More Than My Body
By Rebecca Radcliffe
Each of us has great power to give the gift of support and caring. We need this more than ever today. Each of us makes a difference when we dare to smile at another person, when we greet a stranger with friendliness, when we are kind to someone we don’t know well, when we open a door for someone that can use a hand. And every small gesture we make comes back to fill us up twice over.
At these moments, it does not matter how thin or physically fit we are. It does not matter if we have figured out what we want to do with our lives. It does not matter how much trauma we have been through or how dark our nights can be. Our simple kindness creates a bridge from soul to soul. We notice someone’s need and reach out. Our hearts are touched, and we dare to respond.
Our true selves
Everyday compassion and bravery can bring us up, out, and beyond our own troubles. Struggling with eating issues and body hatred can leave us tired, frustrated, and hopeless. The emptiness inside feels endless. We have spent countless hours eating, calculating calories, exercising, abstaining from food, purging, and yet time still engulfs us. Swallows us. Doesn’t leave us alone. We become our eating disorders, and it seems as if there is nothing left.
Our true selves are still in there. We are more than the size and shape of our bodies. We are more than what we do or don’t put in our mouths. We are the dreams that whisper through our minds unvoiced. We are the strength that keeps us going day after day. We are the hearts and souls that cry inside of us, wanting something better. We are the millions of creative, intelligent cells that yearn for expression. We each have a calling to walk through the world and make a difference.
A higher purpose
When we get stuck in front of our mirrors hating what we see, life stops. We quit growing. We no longer look out on the world and ask, What can I do? We’re stuck because we believe the message that the mirror must look perfect before we count for anything. Since our mirrors are filled with imperfect images, we stay riveted to self-hatred. We don’t know any other way.
But how can we possibly think that the size of our waists, breasts, thighs, arms, bellies, or hips could keep us from offering comfort to someone who is grieving? When planes destroy towers and hurricanes take cities away, it is an invitation for us to send up our prayers for those affected—and be grateful that we were not standing in that path. For some reason, we are still here. So is this life to be lived worrying about pounds, inches, and calories? Is this the true purpose of our lives? Isn’t there something more? No wonder we feel empty. We have turned away from the higher callings of our lives.
Connect with others
To grow beyond an eating disorder that defines, limits, and strangles our lives, we must rise up and get involved in something bigger. In every town, county, and city, there are programs crying for volunteers.
Life is rich with simple treasures that are there for us to grab, take hold of, and ingest into our lives. We are learning, breathing, creative, hungry beings that want to heal and touch other people’s lives. The good feelings we get when we give of ourselves, adventure out into the day, and discover something new can fill us up. Instead of reflecting on our imperfect mirrors, we must look out the window and then walk out the front door into new experiences that make a difference for us and for others.
About the Author
Rebecca Radcliffe (bodypeace.com) is author of Finding Body Peace—A Journey of Self-Acceptance; Enlightened Eating; Dance Naked in Your Living Room; and Hot Flashes, Chocolate Sauce, & Rippled Thighs.
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Fall 2006 Volume 4, Number 4
©2006 Gürze Books