We look in the mirror. See our body. And we think that is all of who we are. We notice a change in how we look. And we feel bad because we don't like it. This causes us stress and takes us further from feeling at peace and happy. In this article + video episode of the Happiness Forecast, I'm talking about the link between our inner-peace and how we look at our body. Because the state of our body is not who we are.
Watch Episode 009 of the Happiness Forecast below:
(Duration: 6 min 40 sec)
And to get your free PDF with an introspective process to help you deeply experience this message, click the button below:
Let's not use our body to hurt ourselves
As soon as we begin to feel bad about the way we look, we have used our body to hurt ourself. Feeling bad is a way of suffering, a way of hurting. Our thoughts are the predecessors of our feelings. In other words, our thoughts trigger our feelings. So if we can change our thoughts, we can change our feelings and, thus, move deeper on the path of inner-peace.
Let me break down what is actually going on for us. You see, we live in a culture (western culture but also more and more globally), that celebrates youth and young people. (I am not talking here about helping our youth prosper, educate and grow which is vital and important. I am talking about the image only here.) So being young is more valued that growing older. Not only that, growing older is seen as something bad - so much so that there are entire industries that are founded on this idea of anti-aging. As a woman, as soon as I enter the cosmetics isle in any supermarket I am bombarded with signs of "anti-aging" this, "age-defying" that. Cover your grays. Look younger. Etc. Etc.
Earlier this year, I noticed my first gray hairs (at age 36). As you can see in my videos, I have pretty dark hair so gray hairs are very obvious. Relatives have pointed them out to me. And some people have pointed them out and have asked, "what are you going to do about them?" After being tormented by this for a few months, I finally jumped online and began researching organic hair dyes. I found one and went over to Earth Fare (a local organic and whole foods store), to buy my first hair dye (for the purpose of hiding grays). There was such a huge selection of hair color in the black, dark brown color hues that I was completely confused. I couldn't figure out what color my hair most closely matched as they all looked so similar! But I am digressing.
Accepting gray hairs
Well, I finally bought one and tried it. It was great. It was all natural, organic, no animals were hurt in the process and all of that. My gray hairs were no more. I was elated and quite delighted with the results. Not so fast, there! Three days later the color started to fade and soon I was back at square one. I was a bit perplexed at my situation. Was I going to have to dye my hair every three days? Find harder chemicals to do the job? This was enough for me to realize that this is not a path for me. I had to really come to terms with this process now or I would spend countless dollars, countless hours plus stress over my hair all the time. I did not want to live like that.
So I chose to deal with it. And it is not easy, as you can imagine. Whereas gray hair on men is a sign of beauty and wisdom (see George Clooney for example), for women it has become a big no-no in our culture. I can hardly think of role models who are owning their gray hair in popular culture. Popular culture is detrimental to our mental health, at least at times, because it is (intentionally or not) teaching women to hide any and all signs of growing older and of aging. Even in my personal circle of people, I don't know a single woman who shows her gray hair comfortably public! Not a single woman. And I know quite a few people over age 50!
So, naturally, one can feel like a "black" sheep with things like gray hair appearing or wrinkles showing up or other things happening that we are supposed to cover up or hide.
But I don't want to play in this constantly losing battle of covering up what is.
I want to embrace change. Signs of aging are just that - signs. They are not something we should feel ashamed of or feel compelled to hide. Why hide something that is natural? If we look to nature for inspiration, we can see how trees completely let go of their old self in the fall. They are not putting up fake leaves on to their branches in the winter to stand-in for the ones that dropped away during the fall. How absurd that would be!
I am not saying you shouldn't dye your hair. Go ahead; do it consciously and enjoy! But what I am saying is that we can choose to do things out of acceptance not out of resistance. I, on the other hand, was trying to color up the gray hair out of resistance - resisting the signs of growing older.
Older image of you cannot equate the current image of you now
When we cannot deal with the changes with our body, what is actually going on is we have in our mind a previous image (perhaps an old photo of us in our youth) and we compare that to our image in the mirror and see the difference. We have been changing all the time but we only see the stark difference from that youth-photo. We want to stay like that. But we can't. We have to adjust to the changing body and how it looks.
But this new body does have to mean it is less than the one in your youth. Maybe this new-you is even healthier and more radiant than before. Haven't we all seen the images and videos of dynamic people at age 75 or 95? Growing older does not equal to "everything bad".
Sooner or later, if we are fortunate to live that long, we will be all covered in wrinkles! Why not just get out of that mental misery and accept this fact now. Perhaps, we can even come to celebrate growing older, the elderly and elderhood.
Change is here. It is here to stay!
Change is beautiful. It is beautiful because there is beauty in everything. The trees change color in the fall. The leaves fall off. Winter arrives. There's beauty in that. The tree is not any less beautiful in the winter. In fact, it is glorious. Just watch how the icicles wrap themselves around the branches and twigs during a cold cold day. They glimmer and glisten in the morning sun! It is spectacular - a sight to behold.
So, my dear friend, whether you are a man or a woman, bring compassion to your changing body. Notice is as the reality that is now. Do not fight it or want it to be what it used to look like. If you want to make changes for living healthier, by all means go ahead and do it; albeit with love. Do it with love for yourself and your body - this vehicle that helps us live and experience life.
It is a process of accepting and I know for me this process will continue on. But I am so glad to have begun this journey of being at peace with what is and acting from acceptance not resistance.
An introspective exercise for you
An introspective exercise can help us get deeper into understanding and grasping a topic. To help you really embrace your body, I have created a PDF for you called, "Embrace Your Body". It consists of questions that you can ask yourself and navigate through this situation of wanting your body to be something that it is not. Essentially, it helps you to find peace in whatever state your body is in. You can get this for free by clicking the button below. I'll email it to you and you will also be signed up to receive my weekly emails.
So thank you for reading this article and watching this video! :-)
Remember your Happiness Forecast is looking bright and sunny because you are taking positive, conscious actions towards it today!
Please share with me your own journey of embracing your body and any challenges you are facing in changing your thoughts around it.
May you have a calm and peaceful mind!
PS: If you would like to go deeper into creating habits of happiness and immersing yourself in a mindset shift that leads to increased happiness experience, then come check out my online video program, Happiness Gameplan. It is a six week program with videos shot with beautiful waterfall sharing strategies that can help you change how you think and perceive life so it is more joyful and filled with ease in your day-to-day life. I have used these same strategies to help myself create a life of joy and abundance in the last 8 years. Go over here to learn about the details on what you get in the program.
Photo Credit and thanks for the beautiful image used in the banner of this post and thumbnail for the video goes to Teddy Kelley. Thank you for your beautiful creation!
About Sophia Ojha
Hey there! I am so happy you found us or are revisiting us here on the blog.
Welcome! So that's me in the photo and I blog and make videos on the topic of happiness and inner-peace. Click here to learn more about me. Enjoy your stay here at reflectionpond.com!