I think its pretty safe to say, we all enjoy freedom. We all want to feel free. Feeling imprisoned, trapped, meh, not really our thing.
I know for me, freedom has been a number one value, for many, many years. My top Core Desired Feeling is freedom. It is my favorite feeling, top sensation. Yeah, it’s very important to me.
In fact, for many years of my life, I was so hell-bent on feeling free, that I often mistook the concern, care or requests of others (mainly, the most important relationships in my life) as control, and putting my so-called freedom in jeopardy.
I used to semi-brag “If it even smells like control, I rebel.”
I spent so much time and energy rebelling against imagined control, my own rebellion became a prison.
I’ve been learning some really important things about this freedom I value so much, and how I’ve been fooling myself.
Anything that limits your capacity to experience joy, to give and receive love, is a prison.
Often, that prison is you.
And if you are in prison, you are not free.
Through lots of therapy, inner work and growth, I am much less of a ‘rebel’ (no longer acting out in dangerous, destructive or hurtful ways, in order to maintain my ‘freedom’.)
Yet, this year being the Year of Big Reveals for me… I realized, I still wasn’t free.
For there was a war waging inside of me. There was a painful battle I was fighting that I very rarely talked about, and its kept me imprisoned most of my entire life.
I was at war with my body.
This war manifested itself in many ways– the way I talked to myself…
The way I weighed myself daily, allowing the number on the scale to determine what kind of day I would have or if I would be in the mood to reward myself or abuse myself…
The way I turned to substances to feel better about myself, to feel confident and self-assured, faux freedom…
The way I constantly tried to monitor and control what I ate, in order to lose this extra weight, this extra part of me that I was so, so deeply loathsome of.
Even though I was in the business of helping women love themselves and their bodies, that luxury was not for me. That freedom was for others. I didn’t deserve that kind of freedom.
Here I was, Miss International Spokeswoman for Freedom, but I was not really free.
And the same is very likely true for you. Are you free, truly free?
Or are you in prison?
What I’m about to say might seem harsh, but I say it out of love, and first-hand experience.
If you are weighing yourself daily, you are not truly free.
If you are depriving or restricting yourself of entire food groups in effort to lose or control weight, you are not truly free.
If you are obsessively thinking about your body, your weight, your appearance, you are not truly free.
If you are withholding love from yourself until you reach that “ideal” weight, size or look, you are not free.
If you are counting calories, fat grams, tracking every calorie you burn or ingest, this, my beloved friend, is. Not. Freedom.
This is war.
You are at war with your body.
Your body wants peace. Your body wants to be loved. Your body wants you to know how much it loves you, how hard it works for you, how deeply it needs you to end the war.
Until you end the war with your body, you are not really free.
Until I ended the war, I was not free.
Truth is, I have to end it again and again, sometimes even on a moment by moment basis. Body-loathing was so habitual, it has become more natural than body-loving. But I am on a path of freedom now. And I am willing to fight for it.
I did something really bold a couple months ago. I put the scale in the garage. I stopped weighing daily. Instead, I weigh on Monday mornings. The feeling of freedom from the tyranny of the scale has been exhilarating. But, here’s what happened last week.
Last week, I went to the gym three times. I did yoga at home. I took a couple walks. I was so proud. If you know me, this is a really big deal. I was feeling so good about myself. My body and I were crushing on each other. My confidence level was higher.
I was doing these things, taking great care of my body, for the first time, from a place of loving kindness. My body and I, buddies, lovers… it felt amazing.
Then this Monday, I got on the scale and the number was slightly higher than it was last Monday. And my mood plummeted. My great feelings about myself and my body evaporated, instantly.
I was disgusted.
There I was again, back in that cycle. Whether I am weighing daily or weekly, if I allow that number to determine my mood, my worth, my feelings about my body, I am not free.
So I went to work… I reminded myself of all the wonderful things I had done for my body the previous week.
I reminded myself of the new way I talk to myself, kindly, respectfully. I reminded myself of my new desire, real freedom. True freedom.
I reminded myself that bashing myself over the number on that blasted scale is not freedom, and I returned to love.
I reconsidered my weekly weigh-in, and began a new conversation about where I go from here. I want to feel good. I want to feel free.
So, what I am learning here: this freedom that I love so much is something I will sometimes need to fight for.
I will need to return to it, perhaps again and again, for the rest of my life. Or perhaps someday it will just be my state of being.
Either way, I’m in.
The same goes for you.
Unless you end the war with your body, you will never be free.
The freedom we long for is on the other side of body-loathing. And so is the power. Real power. True power. But I’ll save that for another blog.
Let’s fight for our freedom by deciding “no more body-loathing”, and ending the war, even if we have to do it again and again and again.