My friend Gia recently lent me a book by Geneen Roth, called Women Food and God. I had heard wonderful things about it but was a bit skeptical since it has the word “God” in the title. It turns out that it’s not preachy or proselytistic in any way. It’s more about how reconnecting with yourself spiritually is the key to accepting ourselves and our bodies and ending the war we’ve waged against ourselves for so long.
This book has really got me thinking. On my run yesterday, I was banging out idea after idea and I could hardly keep them all contained! As soon as I got home, I wrote down a whole bunch of ideas so that I could put it in writing. Here’s is the beginning of my musings having only finished a little more than half of the book:
One of the main things that I’m taking away from Women Food and God is that we aren’t broken. So many of us think that there’s something wrong with us – be it our weight or the life choices we make. We think that there is a “right” way to be and that if we try to mold ourselves into that perfect person who is thin, beautiful, kind, organized, etc., our problems will be solved. The truth that I’m really coming to terms with is that our uniqueness is beautiful and that once we embrace that and stop trying to fix ourselves, we can find happiness.
I may only be 25, but I’ve spent my fair share of time sizing up my body, finding flaws, and making a wish list of things that I would change if I could. I’m so tired of being critical of myself and equating the image I see in the mirror with who I really am. There’s more to me than my body! I am a passionate woman who loves family, friends, music, learning, and taking care of my body. That is who I am.
I absolutely relate to this. Like most women can relate, I often put my own needs below those of everyone else: my students, my husbands, my parents, siblings, friends, and strangers. I’ve often felt like I need to please them and that I will be able to define my self-worth by how others see me. I am a perfectionist in every sense of the word. But perfectionists (I am no exception!) are more concerned with living up to what we perceive to be everyone else’s definition of perfection. I’m starting to realize that if I come to terms with who I am and who I was born to be, I will no longer feel like I’m on a stage being judged all the time. The only right way to be is my own way. We think that when we get “there” (i.e. a certain weight, a job, a husband, a nice house, etc.) we will find happiness, but I’m really starting to see that we need to find happiness before we can find any of those things. We’ve had the order flipped all along!
I’m learning what it means to be kind to myself and I’m trying to practice it every day. I’ve come a long way since the self-loathing talk I used to subject myself to. I feel confident that I have an idea of where I want to be in terms of how I see myself and I know that if I keep at it, I will get there.