Dear SuHaeng Ja,
When I look in the mirror, I don't feel fat. But when I see a photo of myself with friends, I think: "Is that really what I look like?" I do yoga, I walk, I eat healthy (most of the time), so why am I still fat? And how come my view of myself doesn't match up to what I see in photos?
Dear Image Issues,
Thank you for sharing this. You are not alone in having these thoughts and feelings. However, you are the only one who matters when it comes to an opinion about your body. These feelings seem to be triggered when you are comparing yourself to others, as in a photo with friends. Why do you think thoughts about your image change when you add other people to the mix? Is it impossible for you all to have decent bodies? This can be connected to an internal conversation you are having about your body.
In Dahn Yoga, we often use the phrase: "My body is not me but mine." This reflects an important energy principle that your consciousness is not limited by the body. You can find strength and courage you didn't know you had when you allow yourself to transcend what you are capable of. However, this is not an invitation to abandon your body or reject it. On the contrary, if the body belongs to you, you have a relationship with it. That relationship can be harsh and judgemental, it can be neglectful, or it can be compassionate and nurturing.
If you start from a place of love and acceptance, you can make peace with your body. This is the first step to finding peace of mind. It's not easy, but you can practice cultivating love for your body with meditation. Repeat this heart centered affirmation:
I love my body and it is always worthy of love.
What in the world is a SuHaeng Ja?
SuHaeng Ja: soo-hang jah (n.) One who practices SuHaeng
SuHaeng: soo-hang (v.) 1. Performing an action with sincerity and intention to grow.
(n.) 2. Any practice, such as walking, observing, meditating or exercising, done with commitment and consistency.