This article is a continuation from Hey Beautiful - Part 1
Learning to eat right was only the tip of the iceberg. Society has conditioned us to count calories and obsess over macro and micronutrients, or look for easy ways to “hack” our bodies, but what we so often overlook is that eating is only the beginning of our journey to realising our true beauty.
Six years later, thinking I had healed from anorexia, I found myself only to have tipped into another eating disorder. What really shook me and woke me up? It was simply the culmination of my mindfulness practice, which in its many beautiful manifestations, entails observation of your thoughts without judgement, and constant self-talk.
1. Forgive yourself and set your past free.
When I opened up to therapy - and I was a disbeliever at the very outset, only to finally open up after several sessions in - I cried. I heaved and sobbed, I cried for the neglected inner child who sought so hard to be loved and understood. I cried for that inner child who needed to be given a hug by me, me, no one but me. I remember that session so well, when my hypnotherapist Kate told me: “Give her a hug, and tell her you love her.”
2. It is okay to make mistakes.
We are so afraid to make a wrong turn in life, or even a small admission to ignorance about a certain skill set at work or school. When we openly admit to our own imperfections, we are inadvertently letting go of so much fear that it will then open up a whole new world of opportunities for you. Trust me, it will.
How many of us truly breathe? When we take a deep inhale that goes deep into the pit of our stomach and distend the belly, that is when you know you are breathing right. When in moments of doubt and distress, I always find it so helpful to take slow deep breaths as it really centres your mind and bring your thoughts together.
4. Gratitude journal.
You might have heard of mindfulness and gratitude from so many successful people, such as Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins, who in fact champions “gratitude walks”, during which you count your blessings, no matter how small and seemingly redundant (they are not!). Daily practice of this really has helped me to appreciate the here and now, and the most remarkable thing to happen, is how positive I feel every day, even in tough situations. I would find myself taking in a deep breath and gazing up at the skyline, so thankful for being simply, so alive. And when we learn to be grateful for all our bodily functions - how our bodies wake up full of life every morning, how our feet take us from one point to the next, how our appetite dictate what we eat and when we eat, we can truly learn to listen to our body and become intuitively strong.
5. Compassion - for you, and the rest of the world.
We always meet naysayers, no matter if you are doing good for the world. What can make us stand strong is a sense of conviction that you can cultivate from meditation, during which you can observe your thoughts without judgement. In effect you are practising to view everything impartially - you find yourself seeing situations with compassion, so even when you are confronted by negative energy (think angry, disgruntled people) you are able to empathise with them and say, okay, they are probably going through a rough time. What they say to me has nothing to do with myself as a whole. Remember that you are what you think you are, not someone else's caricature.
When we understand and accept that everything is constant, and remain grateful for life, we begin to re calibrate the brain and raise our vibration, so even when hardship occurs, we have the mental strength to ward off the negative energy. I personally have and continue to learn and grow through this amazing practice.
By accepting that the body is ever changing, your brain clicks - it is remarkable when you truly accept the present self, for you will finally live in the present, be present, instead of letting your obsessive mindset go on and on about your next meal prep, next gym session, next meetup and what to do with food served at that birthday party that you have to go.
Society may have a distorted picture of perfection and beauty, and we can all lament that fact endlessly, but if we can find equanimity and approval within, we no longer are affected by extraneous circumstances. We know we are beautiful, unconditionally beautiful. Let's rise together to that vibration level. Let's reach out and lift each other up.