Episode 071 - Decode your attitude to the skin you’re in
Welcome to episode 071 of the podcast! It’s great to see you.
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Links from the episode:
Next episode: What do you do when you feel terrible?
Transcript of episode
Hello! I’m your host, Lorraine Stone, and on today’s episode I’m sharing how to decode your attitude to the skin you’re in.
First, I’ll apologise in advance because at the time of recording there appears to be quite a lot of fledgings in the eaves making a heck of a lot of noise, so if that gets picked up, I’m really sorry. Thank you for listening through it.
Ok, so I am all for body confidence. I think a huge part of the healing process is to love and appreciate the body you’re in now, for more on this please take a listen to episode 65 on you can’t hate yourself to healthy, I’ll link it in the shownotes.
Before I got sick and the belly tumours started to grow, I was slim, even though at the time I didn’t think that. Thanks to things that had happened in my past I worked very hard to ensure that I wouldn’t be seen in a bid to keep me safe. You can hear more about this on episode 64, again linked in the show notes.
Then when I started to gain weight because of my health, I noticed how I started to become even more invisible. Now I’m post-op and one and a half stone lighter, I’m starting to become visible again. Men are looking at me in the street. Many men who work in and around the building I work in, are now noticing me when they didn’t before when I walked past them. I didn’t like it before because I didn’t feel safe, now I don’t like it because it points out the shallowness of them.
But there’s all sorts of aspects about it. Hopefully I’ll be able to clear some of them up for you today.
The body positivity movement is advocating against the societal-determined ideal body type. It advocates for acceptance and respect regardless of how you look. It’s not as new as you might think. Back in the 1960’s the fat-acceptance movement began, and has, thank goodness, developed over the years from being we should accept larger white women, to now, with social media beginning to give voice to the previously excluded bodies of Black and minority ethnicities.
However, this should not be confused with a positive body image, as this is our own thoughts and feelings, a psychological construct you determine for yourself about yourself and the acceptance, appreciation and respect for your body.
Body functionality is a great place to start with positive body image. For a long time I didn’t like how my legs looked, still don’t some days, I also didn’t like how they would spasm and be painful thanks to my illness. However, with body functionality it’s about what your body has done for you or allows you to do. I may not have liked how my legs looked, but they completed many running miles for me, even when in spasm and in pain because I knew they’d feel better after. I can drive. I can carry my own shopping. I could pick up my niece when she was little. I can walk my dog. I can get myself out of bed 99% of days. If you view your body as function over form, or what it does over how it looks, you’re more likely to feel grateful for it.
This can lead on to body neutrality, which is a concept around how you’re not going to love all of your body all of the time, which is totally unrealistic. It’s okay to not like your appearance sometimes. We all have an inner critic. That voices that bullies us. When you start to pay closer attention to how the voice talks, or how it sounds, over what it is saying, you can start to identify who that voice is coming from. Mine is my mother. I have taken on many of her stories over the years. Once I realized it’s her voice in there and not mine, it became so much easier to ignore.
It’s okay to find joy in your body. From where I stand there appears to be plenty of women who enjoy dressing up, and are ok with the attention they get from others. As I said earlier, for a long time I had a story that it’s safer for me to be invisible. That story wasn’t good for me. It doesn’t mean that comes from a good place from within them either. Needing external validation over internal validation is definitely something to be looked at. But both come from the same side of the coin. Objectification. The idea that women are for visual pleasure, so much so, that we view ourselves from the observer’s perspective and our value becomes based upon what others think. This leads to feelings of shame, anxiety, and a numbness to bodily needs such as hunger, pain, and tiredness.
Looking back now I can see how numb I was for years after my toxic marriage ended. Hindsight is a wonderful science. Taking that chance on myself all those years ago after diagnosis, to ignore what doctors and others with my illness were saying about what we can and can’t do now, to find my own limits and not be limited by them, was an incredibly huge, powerful, leap of faith. It’s one I keep choosing to make today. If I can choose it, I know you can choose it tooIf you find that you are often repeatedly checking yourself for how clothes fit, how much you weigh, or constantly comparing yourself to others or how you used to be to start to be curious and aware about how you’re evaluating yourself, and most importantly, why? I am losing weight because it affects my health to be bigger and puts too much pressure on my heart and lungs. Being overweight reduces energy, and with ME I don’t have any of that to spare. I have more energy when I’m able to keep myself nutritionally and physically fit. If you’re worried about your weight because you’re not going to be accepted by others, telling you that those people are not worth your time isn’t going to make it better or easier for you. But I would like you to remember that you are more than your body and how you look. If you said to a friend the things you say to yourself, would that friendship last. Would you think less of a friend because she gained some weight? If no, then why do you do the same to yourself?
So, as I say, please start to be curious about how and why.
If you enjoyed this podcast, if something resonated with you, I want you to know we cover this in detail in my SHIFT to Alignment programme. I can teach you the tools that I learned and adapted to get my life back after an abusive marriage and diagnosis of a chronic health condition, but if you’re talking terrible to yourself, you’re not going to succeed. We have to get that language out of the way.
Thanks for listening, and remember – you are worth it, and you get to choose.
Have a lovely day.