A Brene Brown quote I absolutely love is "Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change." She talks about speaking our shame and being vulnerable as a way to work through shame, and to that end, I bring you this post about some shame I've been feeling as of late.
Let me cut right to the chase. Upon getting engaged, the following things happened to me:
1. I felt a lot of love in the universe—not only from Brent but from all the people who were so excited to hear and share our news.
2. My Pinterest boards exploded and my productivity elsewhere took a nosedive.
3. I realized that life is not what we expect, but it works out pretty darn well for most of us.
4. I felt a lot of (self-inflicted) pressure to start thinking about how to get myself in tip-top bride shape, aka lose some weight.
Now, for someone who has done a butt-ton of work in honour of accepting and appreciating my body, boo on number 4. But for someone who has decided not to beat herself up for it any more, here’s what I’ve learned about myself from it.
Our stories are powerful. If I am honest with myself, I have spent the majority of my life viewing my body as a problem to be fixed. Whether I felt like it was weight that I needed to lose, or whether I was trying to get over my eating disorder and working on recovery, I’ve dedicated a lot of my time and energy into addressing either my body or my relationship with it—and mostly the former. In all of this, the effort I’ve poured into hating/fixing/accepting/loving my body have been a convenient distraction from stresses of my daily life.
So what’s a girl to do? I’m approaching myself with compassion. The part of me that feels the pressure to lose weight—quick! Before the engagement photos!—doesn’t need to be beat up. Nor do I really need to change a thing about my body. What I need to do, rather, is to focus my energies on things that matter and are within my control: What kind of a fiancé am I being? What kind of a marriage are we building/planning? What kind of a new teacher am I being? Who am I becoming? What matters most to me and deserves my time and energy? How does health and my body fit into this and what feels like it supports my bigger goals? Just taking a second to remember that even though it feels familiar to obsess over my body (or over not obsessing about it, if that makes sense), puts things into perspective. I’ll only have this year of wedding-planning/marriage-embarking/career-starting once—I don’t want it to go by without really making the most of it. And that requires that I take care of myself, find strength and confidence in the way I feel and look, and keep all the different areas of my life in perspective. We are not simply or bodies, but we cannot ignore that taking care of ourselves and feeling good about our bodies is important. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to cook a [healthy] dinner.