I’m on a quest to feel good — mind, body, and soul. Like…really good. Not the superficial good of guilty pleasures (although I’m all for guilty pleasures — except I don’t want them to be “guilty” just “pleasure”). Not the “good” of self-righteousness (ugh, gross).
Good as in not noticing every ache or pain. Not wondering if that moment of anxiety was “normal” anxiousness or my brain hiccuping. And not wondering what I’m on this planet for.
That kind of good.
Through some effort on my part and a bit of luck (because there’s a bit of luck in everything), I’m making good progress.
My mind is (mostly) stable, and when my mental health goes wonky, I can usually understand why and breathe through it. Panicking at “what it all means” is now rare. It doesn’t mean anything other than my brain seems to be misfiring a bit. Or that one thing triggered another thing. Either way, breathing, resting, and recognizing what’s going on helps.
My soul has never been better. I’m one of those fortunate people to love deeply and receive deep love in return. I know nothing lasts forever, and anything can happen (good or bad) so I hope for the best, plan for the worst, and put one foot in front of the other. I also try to find small moments of happiness in even the darkest days. Not an easy thing, but always worth the effort.
My body…well, I’m a work in progress.
I saw this on Instagram — re-shared by Elle Chase — and it spoke to me.
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THIS!!!!!!! #repost @bodyimage_therapist ・・・ Whilst there’s nothing wrong with body love, body neutrality can be a more realistic concept to hold the complexity of experiences in your body. Body love (or body positivity as some call it), can conjure up black and white ideas that you’ll ‘always’ feel good in your body, love the way it looks and be in the mood to celebrate your appearance all the time. Not experiencing these things all the time doesnt mean you’ve still got work to do – nope! Just like goals around happiness 100% of the time, our experiences in our bodies are varied, layered, paradoxical, multicoloured – trying to hold a single view or feeling about your body is an exhausting job and a bit of a cruel task. . . Body neutrality is a gentle baseline – it’s that place where things are neither terrible or wonderful – your body ‘just is’, and from that baseline a wide variety of experiences which are temporary and moving flow through. Some experiences go above the baseline, some below. Over time, you will develop your own definition of body love. Some who sit in that deeper definition typically see body love as deep respect, appreciation and unconditional acceptance of the existence of their body and who they are inside – even when experiences are hard. It’s unconditional and not dependant on ‘loving, liking feelings’, it’s a fierce position of being on your own side even in a storm, not abandoning your existence when it gets hard. . . #bodyimage #dietculture #therapy #healthateverysize #bodypositivity #bodylove #bodyneutrality #compassion
And, weirdly enough, I experience body neutrality from time to time. It’s definitely an improvement over most of my life when I hated the sight of every part of my body. Sometimes I genuinely don’t think about my body at all. Not to love it or hate it. It simply is. I like that…that it doesn’t have to be an issue for me. That what my body looks like or feels like isn’t consuming my thoughts.
Until, of course, it does.
But these days it’s less about what I look like (although yes, there are improvements I’d like to make and yes body negativity still gets me) and more about how I feel. I’ve become more in tune with how my body reacts to certain foods. I know when I’m not getting enough movement in my life (which has been “almost never” for the past six months or so). And those are the things I seek to change and improve.
Which is why I’m giving up ALL sweeteners — artificial and natural, which means my beloved Diet Coke — even though the headache and withdrawal is no fun. (I gave up regular sugar and anything ending in -ose a year or so ago.) It’s also why I’ve embraced the low/zero carb way of eating, because I know how much better I feel when I drastically reduce carbs. And it’s why in the next few weeks or so, John Brownstone and I will likely join a gym together.
It’s temporary pain for (I hope) long term benefits. Or, at the very least, a better relationship with how I treat my body and what I put into it.
Because when my body feels good, my mind and soul follow. Just as, when my mind and soul are at peace, I care very little about what my body looks like.
I don’t share this to proselytize over healthy eating, losing weight, getting fit, blah blah blah. We all have to find the path that works best for us. Or to make it sounds like I’ve got everything figured out and that my life is now perfect. Pfft. I’m still a hot mess…but knowing I’m a hot mess makes all the difference.
No, I write this mostly to remind myself that the stevia-withdrawal headache I currently have serves a greater purpose. That my raw nerves and quick temper are temporary, and that I’ll feel better again soon. And, most importantly, I’m working towards whatever my best self is. I imagine it’ll be a lifelong work in progress. And I’m okay with that, too.