Hint: It's something kids excel at.
“There are three billion women who don’t look like super models and only eight who do,” reads an advertisement for The Body Shop. This quote was mentioned in a book by Geneen Roth titled When You Eat in Front of the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair. It's a funny book about a serious topic — how we translate our body image into completely inappropriate behaviors like binging and purging, constant dieting, obsession with food and a constant discontent about how we look. This is especially common when we're going through a divorce.
During a divorce, especially a midlife divorce, the normal reaction is to feel “not enough.”
During the early stages of my own divorce journey, I felt like I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, sexy enough or spiritual enough. I suddenly felt fat and ugly and dumb. (In reality, I am not fat. I am within all of the tables of acceptable weight. I'm a normal middle-aged woman!)
In her book, Roth talks about the “e” word (exercise). She first decided that she would not use the “e” word in her book because women with eating issues advised her not to. They mostly a told her that they didn’t like the forced “whip yourself into shape” mentality. They told her that berating them and prodding them made them feel like they weren’t good enough.
So Roth changed her tactics. In her workshops she gets women to think, instead, about their amazing bodies, no matter their sizes. She points out that “when we're not moving our bodies, we're depriving ourselves of knowing our own loveliness.”
Look at children. They run everywhere. They do cartwheels. They climb trees. They intuitively understand that we are marvelously made, and we are made to move! We aren’t made to sit and stagnate on the couch. We can’t truly appreciate who we are until we use the body that we've been blessed with to walk proudly and to be fit and strong.
But you don't need to be stuck in a gym for hours on end to do it! Go ahead and turn up the music and dance in your kitchen.
Find something fun and physical to do. Get outside and walk around the block at lunch. Walk your dog when you get home from work. Do whatever pleases you with your magnificent body. Don’t strap yourself to a treadmill if you don’t want to. Don’t beat yourself up for not following through on your get-this-fat-ugly-body-in-shape resolutions.
Simply take pleasure in moving your body as often as you can, as fast as you can for as long as you can. Before you know it, you'll be strong and powerful physically, and your emotional and spiritual selves will thank you, too. They're all partners. "Body and soul are made to play and dance and skip, and it’s hard for one to do those things without the other.”
Celebrate your wonderful, amazing body every way you can today! Especially if you're battling those "I wasn't enough" thoughts that rumble through your head after divorce.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 (NIV) Check out Suzy Brown's Midlife Divorce Recovery Resources for Women at www.midlifedivorcerecovery.com.
This article was originally published at Midlife Divorce Recovery. Reprinted with permission from the author.