Hi there Bay here ……………
I’ve just had a totally eureka moment about body image by staring at my local lake! Inspiration comes at the most amazing moments.
My inspiration started when Dawn and I went for a spa day and being there had got me thinking about body image again. Those places really can stir up emotional stuff can’t they! In the past I used to struggle so much in a spa – even just getting changed. I would think everyone was looking at me and judging me. Then on top of all that I’d add my own dollop of bad messages to the pot. Not the relaxing experience I now have.
So how did the spa and the lake get me to my eureka moment……..?
So, I was out near my favourite lake yesterday in my crazy old 1985 camper van called a Bambi and watching the reflections connected me to thinking about body image again. Maybe it was the water connection?
Every time I revisit the subject of body image I find another eureka moment and my own body image shifts for the better. That’s what I love about this course. Even though I am not actively seeking to lose weight any more, my whole approach to life and general love of it has changed through living a much more positive lifestyle.
So body image…….. did you know you form your body image in two ways? First you make a kind of somatic memory of your body. Soma means body in greek so it’s like a body memory or muscle memory. I like to think of it like a cell memory like when they did those crazy tests on water. They spoke nice words to water and when they looked at it under a microscope it formed beautiful patterned structures and when they spoke harshly to water it was more jagged. Now these things may not have reached mainstream science yet, but what has reached mainstream psychology is that our environment does affect the way we feel about ourselves and the way we think about ourselves. So we hold a kind of body image on a feeling level.
We also form a body image through the messages we absorb about ourself. This can come from things people say to us. That can be family, friends, teachers, strangers………anyone. But it can also come from general messages through the media and our environment.
So when we have a negative body image two things are happening. One is how we feel about ourself and one is how we think about ourself. Doesn’t that make sense!
So….back to how the lake helped me find my eureka moment
I parked up Bambi and took Pickle my very fluffy dog on a little walk which meant we went round the lake so we could look back towards to the van. I noticed these amazing reflections in the lake. It was almost as if the whole scene was there in reverse, up side down in the lake. It was SO clear it felt as if it was real.
As I stared at the reflections the water rippled due to a passing duck and they kind of broke up, then the lake would still and the image was clear again.
The image was not the same as the real thing. It lacked something essential that can only be captured from looking at the real trees. But I saw the reflection as just as beautiful in a different way. And I noticed how positive I was about it. I experienced the wonder of seeing that reflection. It wasn’t as clear as the real thing, the colours weren’t the same, it was a bit fuzzy, it came and went.
But did I say “what a horrible image of those trees I see in that lake?
No….not for one moment did I criticise the beauty of the life I saw in front of me.
Then eureka a whole load of ideas just fell into my mind!
I realised the trouble is when we look in a mirror we think we are looking at ourself. But we aren’t. We are looking at a reflection of ourself. And like the lake it lacks an essential quality of what it is to be you. Just like a photo isn’t you. And just as I found beauty in the reflection of the lake so we need to find beauty in our own reflection.
We would not criticise the reflections we see in nature, in fact we would regard them as a wonder. A reflection is as beautiful as you make it.
When you next look in the mirror say something wonderful to your reflection and remember it’s not the real you.