in Body

Change The Way You View Your Body

"I wish my [fill in body part] was different"

This statement just might be the most frequently used phrase among women everywhere. I've been saying this type of phrase to myself since I was little. Growing up, I was teased all the time for being overweight. I mean yeah, I was chubby and all, but c'mon...the way I was teased you would have thought I was the world record holder for being the most obese child in the world.  Body shaming usually begins when we are young and it seriously affects our self perception. 

As a grown woman, I STILL have to lovingly re-affirm to myself that I am beautiful just the way I am when I look in the mirror and feel like pinching that 'trouble spot'. My body image journey has been an extremely tough one. It is upsetting how long this issue had (and still has!) a stronghold of my life and how much it continues to affect other women around me. Research studies I've read show that:

  • Body image is one of the top predictors of overall life satisfaction for women
  • Majority of women are dissatisfied with their bodies
  • Technology has affected the body image of girls as young as 8 years old
  • Most teens girls report being unhappy with their bodies

The lack of self-love for our bodies is severely affecting our lives and it is even being 'inherited' by our daughters! We need to take a stand for our generation and the ones to come by learning to truly love and accept ourselves, especially our bodies. From personal experience, I  believe you rarely succeed by treating the symptoms alone [harmful behaviors such as self-injury, binging, purging, excessive calorie restriction, excessive exercise, etc]. You must simultaneously treat the CAUSE...lack of self-love.

So How Can We Love Our Bodies?

Our bodies are so sacred! Us women even have capabilities of forming human life inside our organs! Let's be friends with our bodies, not enemies. I am still figuring this out right along with you, but I have discovered a few ways to change the way you view your body RIGHT NOW:

  • Stop the comparison game - Stay away from the triggers that make you feel insecure or judgmental about your body. I am not saying to avoid beautiful people! Just take measures to avoid the triggers that activate YOUR automatic comparison game. For example, stop following that certain "InstaModel" account that makes you feel more depressed than inspired after scrolling.
  • Replace inner negative talk and judgment with positive talk and affirmations - If you do catch yourself comparing, thinking, or talking about about your body in a hateful or negative way, stop yourself and follow through with a more positive thought or affirmation. For example, you might think to yourself as you watch 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians': "Why can't I be skinny like Kylie? I hate my body, I am so fat!" Catch yourself and say out loud or think, "Well I may not be skinny right now, but I am working on being healthy. Besides, my thick thighs are bomb!" 
  • Respect your body - Be active, eat properly, and get a good amount of sleep each night so you can be stronger and healthier. Try to cut back or refrain from drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Primarily focus on how you FEEL, not how you look.
  • Honor your body - Visit your doctor for those yearly check up's and routine blood tests, use protection if engaging in risky sexual behaviors, REST if your body is asking you to rest, schedule a massage, take a long bubble bath with epsom salts (detoxifying and relaxing!)...be nice and genuinely LOVE your body.
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How To Rise From The Ashes

In order for a Phoenix to rise from the ashes, it must first burn and die.

The same goes for you and I. After a traumatic experience such as being domestically abused, or going through a horrible breakup, the pain is intense. But these feelings of regret, disappointment, anger, loneliness, grief, and sadness are actually calling our attention to peel off a layer of our ego so we can get closer to being our highest and best selves. How do we do that? By feeling, accepting, and ultimately growing.

FEELING

Our society has conditioned us to hide our pain. Conceal, don't feel, don't let them knowww...Disney's Frozen anyone? We attempt to subdue pain with temporary harmful behaviors that create a snowball effect which leads to addictions, disorders, self-injury, and breakdown. Allow yourself to feel the pain. Own it. Be aware of it. Don't rush this stage. Journaling is a very effective tool for releasing emotions and thoughts in a healthy way. Once you actually feel it, you can begin to accept it.

ACCEPTING

This doesn't mean you should turn pain into a little luggage and haul it around. It just means being at peace with the way things are at the present moment. It's being comfortable in the uncomfortable. Easier said than done I know, but mindfulness is the key here. I find that meditation and exercise are great for being in the now while also lifting your mood. Acceptance is the fertile ground upon which understanding is born.

GROWTH

Once you understand the pain, you start to see it with a different set of eyes. It is clear that pain actually taught you a lesson (or lessons) and you realize you will never be the same person again. You are wiser, stronger, full of compassion, forgiveness, and love. You have successfully removed a layer of your ego. That old part of you has died. This new part of you is now a reflection of your higher self...reborn, renewed, and risen from the ashes, just like the Phoenix.

Image result for phoenix

Photo credit: © Chanel Baran via C. Ara Campbell

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Transformation

Truth be told, we can take on a hefty load of other people's crap.

How many times have we said:
"If they cheat on me one more time, I'm done."
"If they hit me one more time, I'm done."
"If they come home late again, I'm done."
"Fill in your own... you get the point."

The next time they do it, we make up another excuse and say the same threat over and over again....UNTIL ONE DAY. Now seemingly that day, you feel as if you've had enough of them and you just cannot take it anymore. You've cracked; when in fact, it has NOTHING to do with them, it's all about YOU!

Real Transformation

Here me out: REAL transformation doesn't happen until you truly decide to get real with yourself. When you are done making excuses. When you are done being hurt & mistreated. When you realize that you must put yourself first, no matter the consequences that lie ahead.

[This can also happen outside of a relationship context, for example, you could be taking drugs or living an unhealthy lifestyle.]

Regardless, transformation initiates when you faintly begin to recognize your worth, your truth, your path. It's not easy. As a matter of fact, it's crazy scary because you start to question your entire existence. Most importantly, it's not an epiphany. It is a journey that takes you in spirals, revisiting the same issues until you ultimately capture what your soul is trying to show you.

You will start to shed habits, beliefs, relationships, careers, friends, and interests that no longer resonate with your truth and who you really are. Your life will slowly re-build itself in the most beautiful, painful, and awe-inspiring of ways. It isn't for the faint of heart, which is why until you are TRULY tired of your own crap, will you embrace the journey of transformation!

Image result for transformation

Photo Credit: Copyright © 2015 BrandStrategy, Inc.

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The Path to Forgiveness

Mindfulness...the path to forgiveness?

Recently I stumbled upon the blog post of a man, Noah Levine, who had a very rough upbringing and made quite a few wrong choices. While in prison, he began to meditate. He's been practicing for over 10 years now. Although his story was inspiring, it wasn't his decade long dedication or his past experiences that moved me- but rather what he learned about forgiveness by meditating.

Forgiveness Is NOT A Magical Prayer Or Mantra

It is not something you say and >poof< you're done, on to the next thing. He said, "The experience of forgiveness is a momentary release. In reality, we don’t and can’t forgive forever, only for that present moment." So in essence, forgiving someone for the moment gives us temporary freedom. But then we remember...that thing....so we start to feel angry, hurt or sad again....anddddd we are right back where we started.

Nothing is permanent in life. Forgiveness, just like love, compassion, patience, and kindness need to be practiced moment to moment. Cue in the magic key, MINDFULNESS. Being mindful of our thoughts and actions help us to make the right decisions in our lives. It helps us to be IN THE MOMENT. Meditation allows us to achieve just that. 

Forgiveness Is A Choice

I don't know about you, but I find it difficult at times to remain present, especially if I am remembering past injustices or how much someone hurt me...but it is at that specific moment mindfulness should be practiced. It is a split second choice to forgive once again instead of perpetuating the hurtful thoughts and feelings. It is the choice to our FREEDOM and INNER PEACE.

This was such a beautiful reminder of our human-ness...thanks Noah! 

If you are interested in reading the full article, click here. 

 

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