A personal story on the benefits of meditation and how it helped cultivate a path to self-love.
This post started when I was walking to the shops on a Monday this pass summer to buy some groceries for dinner. I looked down and noticed my legs. My initial thought was ‘wow, my legs are super jiggly, I shouldn’t be wearing shorts.’ I immediately felt embarrassment and shame. I wondered if I’d ever have beautiful, more shapely, less jiggly legs? Then I realized something remarkable. This was another opportunity to change the narrative. To help create a different story in my mind about my body.
Quickly, I switched my thinking. It was a simple thought at first. I said to myself, ‘my legs are strong,’ and I repeated it a few times. Then I realized something. In the last few days, I ran 8 km and went to the gym. I squatted, lunged, box jumped, skipped and then some and I did all these movements pain-free, and I feel stronger than a few months ago. Almost instantly, my feelings changed. I felt proud of my legs, and I took a minute to feel how lucky I was to have two healthy and strong legs. Legs that take me all the places I want to go. They’ve never let me down.
One of the benefits of meditation is, it opens the line of communication with yourself.
You can’t fix what you’re not aware of so I worked on figuring out what was going on inside my mind. I wanted to understand what was driving me, my decisions and patterns of thinking. When you set aside time to listen intentionally, something happens. Thoughts slow, and it feels like you can hear them more clearly. I started to feel like I was watching what was going on in my mind instead of being controlled by it. It felt like I had a superpower.
More and more, I surprised myself with the thoughts I was having. Many revolved around my size and how I did or didn’t look. So much of my self-worth was tangled up with my appearance and it was exhausting.
When a wild one showed up; I course corrected.
I started to treat my body like it was a friend I loved. A friend that I wanted to go places with, share experiences with and help support. I meditated daily (still miss a day here and there, but the benefits of meditation are worth it), and that helped me to notice my thought loops and when a wild one showed up; I course corrected. By paying attention to them I was able to notice when they sucked and choose new ones and say them to myself whenever I notice my thoughts heading in a negative direction
The negative thoughts haven’t completely stopped, but the things I feel when they’re on my mind have started to shift. I no longer feel attached to them. It feels more like I’m standing on the outside of my thoughts, watching them float by. And yes, I still feel anxiety, sadness or fear; I’m just able to let them pass through me with less resistance. The feelings no longer control me. I get to respond vs react and with that, I feel calm and able to handle what life throws at me.
More internal peace.
Falling in love with yourself and your body takes conscious work with intention. Especially because our mind has a way of spiralling out of control, and we tend to get stuck in this downward momentum. But, we can spiral upwards too. One good thought can lead to another and we can build on them. We can choose to build on whatever thoughts we want. We can all experience the benefits of meditation.