These words sting because they are deeply true.
I don't think there is a person alive who hasn't walked this sentiment. Life is full of battles, but at times we are often our worst enemy. We don't want to give up being right, even to the point it can harm us deeply. We often want to believe that if the truth is brought to the surface, then those whom we feel need to see this awareness will have a moment of acceptance.
Truth be told, we can't make someone have a moment of acceptance. Worse, we lose so much of ourselves, our energy, our peace, and our own lives in the process of trying to do something that is not ours to own.
People have to come to their own awareness at their own time, no matter how long it takes. And the moment you release that energy, your peace will return.
As our fall retreat approaches The Path Towards Liberating Our Bodies I have been thinking more about this question. It is often on my mind being a question we often ignore, pass by, or even refuse to answer. We want what we want at times. We are stubborn. We don't want to pause to listen, for often the answer is just too damn hard to hear. But just for today, I challenge you to ask the question, 'What is your body asking of you?' Then try throughout your day to listen and answer. Even if it is the smallest of steps forward, take it.
See how you feel.
Watch how your body responds.
Consider that your body may just know more than you think you do.
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What does your emotional history say about you?
It takes pause and courage to ask, let alone answer this question. The answer will be different for each one of us.
Emotions are complex.
Every human has their own definition or taught lesson of how they experience emotions. It is easier for some and nearly impossible for others.
The bottom line is learning to pause to question the feelings you are experiencing and identify how they are guiding you on your journey. If they are coming from a past experience, it is a moment to go deeper and find release in the past and allow for new experiences and emotions moving forward.
"When I quieted my core, took the risk to listen to the real wisdom speaking withing my body; I could hear my heart speaking to embrace true ever-present beauty. When I achieved this, I allowed myself to not just feel the love around me but accept it without question. Beauty and love are intertwined."
-Andrea Kanelopoulos, 'Find Your Voice Project: A Journey Towards Healing'
Consider this, how you love yourself is what others are seeing about you; they will love you how they see you loving yourself. And further how you love yourself is how you will take in that love or lack of love thus defining your presence and worth.
This is a powerful thought. It is terrifying to pause and stop to truly reflect on, because we know what is so right about every word. Yet, we still walk through life believing the negativity that surrounds us in the world around our bodies. Often a negativity that doesn’t come from those who know us deeply and truly, rather the outside world and their harsh judgements on what they believe we should look or act like.
Why does no one ever stop to question this way of life?
Think about it. How boring would the world be if we all were the same size, wore the same thing, ate the same food, and did the same work for a living?
What makes the world a beautiful place to live in is the diversity that makes up a mural of flavor and beauty in all that we see and taste!
We need to celebrate who we are at our core, not who someone else is telling us who we should be on the outside!
The most amazing people I know are those who live and breathe this sentiment without any doubt whatsoever. They don’t apologize for who they are or the space they take up in the world. They own it with every bit of confidence and passion that they want to leave in the world.
Do you do that?
Can you allow yourself to do that?
How you love yourself says everything, radical self-love.
Why are we listening to the voices around us who are constantly calling out for change in our bodies, when they are not the ones who live in our bodies?
Personally, whenever an ad falls into my social media feed for weight loss, menopause transitions or agism, I report it as offensive. It is empowering. I am not going to let the platform of social media and its distorted view of the world define who I am or who I am comfortable being in the body that I have at any given moment.
I do not want to hide my age; I want to celebrate that I lived as long as I have and fully in the body given to me. The scars on my body or the clear changes as I get older I choose to own for they tell my story. Aging is a gift.
I challenge you to ask any person who is leaving this world prematurely due to illness if they would trade the lost years for the body that they would end up embracing in the aging process. I don’t think that they would toss out their life, for they know the precious gift it is.
Yes, we can achieve the bodies you see or the constant and incessant nonsense how someone of 60 years looks 40 with endless exercise, food exclusion and deprivation as well as spending hoards of money on aging cosmetics. But is that really living? No. You can’t say it is. I hear then people say, ‘well if that is what makes them happy.’ It is a myth. It is not living fully and accepting life as it is in a beautiful gift; rather it is constantly trying to change one’s body for what they believe or is ingrained through the outside world of what happy looks like.
A diet is a diet and there is no other way to justify it outside of serious medical or health needs. If you are eliminating, excluding, adding, or focused on your intake of anything outside of illness…it is a diet.
Intuitive eating is living.
Intuitive eating is joy.
Intuitive eating embraces the gift of being in our bodies as they are and allowing our bodies to find their peace and balance.
I am not saying that radical self-love comes easy. It is work. I am saying that we are all worthy and deserving of this love and living in the world as it is, not how someone tells us it should look like.
I am coming up on my 20th year of recovery from anorexia and disordered body image and it seems surreal. Has It been without struggle? Of course not! That is life and recovery. My recovery has looked like many things and perfection has never been one of them. I had years of dealing with emotional trials where I saw it challenging indeed, but I have never returned to the body hatred in the extreme that I had lived for 14 years.
Today, I challenge myself daily when negative thoughts and feelings around my body come into play as the aging process has become real and in my forefront. And believe me they are ever present as I age and have less control over the changes. But I am making a conscious decision to not fall prey to the outside world’s opinion. I go within, I use the tools I teach and write about, I ask for help in finding peace and I do everything possible to NOT fall into the old control patterns.
This is my body.
I am grateful to have a body.
How I care for and respect my body has nothing to do with my outward appearance.
My body deserves unconditional respect.
I do not need to love my body every day in order to feel good about myself.
I do need to remember that I am more than my body.
Today, I choose radical self-love.
What does it mean to you to live curiously?
This is an interesting idea that I challenge myself often. When I find myself taking what I may perceive as others' judgments on me personally, I tend to fall down a hole in utter despair and self-loathing, a human response. I know I am not alone in this act. It is easier to believe a stranger's opinion of us when it is negative, for it is harder to embrace that we may be just living in our own greater light and direction.
We find it hard to embrace that anyone would find good in us.
But what if we took others' judgments curiously? Albeit often it is a person who is struggling within when they comment or judge others. It can say more about the other person than it does about is.
How about being curious?
Be true to you before anything else.
I loved this when I first saw the sentiment.
Being silent can be one of the most difficult actions a person can take. Follow up that up with listen and it becomes powerful.
The world is loud and often overbearing on any given day. We filter our own ideas and wants into every single moment.
How often do we pause in silence to actually listen to our inner voice?
How often do we trust before we leap into a journey we think we are supposed to be living?
Consider it today.
Read it as many times as you need to truly hear it deep within.
It is possibly one of the hardest actions for us to do.
It is our right to show up as who we feel we are and all that we deserve with no one else’s opinion of us changing our truth.
It is not always easy to trust ourselves when others may be holding an opinion over us.
When it comes down to the bottom line, we know ourselves better than anyone else. Holding our stories in because of another person's shame is not how we live free.
Honoring the steps we need to walk to heal must be at the heart and core of our journey.
How have you held yourself back from living your truth?
Has this helped or hurt the journey you have been walking?
If there was one way that you could live your life free, what would that look like?
No one has the right to shame you into silence, more pain and away from your story.
Live your truth.
I love this word!
Simple thoughts today. Read this over more than once. Really dive into it and think about how it is speaking to you.
We all walk our own journey, but at times I don't think that we all really embrace what that means.
We walk like robots at times doing all the things that we are supposed to do.
When will you stop to take hold, embrace and remember the journey to change any part of your journey, a conversion, a way of life is in your hands?
Do you want to sit back?
Or do you want to embrace METANOIA?
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Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.