I love summer. Summer invites us to show up differently with ourselves and our bodies. It invites adventure, play, and new memories. For me, summer affords a fullness in my life and with those I love.
Summer can also be hard for individuals with eating and body image concerns for obvious reasons: more of ourselves are literally revealed in the summer heat. The insecurity and vulnerability of showing up more revealed can feel like too much for many people. For example, it’s not uncommon for me to see clients show up to sessions in July, wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants. I hold a lot of empathy and compassion for the work that shows up in summertime.
And here is my wish and invitation for individuals struggling with eating and body image concerns this summer: Where possible, show up differently for yourself and your body.
If you know me, you know I can get on a soapbox about how we behaviorally treat our bodies. This is because our actions matter. How you behave in your body reinforces or can change what you believe about your body.
For example, there is nothing inherently wrong with wearing sweatshirts in July except for the discomfort and potential health hazard that entails. And that said, behaviorally, covering our bodies in this way, communicates to our belief systems that our bodies should be hidden and covered. The opposite is also true. If we behave in our bodies as if they are deserving of our love and regard, we will begin to move toward feeling that way about them.
You behave your way into believing differently. You don’t believe your way into behaving differently.
I am not going to minimize that this task can feel incredibly vulnerable and difficult. I am cheering for you and all of us to step into more full embodiment. Because
“Ultimately…body hatred costs us-individually and collectively-the fullness of life. We lose out on the goodness that comes through our body. And if we are our body, we miss out on experiencing our own goodness and the presence and wisdom that comes from deep connection with ourselves. We also lose out on connection with others…There is so much goodness within and between us because of our bodies.”
(Hillary McBride, The wisdom of your body, p. 8).
This is our one life, and in this life, we live within our bodies. Time is too precious and short to hold ourselves back from living fully because of arbitrary, exclusionary rules about whose bodies are valued, and whose are not. All bodies are unconditionally worthy and I hope for all of us to live within them, fully.