I discovered one of the synonyms for self-deprecation is “hiding your light under a bushel.”

We are not trapped in some gene pool with fat genes that keep us fat. We are not victims of our bodies. Our bodies are our temples. When we nurture our bodies properly, they are in balance. When we over-indulge, they are out of balance. Learning to love ourselves and our bodies is a journey. But we never have to give up the control of nurturing our bodies healthfully. Nor do we need to hide our light under a bushel in guilt or shame.

One of the first Saturday workshops I ever attended at CSL included a white board session by Rev Dr. Petra Weldes. She metaphorically spoke about trees in relationship to how we perceive our own body’s imperfections. I have never forgotten that discussion.

Here is the response I posted to my beautiful granddaughter:

I'm curvy and always will be.  From someone who loves you, just focus on being healthy and fit. That comes in all different shapes. Look at two trees side by side. One may stand tall with branches that arch perfectly and symmetrically. The other tree may grow wider, have limbs expressing themselves in multiple directions, it might even be growing sideways! But would you ever look at that beautiful tree and call it imperfect? We are all uniquely Divine and beautiful just as we are. That is the truth I see for you. A unique and beautiful, blossoming young woman. With a gene pool filled with incredibly beautiful and kind and loving human beings. Each one a unique spirit expressing as an awesome human being!

 

The moral of this story brings me back to a place of gratitude.

Whether we look for the negative or look for the positive, we will surely find it! I may not always like my body. I may not always love my body. But I will always be grateful for my body, for the wondrous ways in which it supports me, and all of life’s precious gifts that my body affords me. I am grateful to have all my limbs, perfectly formed. I am grateful for all of my senses and I am grateful for the time here on earth that I get to live in and enjoy my body. Today I choose to see the positive aspects of my body.

 

 



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