Honest Vulnerability: Men have body image insecurities too!

Yesterday I met two lovely people at a cafe, and we chatted for a while.  I brought up the issue of body image around breathing.  Specifically how I learned to breathe in my chest instead of my tummy because I was self-conscious about feeling like my tummy was expanding.

I ask myself now (after watching Brene Brown’s vid on vulnerability) “What’s underneath this?”

Shit, I don’t know!? Feeling unworthy if I have a tummy?!

It sounds so yuck to write that, like, self-harming, it doesn’t feel good to me. (this is GOOD! Good job Melskis!)

Again: “What’s underneath this?”

If I have a tummy, that means I’m “flawed”, or imperfect.

Two things my rational soul says:

  1. A tummy doesn’t mean I’m flawed.
  2. There is no such thing as perfect.

So:

Fuck the struggle.png

(I’m quoting myself…lookatbitchGO!)

Another tidbit which was great was from this:

Eckharte Tolle gives a good tip about when you can’t shake an unserving thought:  to focus on the present; to bring awareness into your body and shift the focus.  This is huge because we often think we can “just think of something else”.  But #bitchplease does that ever work? And if it does, it’s fleeting because the mind is such a monkey.  It plays games over and over with us.  The soul is in the body, when we shift focus to say, feeling the existence of our hands, without moving them or touching anything, then we are shifting our focus and redirecting into feelings that we often hide from.  I’m learning to do this.

I rode High Park loops this morning:

Screen shot 2017-10-04 at 10.05.48 AM.png

And I often have cases of “the burps” as I learn how to listen to my body and fuel right. Also, I went to bed real early and woke up real early, and pool opens at 7:30AM only, so I rode instead, which is two days in a row–so leggies are tired…so also wanting to focus on going easier and quiet the thoughts of insufficiency in doing this.

So, in avoiding the monkey thoughts about discomfort and “shoulding on myself”, I focused on my hands, feeling their presence, shifting my focus.  You know what? This shit’s pretty magic.  Try it!

And now the bread and butter of the post: this sweet dude’s vulnerability in expressing himself and that men also face body image issues, although the stigma against emotional expression is so suppressing of discussion.  That blows.  Big ups to his bravery!  Check it out:

Namasthe.

I’m allowed to BE (and so are you)

I had an interaction yesterday with my brother that left me feeling sad, hurt, frustrated, and my innate need was to internalize it and restrict and stay SMALL.

Bitch please.

No more.

I am a professional fucked up Human Being.

–and I’m evolving mannnn, I’m sharing my story and I’m healing.  I sat in the pain, I looked at it.  I’m processing it.

Basically, his words left me feeling like I’m such a fuck up, that I’ve ruined his life, and that I should never have been born.  That I don’t deserve to be alive, healthy, thriving.  Innately, it made me crave my escapist self-punitive coping mechanisms; restriction and self-deprecation.  I felt guilty, ashamed. Honestly, whether or not his implications were that, IT IS HOW I FELT, and that is TOTALLY ok!

Instead of doing any of the above self-punishment, I sat, I called my dad and used his loving space as a place to express my feelings. I journalled.  I ATE. I made this video today to process the emotion and share my current insight from the feels.

Here it is:

“Ever feel like an imposition?
I’ve realized I don’t need to validate my needs to feel. I was born dis way, already allowed to BE. No need to justify BEING!”

Namasthe, motherlovers.

On Shame

I’m sitting at a cafe and doing research now.  I have eaten lunch, a good one, and am post-food-babied.  I ate intuitively, and well.  And I have the post-meal itis and “full” feeling.  I’m learning to accept it.  Not to “suck in”.  It’s a natural phenomenon that happens after a meal!  But my subconscious is all “shouldn’t you be ashamed?”

Honestly, I’ve realized that when I feel shame, when I feel like I’ve fucked up, when I feel unsafe (be it physically, emotionally, whatever), when I feel anxious, when I feel like my sense of safety/control are threatened, I self-sabotage by grasping on to whatever form of control I feel that I have, and my default is food.

I’ve been coping by restricting.

Example: family stresses – first thing I do innately is to eat less.  Whoa.  I watched myself do this on my birthday this past Sunday, and I was shocked!  I actually was able to catch myself in the habit, re-assess my perception of the threat and my state of safety, re-ground, and eat.  Eat for me.  I no longer am going the be the brunt of my own self-punishment when fear hits.  I am learning to cope better.  Better yet – I’m learning to not interpret such outside things as stressful/threats!  (this is taking practice, and it takes me widening my window of stress-tolerance.)

***(I keep opening this to edit as new insight comes)***

I’ve realized that my tendency to eat less is also when I’m doing things like working at a job where I feel like I can’t fully relax or be myself – I would tend to pack things like big salads with bulk and little nutrition (using unflavoured protein powder to sustain me)…woah.

shit…this self-help work is SUCHWORK #TheWork (nahmean)

shame

I’ve done some research on shame.

Brene Brown’s TedTalk on it is awesome.

I’ve been listening to Sounds True Self-Acceptance Summit videos.  Today I listened to the one on Shame, and some key take-away points hit me:

  • Eating Disorder sufferers tend to be shy and timid, brought up in families that are strict and streamlined.
  • ED sufferers tend to self-harm and internalize the emotion of shame when they are scolded, especially relating to the shy timid nature
  • feeling like there’s no safe space to experience and to feel
  • Shame is actually felt in the body in form of a somatic response where the sympathetic nervous system engages and you go into a form of stress response
  • Shame has a tendency to initiate a reaction in the body to hide-away and escape
  • punishment for actions, repercussions
  • Shame tends to cause a “freezing” or a stagnant state of paralysis
  • covert and overt shamers (ones who voice their feelings of shame, and others who express it via other emotions)
  • Those are a few.

“Discourse”:

I feel shame often.

“Too much salt?”

“Too much speaking with ‘I’?”

“Too long to eat?”

“Too long in the bathroom?”

“Not pretty enough?  Skin picking too much?”

“Not enough time in the sun to combat the skin picking?”

“Not working hard enough?”

All these thoughts are pretty automatic in regards to negative appraisal with my self-talk.  I’m really learning to observe the rubbish, and to let it go.  To accept it, and choose to believe otherwise.  It’s a weird feeling, like looking down at my thoughts from an above vantage point, and saying, “That’s not me.  I choose to believe differently.”

When I was in India learning yoga, I remember a teacher expressing it as if you were called by a wrong name, and you had the interpretation of utter non-reactive expression that “that’s not my name.”

No judgement, no reaction, no ego.  Simply the “hey man, not my name.” kind of talk.

This was cool.  I’m using that same tone, after first using the mean automatic tone…but in retrospect I’m catching myself, and reframing the way I would prefer to self-talk.  That’s cool.

Anyone experience shame this way?
Sharing is caring (:

Resources:

https://www.centerforhealingshame.com/self-help/