BYJ: Day 11 – I am not my body

The topic I read today for my Beautiful You Journal was the idea that I am not my body.  The author discusses the idea that we define ourselves by what we tell ourselves and what others tell us about our bodies. It’s funny that I read this today, almost immediately after watching Marie Osmond on a Nutrisytem commercial say, “My stomach is flatter now than when I was 20!”(I had an excited utterance for her that sounded an awful lot like “Truck Blue, Marie!”). The author was expressing this idea that who we are is much deeper than our exteriors and that we tend to focus our goals on what our “shells” (This is my word, not hers) need – i.e. I need to be skinny, I need to lose weight, I’m not Marie Osmond, etc., etc. And really, we are much deeper than this, we are much more needed in the world around us than the world at our surface.  The author mentioned a student of hers that had equated our bodies to a motor vehicle and that they are only used to move us around in life, but they are not what is on the inside. Granted, she expressed we need to take care of our vehicles – like general maintenance – but the focus should be where the driver needs to go and not what the care looks like.

I struggle with this, because sometimes I feel that’s not how society treats us. There are accidents (using the analogy of cars), there are drag races, there are needs of vehicles depending on the terrain me might traverse.  So, it’s a tough analogy for me to accept (Granted, I overthink everything, so I need to work on that), but I am working on it.  I mentioned last week to someone that I feel like I have not taken care of myself, like I have let myself go because of all the stresses and challenges of life. Sadly, I feel like it’s take a bit of a toll on me, but this is something I do want to change and it’s something I feel like I need to change. My problem is coming up with a game plan – and my biggest struggle is in the motivation.

But I do want to be at a point where I can accept that my body does not define me, completely, that I am much more than my shell.

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14 thoughts on “BYJ: Day 11 – I am not my body”

  1. Actually in a later entree in the book the author will emphasize that it is important to take care of your body, because you only have one. Even though you shouldn’t be defined by it, doesn’t mean you do not need to take care of it. 🙂 So why not try setting yourself small challenges? And give yourself structure by making yourself a schedule. Do you want to drink 2 liters of water a day? Download a habit tracker which allows you to track it for everyday by simply checking a box on days that you have succeeded. And then, when you have that down, add another habit: like one portion of vegies extra per day (or something else), and track it the same way. 🙂 Set yourself small rewards after a month of adhering to the habit.

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    1. I kinda got that she was saying it was important to take care of your body. I do want to do that. But here’s what I do that’s been a major struggle of mine: I start with good habits and I’ll keep it going for a while, begin seeing improvements and then I have a really rough couple of days and everything seems to go right out the window and I don’t get back on track for a while. I haven’t found a way to positively handle my rough days yet…I’m working on it though.

      But I like your suggestions, because drinking 2 liters of water is actually pretty easy for me.

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      1. That’s why I suggested small changes, cause those tend to be easier to pick up once you have let them go for a bit. Also: accountability helps. I really dislike having to write that I didn’t have a particularly good week, so that keeps me straight mostly. Perhaps you can find someone to help you with this? Or perhaps join a group to keep you motivated?

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  2. For us, image is everything. Our consciousness resides in this body and to make it last as long as possible , we need to feed it, keep it strong, fit, and healthy but human psychology has proven that if we’re not happy with our body for some reason, we tend not to do well – people have a sense of poor self-image because we compare our bodies to those of others, like penis envy or women who are flat-chested A-cups while the DD-cup chick gets all the guys (and all the sex). Or the folks who weigh only 98 pounds but their mind tells them that they’re too fat and that makes them do even more unhealthy things to get rid of this imagined fat. Or the folks who are morbidly obese, know they have to lose all that weight, but their minds convince them that they can’t.

    Our society, one driven by appearance, gets us all thinking that our bodies do define us, that if you’re not skinny and beautiful/handsome, you ain’t shit, will never be anything, will never have anything and this mindset makes us not take any stock in the power of our minds and its ability to make our bodies do amazing things. Still, it’s also a given that in some things, you’re only going to be as good as your body will allow you to be. Here’s the thing I understand: I am defined by what’s going on in my head and that there’s great potential residing between my ears and I can do amazing things – if my body will cooperate and it doesn’t always go with the plan.

    Am I much more than what my body represents? Yes. What’s the first thing you see about someone? Their body, which may or may not reflect what’s going on in their head. If my body attracts someone, that’s the prelude for them to next find out what’s going on in my head – that’s just the way it is since we’re not Vulcans or natural born telepaths. Yes, we make the mistake of judging the book by its cover and, more often than not, find out that what we see doesn’t match the inner person or, it might look good on the outside but what lies beneath is as ugly as the original sin.

    So, to me, the notion that I’m not my body is one of those “duh” things – but this is where I live and what I use to interact with the world around me. This may only be just a shell but it’s my shell but when they say that a person is just a shell of of their former self, they’re not talking about their body, are they?

    You might need to seriously hit the gym and get your body back into shape but if you can’t, where does the fault and failure lie? Between your ears because while you might not be your body, your mind is supposed to run things, isn’t it?

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    1. Truly, I believe in a mind over matter mentality. I can honestly say that what I have been struggling the most with is the idea that I can do everything…
      I think I might have effed myself with that thinking, because I can not do everything…lol Now, I’m working on a change for that too.

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      1. When they say we are only limited by our imaginations, they’re only partially correct; we are limited to what our bodies can actually do, aren’t we. My mind tells me that I can dead-lift 1,000 pounds but my body says, “Try it and find out what’ll really happen…”

        I thought about transgender people; a man, for some reason, believes himself to be female and not the gender he was born into and, if he can, changes his body to match what his mind is telling him; since his mind says he’s really female, he transforms himself to make his body match his perception of self, thus he becomes a she and, yes, they do it because they believed they are destined to be female.

        “Shemales” have that same perception of self except, um, they’re not of a mind to rid themselves of their male genitalia and are of a mind that keep it but taking on other feminine attributes gives them the best of both worlds. The other day, I saw a piece of porn where two guys were about to get it on… until the one guy got naked and revealed that he had a rather nice pussy, a really big clit, a nice facial beard, and the scars from having breasts removed.

        Why? Because the mind said this should be the way the body should be. So if it’s true that you’re not your body, why change it to match your perception of self and, in this case, despite what your DNA says? Some gay men have very feminine behaviors – but their body is still very much male, isn’t it? Some lesbians have very masculine behaviors – the body is still female, though.

        They say it’s mind over matter (and you’ve heard the joke about this one) but one’s body can only do so much, like the overweight person who wants to not be overweight but is genetically predisposed to be overweight and nothing they do other than some very invasive and painful surgery is gonna change that.

        So if you’re not your body, what are you? I can change my hair color, even the color of my skin, artificially change the color of my eyes and despite those changes, it’s still me, still my body and the place my consciousness resides. If I wanted to, I can get breasts, have my dick changed to be longer and fatter… and it’s still me – just not the “me” that came into the world almost 61 years ago.

        Because we – humans – change our bodies to match our self-perception, the notion that we are not our bodies doesn’t really fly with me all that well. I wasn’t born with pierced ears – but today, my ears are tastefully pierced. You see where this all goes, don’t you?

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        1. I think I do see what you mean. There is the me we want and the me we are, and sometimes they are not one and the same, but sometimes out self-perception can drive us – and sometimes it’s not all bad, right?

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          1. Right. There’s the “me” I wanna be, the “me” I am right now… but there’s also the “me” everyone expects to see, which might not be the same thing and I’m sure you know how many problems that causes. When we say, “This is who and what I am,” we are, in fact, speaking of both mind and body as a whole – what you see is what you get, right?

            I got my first tattoo and just trashed my mother’s perceptions of how my body should look; I won’t shave my pubes bald because I get nasty ingrown hairs that require surgery to get rid of, thus trashing my lady’s perception of how my body should look; she also says I don’t have enough ass for her tastes – but other than getting my butt injected with silicone, there’s nothing I can or want to do about that.

            It’s all about image and perception – your position on this versus that of others. You tell yourself (and your doctor agrees) that you need to lose 30 pounds; but someone else tells you that you look good enough to eat alive and you shouldn’t change a thing.

            What are you gonna do? Lose the 30 pounds and keep your body healthy or go along with that other perception of you?

            Stephen Hawking’s body is for shit – but he has one of the finest minds of our time so there is some truth that we’re not what our bodies represent, right? His body is crippled but his mind isn’t but despite his genius, he can’t change his body, can he?

            This is some very deep shit…

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  3. Oh my god, your other commenter… So thoroughly covered. Well, one of the things I was going to say on the subject of attractiveness… From a woman’s perspective, anyway. What I find attractive in a man has changed immensely in the time since I first noticed boys. Intelligence, kindness, common interests have all made less physically attractive men more appealing to me than they would have been in the past. Maturity changes our perceptions, I think. A man does not have to be rippling with muscles and chiseled of jaw to be attractive. To me at least. When you reach middle age, another set of standards is applied. Yes, I want a man to be passionate and loving, able to satisfy me sexually. I want him to be clean, well groomed and healthy. I should do the same for him. But at this age, we can’t all look like Hollywood standards dictate. I’m going to want to talk, spend time, enjoy one another’s company. Appearance is not going to affect that. I would bet many women would agree with this idea…

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