Befriending your lizard
I’ve just had the most awesome of weekends!
I’ve had a whole weekend of Body Positivity and Body acceptance in Totnes, Devon at the BodyKind Festival. I’ve met women I’ve been communicating on Facebook with for months, in the flesh, my fellow Body Image Movement Global Ambassadors and I’m proud to call them my friends. I’ve met amazing women, listened to inspiring and heart-breaking stories, laughed at (naked) comedy, and felt the love and acceptance of ourselves and of others on a big scale.
It’s been an emotional weekend for me, the kind that stays with you, and in this regard, it reminds me of the Body Image film ‘Embrace’ and the feelings I had when I watched it the first time with 300 + other people in Bristol in January. I described it as a ‘heart opening experience’ then and this is how I feel tonight.
When you share your own story and what you have learned, and you hear other people’s stories and their take on the world, you can’t fail to be moved.
Harnaam Kaur had the courage to tell us about the bullying and discrimination she’s been through all her life because of the way she looks. She’s had to be her own role model, because there was no one looking out for her. She remains open about her ongoing struggle, to help others, and she is such an inspiration.
When Bodyposipanda stands in front of you in a church, tells her story and you understand every damn thing she says, you FEEL it in your heart, and know what she says is so TRUE it is just incredible. I describe her as Body Positive Royalty in my social media antics and if that makes me sound like a sap, I don’t care! I couldn’t even bring myself to ask her for a photo with me because I felt star struck! (head in hands).
I’m struggling to convey what an incredible weekend this was. I know it’s changed lives already, and I hope it happens again next year. We need these spaces where we can come together and express our thoughts about ourselves and our bodies. There’s just SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT and it makes you feel better.
The big epiphany for me today was when I went to a workshop that my friend Gill was running. It was called ‘Befriend your Lizard’ a reference to the part of our brain talking to us in that negative voice. You might know this as your inner or internal voice, or your ‘gremlin’ or the ‘devil’ on your shoulder, that kind of thing. In short, the lizard part of our brain (the amygdala if you want to look it up!) tries to keep us safe and it does this by convincing us not to try things, in case we fail, not to step up and give our voice to the world.
Now, I have previously done work on this on my own, but never in a group and I was conscious that most of the weekend I’d been trying to hold my lizard voice at bay. I hadn’t realised at the time of course, I just kept having all these thoughts about how I wasn’t worthy to stand on the stage with Bodyposipanda and Harnaam, and how I shouldn’t be thinking that way and I should have my s**t together etc. It was only when Gill asked us to write down on a piece of paper what our lizard had been saying to us, I felt able to actually consider all these thoughts I’d been pushing away. But the pushing away hadn’t got rid of them at all, they were still there, lurking.
The ladies in my group, Gill included, wrote our lists and we were writing for a loooong time. I cracked a joke about how long my list was, but apparently, so was everyone else’s…
Then we shared some of what we had written and it turns out that all of us were having self- doubting, negative thoughts about ourselves. One amazing woman, shared something very deep with the group and she was so brave to do so. It gave me the courage to tell the other women some of my lizard based thoughts. When I did, they were able to show me I had some things wrong. I’d been searching for evidence that wasn’t real and had used it to convince myself I was right in my insecurity.
That was big, for me to verbalise the s**t that goes around my head sometimes and the fact that lots of other people have it too.
“Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Sometimes, we need other people to help us see it, so thank you Gill and you wonderful women with me today in that workshop. It meant a lot to be able to be so vulnerable, and heard, and understood; I need to remember that (just like with Body Image and weight issues) we carry that stuff around with us and we don’t need to.
Let me ask you a question…
What would your life be like if you didn’t have those thoughts?
Those nagging thoughts like:
- “Life would be better if I was thinner”
- “I have failed at dieting”
- “I’m not good enough”
- “I should look different”
- “I can’t stop eating”
- “There’s something wrong with me”
- “No one else does this”
The thoughts you can change if you are ready to.
Get in touch if you’d like some One to One coaching or to come to my Group Workshops. STOP dieting, learn to find freedom around food and love your body as it is NOW.