“They say owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do. But the path towards self-love can be a rocky journey sometimes.” Today on the blog, I am happy to bring to you Yamini Deen, a Jungian Analyst (training) and a therapist who works predominantly with women and has identified three major themes around reclaiming one’s body and is here to share it with our readers as part of our Body Positivity Project.
A Love Letter to My Body
“I would have addressed you as ‘dear’ but perhaps we both know how complicated that would be.”
“Over the years, I have heard about 10 million ways of losing weight. From teachers, colleagues, friends, parents to relatives I haven’t met in a decade. Some of them would say I need to run a lot or I won’t get married. “
“How hypocritical of me, a feminist, to base my standards on Vogue. That train of thought is just a corner of my intellectual brain. My hatred is from the more primal, the more desperate need to be loved.”
“Till I remove all this invasive hair, I will never be loved or so I believed at 15.”
These are excerpts from the Love Letter to the Body project I co-created in India with my friend and colleague Bhamati Sivapalan. Cellulite. Body hair. Stretch Marks. Too pale. Too dark. Too thin. Too fat. Too flat. Too busty. Too much. Too little. Not enough. Flawed. That is the internal voice we heard in these letters.
The “Not Worthy” Mentality
As a gender workshop trainer, therapist, and activist, I have reached out to hundreds of women on the subject of body image issues over the years. Almost all women are at some level convinced that it is objectively true that we are objectively flawed. Young women, older women, lawyers, house cleaners, activists. You get the drift. The common thread often is the belief that ‘if my body isn’t a certain way, I am not worthy or lovable’. The war against the female body is a sophisticated weapon of patriarchy that keeps women in a continuous state of anxiety and shame imagining that their body needs to look like an ideal body that doesn’t exist.
As a therapist who works predominantly with women, I identified three themes around reclaiming our body: love, power, and sisterhood.
3 Themes Around Reclaiming our Body
What does that word “love” evoke in you when it is about your body? Be honest. Write it. Write a love letter to your body. Set yourself free on paper. Be angry, tender, sad. Be loving. Virginia Woolf believed that no woman had succeeded in writing the truth of the experience of her own body and that women and language had to change considerably before that could happen. Find your own language. Imagine for a moment that you embrace your body as it naturally is. Discard political correctness. To me, writing about my body was un-photoshopping parts I denied.
From a psychological and spiritual perspective, it is hard to stand in our full power if we think we need to slouch to hide our breasts, we hate our hips and want to wish away the stripes. Stand up straight, take a deep breath, feel your feet on the ground and keep your back straight. It is a start in inhabiting our body with confidence.
To silently bear the shame of our issues makes us convinced we are alone. Go ahead and tell your girlfriends how you feel about your cellulite, your vagina, or weight in the midst of talking about your new promotion or the latest game you played with your child.
Together we can heal.
Remember that reclaiming your body and self-love is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight. Take baby-steps and watch yourself transform!
Yamini Deen is a Jungian Analyst (training). She offers therapy that integrates western psychology with eastern approaches to growth and development. Yamini is deeply committed to supporting women’s growth by re-examining automatic patriarchal conditioning. From a young age, she has been an activist in India who has worked towards ending sexual violence through street performances, art projects, and protests. She has led numerous workshops and worked on social media campaigns. www.yaminideen.com
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for our April posts, cuz spring is finally here. We will continue to talk about body positivity, health, happiness, ex-pat, and travel tips.
To read posts from March, click here