*We're almost done with our 31 Days of Reclaiming Body Image series. I'm sorry I missed the past few days. Re-entry from retreat week with Holy Yoga is always hard. I've spent a few days reconnecting with my kids and catching up on my life.*
I heard a lot of women's stories last week. I'm talking raw, gritty, heart wrenching stories; real hearts laid bare on the table.
I noticed something in all of our stories. Sometimes the wounds that we're hovering over are wounds of truth. We shame ourselves with our perceived just punishments. We did something wrong, or we allowed something to happen, and we use that to pummel our hearts into tiny, breathless boxes. We end up broken and hopeless because we're stuck in the truth of our circumstances.
And then I came home and Joe told me that one of his counselors had said something really profound last week.
"Truth without compassion is brutality."
Truth is defined as 'the body of real things, events, and facts.' We look back on our lives of shame and brokenness and abandonment and rejection through the lens of truth - judging who we are, based on what we've done. We know by now that our distorted body image really doesn't have anything to do with our bodies. We're battling our own minds, our culture and the original lie that we have to partake in something we weren't meant for to make ourselves complete. We weigh our memories and our worth against what we believe we are owed. We see the small 't' truth of our lives and we let that carry us all the way into body shame, disordered eating, obsessive workouts, depressed binges, and grief driven mirror avoidance. We do this because we are lacking compassion.
And what we end up with is brutality.
Here's a giant truth - when we engage in our wounded behavior, we are truly engaging in self brutality. If our hearts were able to soften and invite compassion into our processing wouldn't that change everything? Truth is meant to be balanced by compassion. One without the other will only lead to wandering hearts. We just keep missing the mark and we keep on abusing our own bodies and hearts in the process.
We were created for the balance of truth and compassion. In that delicate space is where real freedom comes bursting forth. When we are able to face the truth of our pasts, our battles, our rejection, our sadness, our loneliness - in the light of compassion - we will find ourselves reaching into truth with soft hands. Get this, sisters, the definition of compassion is 'a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry or in trouble.' Isn't that exactly what we are? We are sick. We are hungry. We are in trouble. So lets help ourselves. Lets stop abusing ourselves. Lets stop using brutality to force ourselves into a smaller pant size, or swimsuit or number on the scale. Lets stop shaming ourselves when we eat outside of our self-inflicted rules, or when we see someone we think we should look like. Lets stop despising ourselves.
Lets make compassion a deliberate practice. Lets not allow the voice of truth without the voice of compassion, and vice versa.
We've got this. We can do brave things with soft hearts.