Identity is an important part of us. It gives us a sense of purpose and allows people (including ourselves) to easily attach labels to us.
But with identity comes beliefs, and sometimes those beliefs aren’t the most positive. Oftentimes, we let these identities get in the way of our true selves. We forget there is more to us than just a name or a label or a thought.
For example, I grew up identifying myself as an athlete. I thought if I looked like an athlete, then I would be taken seriously.
If I was this fit/thin person, then all was okay. People would look up to me. I was constantly praised for my achievements which just perpetuated the cycle of my identity, and eventually it got out of hand.
I took my identity to an extreme. I couldn’t love my body unless I was exercising or using self-destructive coping methods. I got sucked into a world of extreme body hatred. I took advantage of my identity as an athlete and used it as an excuse to self-destruct and make myself something I wasn’t.
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Truth be told, I was more than an athlete. But I had quickly forgotten there was more to me than my identity and body.
I based my self-worth on how my body looked and felt in regard to exercise.
It has taken me a long time (and it’s still a work in progress) to realize that I am more than the identities I give myself. I’ve always been somebody.
Without those labels, I still am somebody. Slowly giving up those identities has allowed me to see myself for what I am, purely loving myself.
I don’t have to be an athlete to love my body.
I don’t have to workout to love my body. I don’t have to restrict myself to love my body. I just have to open my heart, embrace, and truly “be” to really see myself for all that I am.
Labels are a hard thing to steer clear of–throughout our society, we are constantly filled with information from the media and other people. Our brains are easily adaptable and quickly latch onto those things. Instead of someone suffering from anorexia, they’re considered “the anorexic.” Someone who decides to take a day off from exercise might be considered “lazy” when in fact they’re just human.
I’ve noticed with both myself and others, ignorance to the body occurs with labels and identities. Our identities cause us to become hard on ourselves and we no longer have compassion for the body. We ridicule it. People eat a cookie, and instead of thinking of it as feeding their soul, they turn right to self-hate and talking about how they have no self-control.
We allow these labels to have too much power, and as a result we get trapped in a cycle of self-hate and destruction, and sometimes we are completely unaware.
Our identities and labels can get in the way of treating our bodies properly and with gratitude. We live in a society that is about immediacy. We want results right away. We want to just love ourselves. But holding onto those labels and acting out on those labels won’t get us there.
What we need is self-awareness – the path to self-love.
What would happen if we all just let go of these identities? What would happen if we just let ourselves be as we are, raw and vulnerable? What would it be like to actually be with your body? To be with your body and yourself as is? It is one of the most powerful things you could do for yourself.
How would your life and relationship with your body be different if you stopped letting you identities and labels run the show?
Try to let go and let be for a day, a week. See what happens. Don’t allow your ego to take the front seat. Let love take control.
Appreciate, show gratitude, embrace, and allow yourself be as real as you can get.
You will be so surprised at how different things will start to feel once you begin to let go of (or lessen) the labels and identities that you or society has placed on you. Stop trying to escape and hide your bodies through these labels.
Your body isn’t going anywhere. It hasn’t given up on you, so don’t give up on it.