There is a logical fallacy that has been going on for ages: soul and matter are two separate classes. It is a category mistake, one of the many traps we fall into due to our love for words. The truth? The mind is a process of the brain, a consequence of the body to be more poetic.
You are your body
Why is this relevant when talking about shame and self-esteem? I am a woman (I bet men have the same struggle) and for many years I had a terrible relationship with my body. I often thought I was too fat, that I was not beautiful or that I was not attractive enough. I would look in the mirror and cry. I even had anorexia as a teenager. Sometimes I didn’t want to go out because I was not confident with the way I look. Over the years I developed a connection with my body based on hate. I would punish myself with drastic diets. I would behave like it was a slave and my mind the master. Going to the gym 7 days out of 7, no pause. Other times I would continue my long study hours even if my back hurt. Now and again I would eat foods that I knew for sure were bad or I would consume a lot of energy drinks saying I don’t care, I will be fine, my body can take it if I think so.
How did all that worked out? Fit, slim, fat or normal in any scenario i felt terrible. There is no such thing as mind over matter. The mind is matter, indeed in a more subtle form.
It took me two decades to finally stop and listen to my body. To appreciate that it was always there for me, doing its job. I remembered the first time when I was meditating and felt my heart beating. I was amazed there is something that is always working inside me for me no matter if I am scared, or happy, tired or hungry. As part of my coaching training, I was encouraged to feel. To feel my emotions and use my senses. Before I could truly listen to my clients, firstly I had to listen to myself.
In the beginning, I was shocked and said: “How could I did this to myself?”. I learned that “me” is my body. I thought myself to be grateful for all the amazing things I could experience, to be thankful that I can run, jump or stretch for example. I observed how my body mirrored my inner state and by being more aware of it I became more aware of the Reality. Furthermore, I understand that taking care of suit means taking care of my thoughts.
Why? An ill body produces ill thoughts and emotions.
Most important because I realised that I am my body, I am imperfect but I embrace it, I learned to be more kind and gentle with myself. To take care of me, eat good food, do activities that I like and surround myself with good company and pay attention to my emotion’s ecology.