Body image & roses
Body image & roses
Body image is a widely used phrase, it is part of our common parlance, but what does it actually mean and more so, how does it impact our lives, how we think, live and treat ourselves?
Simply said, body image is a projected ideal of form, shape, size, proportion we have come to believe a body must conform with to be acceptable, beautiful and/or worthy of being loved and adored. It is a picture or pictures burnt into our mind that we compare everything against. These pictures are something we do not question; they have become part of our makeup and everything that does not compare to these pictures is at fault in some way or another and deserves to be criticised and is in need of change, mostly to the ‘better’.
Now this is something that happens subconsciously all the time – we are constantly measuring ourselves and everybody else against this backdrop of the many pictures we have how we think we need to be, act and look like. This means we are in comparison all the time. Which in turn means we never feel enough and thus never feel ok just the way we are.
How horrible is that? How immensely unsettling and unsatisfying.
No wonder we are constantly striving to better ourselves, in the hope to finally find settlement – to find peace – or very simply put, to finally find true contentment within ourselves and with our body.
True contentment is something I cherish deeply. If I could have one wish in this world it would be that settlement – nothing more nothing less – within myself and with my body. No nagging and incessant thoughts of having to be different, better, more, but simply being ok with who I am in any given moment.
We grow up and learn very early that the way we are is not ok, that there is always something to do and to achieve in order to be accepted. We are constantly on the go, so to speak, as in, constantly accompanied by thoughts that tell us what to do and what not to do, that control our every move. I for one have, almost through my entire life, been busy with how I look, how I need to be. I have been caught up in what to eat, how much to eat, what to wear, what not to wear, what to do, what not to do etc. And there were even times where I would not go somewhere because I didn’t feel adequate in how I felt in my body and how I thought I looked.
Now the sad part about this is not that this happened to me, it is that it happens to so many of us, if not all of us – everybody immersed in their own flavour of insecurities. Everybody having their own set of inadequacy that has us doubt, contract, withdraw, make ourselves hard and tough and so on; basically, anything that does not allow us to feel our own loveliness.
How immensely horrible is that? Not feeling ok with oneself. And that is our normal.
What a horrible normal to be in and live with every day.
And when I look around, my part of the story reveals itself as pretty harmless (no tattoos, no fillers, no micro or extreme surgery) – if there is such a thing – compared to what else is going on in the world, where body image has become so pressing that we actively change parts of our body to fit the picture we think and believe we need to fit.
But without putting any judgement or comparison on what we experience or another, what clearly can be observed is how we have lost our sense of true contentment to such a point that we think change in the outer is our answer to our woes, and we keep following this path to hopefully arrive at the happiness we are so desperately yearning for.
But how can we possibly settle within ourselves, feel content and still with ourselves, when all we do is seek outside and with that keep ourselves mightily busy, constantly on the go of arriving somewhere to then finally settle… but never allowing ourselves to arrive and settle?
This is an oxymoron in itself.
So could it be that simple, that all we need to do is allow ourselves to be? To stop and smell the roses so to speak but not by actively smelling the roses, as in breathing in deliberately and forcefully to smell, but by simply breathing and through the inbreath the fragrance of the roses naturally enters and imbues us with its beauty.
The rose is a powerful symbol, because it does not follow an imaginary picture of what it should be, but it unfolds into the beauty it is from within. All of its beauty and fragrance is already there in the very seed of its making and all that is needed is an unfoldment of this beauty and fragrance into its fullness.
So when it comes to our own beauty, our own quality of flavour/essence, can we drop the many pictures we hold to so tightly in the belief that they give us all our identification and value in the world? Can we allow instead our inner qualities to unfold and have them on open display for all the world to see and take in at their pace and liking without making ourselves smaller or bigger or adjust to the demand from the outer in any way, shape or form?
Beauty does come from within, but it is not there no matter what. It requires a constant nurturing of and caring for oneself. And as our world is so full of demands and expectations it is even more crucial to bring focus to deeply loving and caring for ourselves.
So, instead of putting enormous effort into making ourselves into something – i.e. the many pictures life provides us with that have created the ‘body image’ ideal – why not give ourselves the love and care we all deserve and nurture ourselves deeply, and have our true beauty and quality unfold.