The other day, my daughter and I were driving towards her place and talking about the presence of others. I said something about having met someone recently and commented about her physique while describing her energy presence.
My girl was immediately put off by my comment.
Given that my comment regarding energy was referenced via the presence of this particular woman in question as “lumpy”, much like her body. She was beautiful; pretty eyes, pure skin and shiny hair, but her energy field was muddled.
The thing is, I referred to her physique to make my point. I was no different than the referenced article implies.
My daughter, who struggles with a number of endocrine issues that make her body heavy was put off by my reference to the woman’s body in my effort to relate about energy. She pointed out something that made me really look at my own unconscious methods of going about describing things… in this case relating energy to the shape of a woman.
Here I am, this self prescribed “champion” of others, especially women and I’m running around with unexamined beliefs about body image, weight and obesity!
Pretty interesting, and for me quite humbling.
Women in their 20’s and 30’s are especially prone to being focused on their own looks and the looks of the women they are in relation to (or those they encounter by simply walking in a cityscape). Ever found yourself sizing other people up based on their looks? In all honesty, I have.
How does one investigate their beliefs and transform them from limiting to expansive? First there must be an honest appraisal of your own thoughts about a subject. Then you have to run that idea through some logic. What do you know about whatever the subject matter is? Is it true?
Inquiry into your thoughts is crucial if you want to shift them. In the realm of someone’s body, what do you know about them? Does their body indicate who they really are, or something other than that? Generally, there are those who have extra weight on their body due to a myriad of reasons, few of them being that they are lazy, ignorant or gluttonous. In fact, many people who struggle with weight are so put upon by society and so discriminated against that they are vigilant and determined.
It seems that once we start inquiring, things show up in our life to keep us going towards growth. As an example, the other day my partner and I were walking away from a surf contest when a woman stopped us both and said, “Kyle, remember me?! It’s Lee, the one with all the boys!” I didn’t recognize her at all and had no recollection of knowing her, until I looked into her eyes.
Lee had shed 175 pounds!!! She was less than half the person I’d known for years when our children were playing soccer together. She was a single woman who had taken in a number of “at risk” boys, one of whom was my youngest son’s best friend for a few years.
At the time, even with her very large physique, my impression of her was of wonder. She was a kind, thoughtful and generous woman who had a heart of gold. Her body wasn’t part of my conscious awareness of her, it was her heart that was prominent. We had the same number of children, but her’s were all difficult and unruly… struggling with various emotional difficulties due to their challenging lives. But, she loved them all like I loved mine. She championed them and other children tirelessly. She and I would sit together and talk of our respective troubles raising a lot of kids and I don’t recall feeling judgment about her body shape, which was three times mine.
Yet, when I met her again after 10 years I was stunned. First due to not recognizing her because she had shrunk so much. Then because I realized that my association with her being was centered around her body to some degree given that I didn’t recognize her in her new shape and size.
When I asked her what she’d done to transform so much, she shared that she went through, what seemed like, some pretty painful surgeries that produced the weight loss. All this was communicated without the slightest hint of self pity, negativity or embarrassment. We walked away from her, speechless. Especially myself, as I had been thinking a lot about my beliefs regarding obesity since my dialog with my daughter, several nights before.
Just yesterday, I was dead lifting 162 pounds over 30 times (during a workout). My back is REALLY sore today and as I’m writing this I can’t help thinking that Lee carried around that amount of extra weight, plus 13 more pounds – ALL THE TIME!!! Who am I to believe that someone like that is lazy or weak?
But, I have to admit, I must have. If I didn’t, why would I associate someone’s apparent negative energy with her physique?
Where I stand now is freer. I was already aware that my beautiful daughter is struggling with her weight through no fault of her own, but I obviously possessed some strong unexamined beliefs about body image. Me, the woman who professes to be so understanding.
Now I can see that I’m moving closer to acceptance of all people for who they are, not what they look like.
Maybe this awareness will help me when I’m driving!
Humbled and happy,