In being told that I am beautiful, my mind immediately begins to revolt. I then beg off the compliment and internally refute it. Recently I was told I was beautiful by a man I consider to be incredibly attractive. Unable to ignore it anymore, I decided it was high time to look more deeply.
In just a few moments, memories began to flood in from my childhood. I’ve listed some things that came up for me and how as a little girl with a concrete mind (black & white) this became body shame for me. Know that I am not blaming anyone for my shame. Shame is blame turned inward, here I’m unlocking the causes.
I hope that by sharing it may help others.
(MR = Message received, the shame I took on as a result of my experiences)
“Don’t be vain”.
MR= it’s a shame to be beautiful and appreciate your own beauty.
Sexual abuse and cover up.
MR = Caregivers were Gods at this stage and for them to violate me there must be something evil and wrong with me. The “cover up” just compounds the shame.
Chastised for shaking my hips.
MR = it’s not safe to move my body in a way that feels good to me.
“I’ll tie your knees together when you start dating.”
MR = I cannot be trusted with my body. oh, and I must be a slut.
“You’re being ugly,” or “Don’t be so ugly,” words to describe misbehavior.
MR = there is something evil and wrong about me and my behaviors make me ugly, it’s not good to be ugly (another compounding). Follow the rules!
“You’re too much. You’re too loud. Don’t say that. Be quiet. Stop doing that. Do this, don’t do that. Don’t be sad/angry/too happy/too excited.”
MR = The seeds of perfectionism. I cannot trust my feelings and emotions. I’m out of control. It’s better to be quiet. It’s better to blend in than to stand out.
In taking a second helping of birthday cake, “you only take one piece, never more.”
MR = I ask for/take too much. (unworthy)
Clean Plate Club: finish your food, other kids are starving
MR = I cannot trust my body’s signals for when I am full, plus it’s wrong to have more than others (unworthy: receiving gifts = another lovely challenge)
“Act like and look like an Angel” Stay clean, don’t climb trees. Sit and look pretty.
MR: don’t play, or have fun. How I appear is more important than how I feel.
Dieting formally at 13.
MR = I’m too fat & must lose weight so others aren’t revolted by me. I need to be fixed. I can’t be trusted to know what my body needs.
Using a multitude of spiritual tools, I am able to see shame from a different perspective. Among the tools are Alchemy, Heart Meditations & Gratitude. It takes consistent application to break through & releasing the lies sets us free to love ourselves more deeply.
May we all be free of the shame that binds us to our pain and suffering.
See Mirror Work for more