In an attempt at self-acceptance, a male friend proclaimed, “At least I don’t have varicose veins and cellulite like my sisters!” He wrote this on social media, regarding a picture he took of his legs. The picture was the traditional vacation shot of his legs and feet relaxing somewhere awesome. He was responding to another friend mocking his pedicure (or lack thereof). It was all just joking, meant in good fun.
Immediately my mind flashed to my legs. Thick blue lines decorated my thighs, tracing their way down to my feet. Sometimes they bulged with excitement, which I thoroughly hated. And no matter what I did, the backs of my legs weren’t perfectly smooth like we all see in magazines and pictures. Lumps and bumps of various cheesy shapes ironically adorned my strong, slim thighs. Deep in the pit of my belly, I felt a familiar twisted tangle of emotion and lack of self-adoration. Loathing. A solid and complete rejection of this part of myself.
Well hello there!
I had been working on self-adoration for quite some time now. Every day I had been doing things just for me; whether it’s meditating, exercising, choosing good food, hanging out with friends, or allowing myself to relax. I had been saying affirmations. I’d been journaling. I’d been cultivating an awareness of my self-talk and consciously stopping that inner voice when it turned nasty. So this time, when that voice started barking at me, I listened.
As funny as it sounds, when I noticed this terrible feeling rising up in the pit of my belly, I got really excited! Here was a chance to practice self-adoration even more! Here was this voice telling me that a part of my body needs my love and attention, my acceptance and my approval.
So I started thinking about my legs, and all the things they have done to serve me. They took me through some really fun obstacle course races, 2 marathons, and they survive leg day at the gym every Wednesday. My legs were strong and flexible, reliable and dependable. Whenever I wished to use them, they have never turned me down. They have never said “No, Rebecca…we just don’t feel like it today”. They were always up for whatever I asked of them.
Suddenly, the tangled, hard knot in my belly began to dissolve and was replaced by a flood of love and gratitude that rushed over my entire body. Love! I love my legs! I love my body! I love myself!
In my reverie, I began to think of people I know; my clients. I’m an esthetician and I have the most gorgeous people on the planet coming to see me, and they are sometimes absolutely horrified and disgusted by their own beautiful face. Using their lighted magnifying mirrors, they look for each and every little infraction that goes against this idea they have in their head about what is beautiful. See this line? See this dark spot? See this little bump? “Take it off my face! Can you just take it off???”
How can we get to self-adoration from there? It feels impossible, doesn’t it?
Actually, it’s not. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) talks about behavior techniques and interventions we can do to change our way of thinking, specifically using the Hierarchy of Ideas, or chunking. We can see an idea and chunk up, which means to take a broader, more abstract view, like when we are floating high above it. Or we can take that same idea and chunk down, which would get us into the details, like when we are using a microscope. Depending on which way we go with an idea, we can cultivate our own suffering or our own relief and develop a more profound relationship with self-adoration.
When my clients are looking in their super powerful, lighted magnifying mirror, they are chunking down, or getting into the details, of their face. What feeling does this provide? Is it resourceful? Why do these details matter anyways? Nobody else is looking at your face through a powerful magnification lens. What would happen if instead they were to “chunk up”, to step away from that spot, the line, that bump, and take in the astounding glory of their being? What if they could see themselves as this tiny miracle on this huge planet that circles a glorious sun in an infinite universe? What meaning would that line, spot or bump have?
When I examine my legs very closely and compare them to the models I have been given of what “good” legs are supposed to look like, I get sad. It causes me to suffer. However, the truth is that my legs are MY legs. They don’t look like those legs. They look like my legs. If I chunk up and think of how they serve me and my body as a whole, I get so excited! Grateful! I feel magic flowing through my body, because that is the ultimate truth of my being.
The truth is that it is a freaking miracle that I am here, and that I get to experience this wildly amazing life!
The truth is that there are over 7 billion people on this planet, and who knows how many have come before me, and who knows how many will come after I’m gone, but out of all of those people, there will NEVER be another person exactly like me! My blue veins are mine alone! My cheesy ripples and dimples are my very own, personalized signature! All of these things mark who I am, separating me from everyone else. They make me ME. And I love ME!
How about you? Can you see how all of the little details are uniquely, magically YOURS? They are your own special spice. Our world would not be the same without you. It would be bland. Can you see that we want you, exactly as you are? Can you just love that?
If you’re finding it hard, chunk up, chunk UP! Get out of your details and expand into the ultimate truth. There you will find peace, happiness, and love. Because the truth is, that is all there really is.
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- Pain May Be Inescapable, but Suffering is a Question Mark. - January 23, 2018