It’s crazy how much weight we give our body image.
The outside of our insides. Our figure. Our soul case.
Think about those last two words: “soul case.”
Often, you’ll hear many philosophers or even religious contemporaries using this same line: “your body is but a vessel…” followed by some rambling on inner beauty, strength or talent, and always ending with advice to seek for your own truth and purpose, leaving outside looks out of this paramount journey.
For me, I’ve always tried to keep spirituality and yoga philosophy separate from my health business. I realize we all have health and fitness goals, and I don’t want to impose my opinions on anyone.
In reality, there is no separating the two.
I believe that my own healing journey was 100% successful because of a proper understanding of life. Everything changes once we know that we’re spiritual in essence—our relationships with others, our relationship with our body, as well as how we treat others and ourselves.
To be short with my own life struggles, I can sum it all up in a few words: a constant state of confusion lead to personal destruction (in the form of an eating disorder).
It happens to many.
People are always asking me if I’ve actually recovered from my eating disorder. I can smell their scepticism, and I can sense their disbelief when I reply with an affirmative “Yes” (word on the street is you never fully recover).
The problem is that people are still stuck on the idea that they are their bodies.
So the phrase, “Yes, I’ve fully recovered and accepted my body,” from a once frightening, calorie-obsessed, gym-junkie, carries doubt, much like the boy who cried wolf.
After a plague of appearance consumption and constant howling at my own physique, who would believe I had ever really accepted myself for the way I looked? I understand the suspicion.
Whether we think positively or negatively about our bodies, however, is but an aside. Our main problem is that we think we are our bodies.
“Body image is your attitude towards your body—how you see yourself, how you think and feel about the way you look and how you think others perceive you. Your body image can be influenced by your own beliefs and attitudes as well as those of society, the media and peer groups.”
How we see ourselves, how we think others perceive us and how we feel about the way we look are influenced by our own beliefs, attitudes, society, media and peer groups. Listen to your mind, listen to your feelings (you know, the feelings that send you on a roller coaster according to hormones, time, place and circumstances), your own ideas, beliefs and speculations, as well as the “trusted,” “harmonious” opinions of society, and that’s how your relationship with your body is fostered.
Sounding like a subjective, superficial recipe for disaster?
Let’s back up a little and dig into the fundamental flaw of this feigning philosophy; this learned doctrine of physical perception.
Are we our bodies? Or are we our minds?
Scenario one: When you glance over a deceased body, is it the body you miss, or the soul that was present within it? Do you cuddle up with the deceased body? Or do you miss and think about the person whom inhabited it?
Scenario two: When you close your eyes and watch your thoughts, ask yourself—who is watching?
We are not our mind, nor our body.
We are the soul that resides within our body.
We are spiritual in essence—so much more than our material body.
How we perceive ourselves and how we think of ourselves is based on our understanding of our identity. If we’re thinking of ourselves as the body; if we’re referring to others as their body– we are falsely misidentifying ourselves and others, thus further enamouring one another in the superficial bodily conception of life.
When we know our spiritual identity, everything changes.
A reawakening of our spirituality begins, and life takes on a whole new meaning.
The concept of “body image” waters down the opportunity we have to truly know why we have a human form, and what our real identity and purpose is.
In a world that idolises matter, with kids being brainwashed by selfies, superstars and social media, let’s unite in bringing awareness about our true, spiritual identity, and stop the lunacy of ‘body image’.
Let’s place more emphasis on the unfortunate, underlying issue: that the majority of the population who are leading the masses don’t know who they really are.
Don’t follow blindly.
We can make a difference in influencing each other by using correct terms and vocabulary that communicate and value each other as unique, spiritual entities.
Don’t be the guy or girl that gets hung up on what kind of vehicle you’re driving.
Body image is superficial. Spiritual vision is crucial.
Author: Samantha Doyle
Apprentice Editor: Alexandra Birrell/Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Author’s Own