Believe me when I say you’re beautiful, a meditation cry
May 23, 2017
My body is sitting in a coffee shop attempting to fight its way through the usual onslaught of emails and to-do's that is the almighty Monday — but my mind is somewhere else. I awoke to familiar nagging in the back of my mind this morning. Something or someone had planted itself right inside my thoughts and was urging me to go do something, anything, to change myself. Because I am not good enough, it said.
I am not fit enough.
I am not curvy enough.
I am not thin enough.
I am not smart enough.
I am not talented enough.
I am not anything enough.
Oh but that’s not true, I reminded it. I am one thing enough: I am plenty overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by disappointment, by sadness and mostly by frustration.
I fight back the gathering tears as I toggle to a new task. “This too shall pass," I hope so violently it almost comes out as an audible cry.
Sadly, I’m not sure it will pass because it never really has. Ten years have gone by and still this feeling has never passed.
I’m not talking about the feeling that I’m not enough. That does come and go. I always know that in the moment. And there are systems and coping mechanisms and outlets (like this site) that help me through these days until the beast retreats. The feeling that I am inadequate absolutely passes. And I am telling you this now, before going any further, because I hope when you find yourself in this space, on a coffee shop couch checking off your to-do list though tear-filled eyes and eavesdropping on lovely, normal conversations of people whose lives you can’t help but envy right now, that you’ll remember there is a moment coming during which you’ll know to the core of your being that you are more than enough. Whether it be five minutes or three days from the moment you're in, you just have to remember it’s coming.
So yes, the self-doubt passes. What doesn’t pass, however, is the frustration I feel in those moments. The feeling of deep disappointment in the thoughts and feelings I’m capable of when that self-doubt, eating disorder and/or body issues come creeping back in.
I am so disappointed in myself for the things I can think about myself. (woah, meta) I hate that I would ever put myself down or question my worth. Most of all, I hate that these things could stop me from sharing the idea of self-love with others.
Because I don’t want you to dislike yourself. I do not want you to doubt yourself. You have no time for it, and either do I. I believe that you (edit: we) are beautiful and full of reasons to be loved. Believe me. Please believe me when I say you’re beautiful. Even if you know I’m having a hard time telling myself.
During my senior year of college, I spent three months with members of an ashram in Columbus, Ohio for an immersion journalism project focused on the ashram itself and the members of the larger meditation community in Columbus. From guide to self-led, I watched, filmed, photographed, and participated in a great deal of meditations. One of the lessons that stuck with me after the project (and has since helped me to semi-successfully integrate meditation into my yoga practice) was the simple yet powerful idea that your mind does not have to be empty during meditation; nothingness is not always attainable for everyone. A better and more reasonable goal, one subject explained, is to find a focus and begin acknowledging you thoughts outside that focus without engaging with them.
Acknowledging a thought simply means being aware of it. It is a moment of mindfulness, and once you notice a thought is present, you're supposed to return back to your “anchor” (this could be a visual focus or the act of breathing) to prevent yourself from further engaging wth the thought.
In theory, the thought eventually passes as thoughts do.
My self-doubt is a passing thought and while sometimes it take’s me a bit longer to return to my anchor than I’d like, I always return.
I always return to my breath.
and to myself.
sitting in a coffee shop telling myself:
Believe me when I say you’re beautiful.
Hey! Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? If you want to learn more or get access to some resources and support, check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness page. Here's a few other resources: