We now know happiness is the precursor to success and not the other way around. We’ve all said, “I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank).” However, happiness isn’t a destination. It is a moment-to-moment decision that directly controls the moment-to-moment choices you make.
If we accept the above premise for truth, then why would we believe that we should only love our bodies when they look, feel, or perform a certain way?
During my last session with Baron, I was attempting to lead and every time I took my initial stance to send Baron out to begin our dance, Baron would either stay where he was or come in to nuzzle me.
Gary, my Equine Therapist, watched this struggle for a bit and then intervened when it was obvious I wasn’t going to get there on my own. He asked me, “Lauren, how do you feel about your body?”
This seemingly random question confused me. I was covered head to toe in riding apparel, and my body image issues was the furthest thing from my mind.
I asked him, “What do you mean?”
“What do you think about or feel when you look at your body in the mirror?” he asked.
“Ahhh, body image issues. Got it.” Slightly beginning to blush I began with my most feminist-correct answer, “I’m a big proponent to having a healthy body image. I know that you need to love your body, but between you, me and the horse, I don’t really look at my body anymore.”
“Why not?” Barry asked.
“When I look at my body in the mirror I catch myself starting to focus on my flaws, so avoidance seems to be better,” I confessed.
He paused in consideration and proceeded, “Horses communicate through body language more than anything else. There is a disconnect with you and your body, therefore you are sending mixed signals to Baron.” He continues, “How you feel about your body directly effects how you communicate with others. You are asking Baron to leave your space and begin the dance, but your body is giving off uncertainty with your posture and energy. Horses need a clear direction. There can be no gray area with them.”
Dang horse sees right through me. I can talk about loving your body, accepting yourself as you are, and nurturing it to achieve your goals until I am blue in the face. Then Baron comes along and calls Bullshit on me.
He was right though, you can try to fake self-esteem or confidence, but your body language will always end up giving you away. By dodging the mirror or even focusing on my flaws instead of the things I liked about my appearance, my posture has slouched and my movements are hesitant.
With this is mind, I pulled my shoulder’s back, looked in the direction I wanted Baron to go, and made sure my energy reeked of assertiveness. These simple tweaks completely changed the way Baron was responding to me. Respect was gained, clarity was given, and the dance began.
I went home that night and forced myself to look at my body in the mirror, from all sides and all angles. Even though there were aspects that I didn’t like, I realized the only way to change the reflection was to change my thoughts. With that in mind, I decided I was going to love my body right where it is at. No longer avoiding, but embracing the reflection.
From this new choice new thought patterns emerged. Instead of thinking, “I need to work out, and kill myself in the gym to get the body I want.” It changed to, “I want to work out and lead a healthier, active lifestyle as an act of love for the body appointed with taking care of me.”
By loving your body as a precursor to achieving the body you want, it is nearly guaranteed to get you to your goals faster than if you hate or shame your body to success.
Since I braved the mirror about a month ago, my body is responding to the attention. I am not to my health goals YET, but I love my body as is. Most importantly, I am enjoying the journey.
“Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.”
― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass