A few weekends ago, while planning for upcoming classes, I stumbled upon the song “Try” by Colbie Calliat. Have I mentioned how much I love Spotify? Well, the love affair continues because without Spotify, I wouldn’t have this song and it’s been on heavy rotation here at home and in my yoga classes ever since because its message is so very strong. So very good (and good for me, especially).
The lines that first caught my attention were “Keep it slim, so they like you. Do you like you?” and then, later and similarly, “Wait a second/Why should you care, what they think of you/When you’re all alone, by yourself, do you like you? Do you like you?”
At the time, I was planning a flow about opening the heart and, essentially, loving yourself. Self-acceptance/self-love/seeing a physical self-worth is a huge part of my yoga practice and my life in general these days. Struggling with body issues and body image has been with me for pretty much my entire adult life and while it will perhaps always be a part of me, I’m working, working, always working, on reframing. I figure, if I can work to see my calendar as full instead of crazy, I can learn to see my body as something other than flawed, too. I haven’t figured out my reframing word yet, but that’s part of the process. Somehow, I think this song is going to be part of my healing.
Here’s the thing. When the lyrics ask that question, “When you’re alone, do you like you?” my answer is yes. Confident, loud, YES. I have a kick-ass and beautiful soul. And while I can logically tell myself that my body is an extension of that awesomeness, it’s still hard for me to see it, especially in pictures. I’ve made strides, at least, in terms of my reflection in the mirror. When I’m strolling down the street (insert Pete the Cat lyrics stuck in your head the rest of the day – you’re welcome), I feel good. I feel strong and fit and like I look good. Same thing, now, when I look in the mirror. I’m learning to focus on the good and eventually see it as all good. But then a picture pops up with a less-than-flattering angle or double chin or flabby arm or whatever and I’m instantly two-feet-tall, thinking, oh.my.gosh.is.that.what.i.look.like?is.that.what.others.see?c.r.a.p.! and so on with the mental spiral. And there you have it – my insecurities and desire for acceptance from others both get me comparing and judging myself and, seriously, what good can come of that? None from what I can see, so the work – the healing – the self-acceptance continues to be part of my life. Part of my process and my practice.
Although the lyrics tell me I don’t have to “try so hard” there is still effort involved here. I do have to keep trying to let go of the desire to look a certain way to others. I can’t control what they think, anyway, so what I think is what counts. I have to keep telling myself, it’s just a picture. It’s just a bad angle. It’s just a whatever. It’s not a true reflection of me, especially if what I feel and see are otherwise. And since what matters on the inside matters most, I know that I need to keep feeding my soul in order to keep my outer shell shining, too. The nice thing is, I have this amazing gig where I get to share my soul and my passion with other people three or four times a week and I get to encourage both them and myself with the mantras and positivity and the radical self-love that accompanies my yoga classes. And it’s not just a load of b.s., either. When you hear me talking in class about being strong or awesome or beautiful or loved or in control or that slowing down is the best thing ever, I mean it. For you and for me. I believe what I tell my students and I believe that I need to hear it as much as I need to say it. So I say it.
And the answer to that question remains: Yes, I do like me. And yes, I do like you. Even though this physical body and I are still trying to strike our balance together, I already know I’m on the right path, following the right steps to eventually find that harmony. This acceptance – this authenticity, is what I seek in my life right now. I believe in the good and I look for people who do the same while also remaining open to showing their real selves and their own ups and downs and those will accept me and mine, too. I also work every day to make sure my kids know it’s OK to be sad and mad – that it is what you do with it that counts – and that’s for the grown ups, too. It’s about knowing when you need to slow down or open up or step back from that which no longer serves you. And if wearing masks or worrying about if others think you look fat in a photo no longer serves you, find a way to take it off or see yourself anew. That’s what I’ll be doing every.damn.day for as long as it takes to just be enough. Thank goodness for the amazing guides and teachers and friends and family I have to walk with me on this journey.
And thank goodness for other seekers out there who acknowledge that we, as women, as moms, as humans, don’t have to try so freaking hard. We are who we are. We are enough. And in case you need a wee bit more convincing, watch the video for “Try” – somehow, it wasn’t until just today that I searched The Great Google to see if there was a video, and wow, is there a video (and wow did it make tears spring into my eyes). It is so powerful for anyone who has ever struggled with body image or societal pressure (or internal pressure) to fit in, be a certain size, or look a particular way. Please, take four minutes and watch it, would you? And, fair warning to those of you who come to practice yoga with me – don’t be surprised if you hear this song again and again and again; its message is worth repeating and believing, so sharing it is what I will continue to do.