Affirmation: My body is the physical home of my spirit. I treat it with love and respect.

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Does it feel easy and natural to say those words of affirmation to your Self? Those words don't come easy for me, but it gets easier day by day. There are days when it feels delusional to say those words out loud to myself, but really it is the discomfort of it all which is the delusion.  It is our birth rite to be at peace on this planet while our soul/spirit resides in the body that we have. Saying an affirmation to ourselves is an example of how we an use loving language towards ourselves to turn down the noise of ancient conditioning which sees us throw anything from mild annoyance to hate upon our bodies.

When speaking to ourselves and with people, let's be mindful of the words we choose while talking about our bodies. The words that sometimes fall unconsciously out of our mouths, create the experience we live in. Choosing more compassionate language when we speak about our bodies will not automatically stop the thoughts we have about our bodies, but it will weaken the deafening dis empowering dialogue which can rattle round our brains about our worth and right to occupy the planet, based on our perception of our bodies.

I have had a tempestuous relationship with my body since I was about four. This relationship has consisted mainly of me trying to mould it, control it, shrink it, starve it, push it, damage it, scar it, abuse it and speak very unkindly of it. Generally I saw it as a burden to me because I was sure that most of my anguish in life would be solved if I was thinner, taller and prettier. Such is the life of a person who at age twenty seven was finally diagnosed with Body Dismorphia. This diagnosis was the first step towards real health and well being for me and I made the choice to choose life over fear and anorexia. Some days this choice comes easier than others, and it really is a daily choice inside my spiritual practice.

I am a self-harmer in recovery. A vital aspect of maintaining my recovery is building a respectful and at best, compassionate partnership with my body.  Around eight yeas ago I sat on a cushion to meditate for two very long minutes. Meditating annoyed the hell out of me because my thoughts were so loud, so persistent and just so similar and endless. This is the very nature of thoughts incidentally, fucking endless. However, after a  short time of trying to maintain my practice I had a fleeting insight that perhaps the thoughts whizzing around my brain, and the way I talked to myself about my body, could be making my relationship with my body even worse.  It has taken me years to discover first hand that the thoughts and words we speak are key in the recovery from body dismorphia, shame, self harm, anorexia and addiction.

A spiritual practice is one which shines light on to our dark, bringing it to the fore to be examined and re set. Our dark relationship with our body is our lead for alchemy. Four years on I am experiencing for myself the wisdom of alchemy as explained to me by by meditation teacher.

Please be compassionate with yourself while you develop your new habit of speaking kindly about your body. It takes time to gently burn up all of that misplaced body image conditioning. You might start by not brushing off the compliment that your friend gives you today, or choose something kinder than skipping dinner tonight.

That photo is me by the way, performing burlesque. That is what recovery looks like.


Sarah Elizabeth Wheeler

Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master/Teacher and Burlesque Artist, You're Enough Yoga, Reiki Renge, Venus Gallactica Burlesque

Hi, I'm Sarah. I am one of the Psychologies Magazine Ambassadors and my life is about enabling people to discover that they are enough. I am a Hatha Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master/Teacher, Blog Writer and Burlesque Performer. I consider myself an Artist. I am based in Hove, East Sussex where I founded the brand You're Enough Yoga. I can also be spotted around about Brighton as my Burlesque alter ego Venus Gallactica! We all have the potential to alchemise our past into healing and power. I look forward to our journey together as we step into light.