I’m preparing to go to Cambridge, MA next week to do an intensive health and wellness coaching training. I’ve probably spent 50+ hours studying all the pre-work assignments (which is why I haven’t blogged lately). I just finished the last chapter in my coaching textbook a few minutes ago and I read something that BLEW ME AWAY, something that I knew intuitively but woke me up BIG TIME: “Sadly, a recent study reported that only 11% of women over the age of 50 report satisfaction with their bodies (Runfola et al., 2013), their inner critics depleting their self-esteem every time they look in the mirror.”
That means 89% of women are not satisfied. 89%!!!! 89%!!! My jaw almost dropped to the floor when I read that. I had no idea the numbers would be so drastically imbalanced.
This is heartbreaking, shocking , staggering and wrong in every conceivable way and I’m hear to tell you that this is EXACTLY what I plan to be focusing on with SHINE. If you happen to fall in the 89% category, even if you are under the age of 50, I want you to know that you are part of the reason I am doing this training. You are who I want to work with. You are the reason I went to nursing school at the age of 50, took care of my dying father, worked at the hospital, worked at hospice then decided not to be a nurse in the traditional way. You, my dearest sister, are THE reason, the MAIN reason, I have been led to this coaching training, why I went through all the hard work in my nursing career and why I have landed in this moment. When I read that statistic a few minutes ago, it solidified my purpose with my work and what will be one of the main focuses with SHINE. This is where I am needed the most. You are my people.
It’s especially sad to me because it seems most of us, myself absolutely included, spent our younger years hating our bodies with a passion that kept us prisoners of our minds, kept us miserable and our brains filled with a constant barrage of self-criticism. This has been on my mind lately: those photos of ourselves as teenagers, when we were probably at our lightest weight, had no wrinkles or sunspots on our skin but still, we hated our bodies. Do you have a photo like that?
What happened that we decided that these beautiful bodies we were given were not perfect? Where did we go wrong that we became such critics of these vessels that house our hearts and souls? Why did we become experts at self-loathing? If you felt that way when you were sixteen and still do today, when will you have some peace? When will you be free? Are you exhausted from all these long years of disliking your wonderful, strong, capable body?
As I’ve written about in prior blogs, it took a lot of hard inner work to heal the part of me that hated my body and to grow into the woman I am today who loves herself unconditionally. I have self-love and compassion for myself and I adore and appreciate what I see when I look in the mirror; wrinkles, saggy skin and all.
EVERY SINGLE woman deserves that. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more pressing, more important or more needed in this world than this. This, my dearest darling, is what will help us all. This will create more peace all around you. This will be part of that ripple effect we all know about. This will model, for your fellow women sisters, how to live life. This will teach your daughter how to walk tall in her body and to love and appreciate it with awe and wonderment. This attitude will follow your daughter through her life and she will pass it along to her daughter. Imagine that. What a beautiful legacy to aspire to.
I’m aging. You’re aging. It’s going to happen so you may as well figure out how to accept it. When you make peace with that, you’ll have so much more space in your brain for anything else you want to think about. That will open up a lot of available hard drive space up there. Doesn’t that make you excited?
If loving your body isn’t within your reach today, you can start with very small baby steps. This is how change happens, in ways that work for you, taking whatever time you need.
It might be hard to wake up tomorrow and suddenly expect yourself to be head over heels in love with your body if you’ve spend your whole life thinking of it as your enemy. Maybe you can find one little thing to appreciate, to feel grateful for. Maybe it’s as small as loving the shape of your toes or the way your hair falls on your shoulders. Take your time. You deserve this.
Every movement forward is beautiful. Every act of gratitude toward your wonderful body is a prayer. Find something to love about yourself everyday as you pave this new path. Take it slow. Be gentle and kind. Find patience and compassion. It’s there inside of you.
All this coaching studying has taught me so much and I haven’t even done the training yet!! The most important thing is that now I feel like my purpose has taken hold in a way that I was searching and asking for. Where before I felt hesitant or shy to put myself out there and say what I do and that I charge money for it, now I want to shout if from the roof tops. I want to say “dearest love, I am here to assist you in shining more in your life. I am here to stand with you, to support you as you make the changes you want for yourself so you can live your life more fully.” I am owning that THIS is my life’s purpose and that THIS is who I am, what I do and how I want to serve.
So, I am planning a revolution that is just being born today. I am posting this blog as a little peek into what’s to come. I’m not exactly sure how it will unfold or what it will look like but please stay tuned. I am so deeply excited about what I’m learning and how I’m growing with my own desire to shine more in my life.
I am deeply committed to holding your hand as you find ways to live your life more fully and with more vibrancy and health. We can watch the magnificent unfolding of each other’s greatness as it spreads out into the world. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
You deserve to love the amazing person that you are. Do you know that????
Dedicated to every single person who has any desire, large or small, to find more self-love. You are so deserving of this. I believe in you.