When we are born, we are born in our bodies. We have no conception of looking at ourselves from the outside. We simply are. We live in our bodies and are deeply connected to ourselves. It is a natural state for all of us to be in and one that will make us truly happy.
Sadly, at some point in our lives we may lose this connection to our body. We disconnect and are left in parts . This may happen gradually over time or through one distinct moment in your life.
Over time, society conditions us to see ourselves from the outside. At school we are compared to others, this results in the way we think being changed. Instead of our mind being connected to our body in decision making and life, there is a disconnect and we start to see our body and mind as separate, however this may not be conscious. This results in decisions being made by the mind ruling on the body, rather than the both working together.
Or one moment in our life can change the way we think. Rather than it being a gradual process it is immediate. For example I can pin point the exact day I disconnected from my body and why. Looking back on it, it was when I was 14 years old and at school. I was with two other girls and they were comparing the rolls of fat on their stomaches and complaining they were fat. It had never occurred to me before that that we could look at our own bodies and critique them in that way. Up until then I had been happy and oblivious in my own skin. From that day on I remember a shift: I was more self conscious about my appearance and made drastic attempts to lose weight, even though I was perfect. This is so sad that young girls (and boys) are learning to disconnect from their bodies and starting to feel uncomfortable in their own skin. We need to do something about this because it isn’t right for our society to raise children in this way, even if it isn’t intended.
So what does this ‘disconnection’ mean? I have talked about this already but basically we will be unhappy. We will be looking at our bodies from the outside and usually start becoming very critical of them. When we disconnect we look at the negatives and hunt out flaws. Nothing makes us happy. This results in you comparing your body to other people. There is a downward spiral of becoming unhappier the more we compare, and this results in greater disconnection. It is hard to be confident when you are in this state and overall we just won’t feel good.
What is the solution to this then? For me, the biggest thing that has helped me reconnect to my body is yoga.
Yoga is amazing. We move in a safe space and are able to forget about what it looks like from the outside. With practice we learn to tune inwards and listen deeply to what our body wants and needs. In each pose we listen to our body and work out where we can adjust. Our body gives us signals and eventually we start working as a team; together; like we are meant to be. We are brought back to that childlike state of movement coming from within and doing what feels good in your body and not what we should do. The hope is that we can take that off the mat and into our lives. To start to act with that connection and listen to our bodies in all situations of our lives.
Our body knows everything. When making a decision, try listening to your body instead of your head. This may be difficult at first but eventually it will give you a much more accurate answer of what you really need. Unfortunately our thoughts can be influenced by many outside sources, such as adverts, friends or social media. However our bodies will never be influenced. They will give you the real answer and the answer that is most true to you.
I have found other ways helpful to reconnecting to your body. Meditation helps me, as I am able to quieten my thoughts and that allows me to listen more attentively to what my body is saying. Mindful eating is also very helpful, especially around food. Eating slowly and carefully allows your body time to send signals to you about how much more you need, rather than your mind dictating what you eat (which might not be what you really need in order to feel good).
Finally I have found that ‘active self love’- that is, looking in the mirror and seeing my body as ME and acknowledging everything it does- really helps to form that connection. That connection is formed with LOVE. It is a slow process but with patience it does happen over time.
We were never born looking at our bodies and hating how we look. We were never born worrying about our weight or wishing we were another way.
We were born in our bodies and only saw that from the inside, the outside did not matter to us.
So maybe it is time to go back to that connection with our body instead of being in this state of war.
Helpful reading on this:
The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells- teaches self love which will help you transform your life and reform that connection to your inner self.
The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters- to quieten the ‘chimp’ in your mind so you can listen to your body more and live a successful life.
The Alchemist by Panlo Coelho- a reminder to listen to your heart and most of all follow your dreams. (My favourite book of all time!)