Body image vs Mind image – A glimpse of accepting self

This morning on my way to work, while listening to The Velvet Rage, written by Alan Downs, PhD, I came across the below passage:

The non-acceptance of your body is yet another expression of your internal shame. The apparent motive of body building is to achieve a beautiful physique. However, the underlying motive is to relieve shame. It’s all about making yourself more acceptable and less flawed. In short, less shameful.

This made me ask myself;

Is this only relatable to body image alone?

For years I struggled with body image issues. I can’t deny that I still have some of them echoing in the background. But what seems to be louder these days is mind image issues. The dark dirty secrets I had locked-up and burried so deep in the past, or things I had not disclosed publicly have resurfaced. And I can’t seem to be able to hide them or run away from them anymore.

The stream of thoughts that plays in my head in response to what I receive through the sensory organs or to a past memory, sent through the judgemental aspect of my self, push me into a corner of my own world, where I sometimes feel like a worthless piece of garbage.

On a good day, I remember that neither the thoughts nor the judgements belong “truely” to myself as these are learnt and practiced behaviour. Of course this automatic function is not always of disservice to one’s self. It serves towards navigating society. And acknowledging what service they provide to one’s self and the world around them is an essential component of living. When understood, I’m sure the power of some of the thoughts will lessen.

But, trying to counter argue them and forcing them shut, labelling them good, bad, or ugly, appears to be very similar to going to the gym for the wrong reasons, as Alan Downs try to enlighten us. As in,
Am I trying to be more acceptable and less flawed, or less shameful?

The next time I have thoughts that I am shameful about or proud about, I hope I remember to know from deep within that they are merely just thoughts. And accepting the totality of a given moment involves accepting even one’s mind or mind activity at that moment in time.

– Nimeshe –

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