I’m writing this having just returned from the cinema where I watched an On Demand film called ‘Embrace’. It’s an amazing documentary that explores the issue of body image for women living in a world obsessed with size and shape. It was wonderful – I encourage you to find a way to get to see it.
The message from the film was clear – our body is not just a vessel to be admired; it is a vehicle (the only one we have) to carry us through life. To do this well, it should be cared for, loved and enjoyed so that the journey is the best one it can be. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
So how come it’s not? How come so many of us struggle with how we look – with our size, our shape, how tall we are, etc. And it’s not just confined to body image. It seems that no matter what we do, we compare with some idealised version of what we ‘should’ be…and come up short.
- If we do yoga, we’re not flexible enough.
- If we run, we’re not fast enough.
- If we bake, the cake’s not fluffy and light enough.
- If we sing, it’s not high enough or clear enough.
- If we dance, it’s not fluid enough.
Enough…. that undefinable magic measure that eludes us.
But of course, it’s not a magic measure. The dictionary meaning of enough (I’m a word geek!) is “as much or as many as required”. Required for what? This is the question that gives us our power back.
So if my answer is that I want to be alive (truly alive) for the next thirty years or so; then my measure of enough is different. If I want to live days filled with consciousness and connection; if I want to see beauty in the world around me; if I want to see clearly that people are amazing; if I want to have deep, meaningful relationships with those around me; if I want to enjoy my own company and thoughts; if this is being truly alive – then enough is something different.
As someone who struggled with eating disorders in my early twenties, I know too well what it’s like to feel dead inside; what it’s like to feel lonely and isolated, cut off from those who care because there was no space left for them in a mind filled with self loathing and hopelessness. And although thankfully, that was almost thirty years ago, I remember the desolation and self judgement well.
What was the secret of my escape? Hope and a decision. And then another and then another. One small decision after another. Teeny tiny steps towards self love and self care. It works – which is why you hear me speak of self care again and again.
The world wants us to compare and come up short – it will be able to sell us something when we do. According to their measure, we will never be enough. Perhaps it’s time we all pushed back a little and came up with our own assessment of what’s enough – for us, right here, right now…so that we can get on with the journey called life, the only one we have.