noun: myth; plural noun: myths.
a widely held but false belief or idea.
a misrepresentation of the truth.
a fictitious or imaginary person or thing.
an exaggerated or idealized conception of a person or thing.
Synonyms: misconception, fallacy, false notion, old wives' tale, fairy tale/story, fiction
Is there a myth you have created about your body? That go-to story that you tell yourself over and over. Maybe your myth is that you are not athletic enough to be “outdoorsy”, perhaps your myth is that you could never wear formfitting activewear because you feel like everyone will look at you and question what you were thinking walking out of the house.
My myth has been that my body keeps me from finding love. All of the relationships that have failed, all of the men (boys) I have chased, all of tinder dates that disappeared after date three--I have always blamed the lack of romance on my body.
Now let’s pause and reflect...mostly because it took me a lot of therapy to realize this.
Whether or not I did this consciously or unconsciously, I blamed my body. To me, that was the only reason. There was no way that we didn’t have chemistry, our personalities didn’t jive, or that he thought my obsession for big yellow dogs was too strange. In my head it was because I wasn’t as small as his last girlfriend, or his other tinder dates.
Of course this myth isn’t something I dared to speak out loud. It sat in the back of my head, only returning to haunt me when I was at my most vulnerable, when I felt lonely or utterly exhausted by the dating scene.
About 6 months ago, I found myself once again frustrated, and lonely. Calling my therapist for yet another session. And for the first time, I spoke my myth, my ultimate fear out loud. My body is the reason I have not found love.
It sounded so stupid.
I wrote it down, and I hated reading it. There it was. It was out there, in the universe. Now what?
So here is the thing, myths that we create usually don’t come from nowhere. There is usually a trauma, a memory, something that you were told growing up that really stuck with you. Those memories and beliefs are hard to shake, especially when we don’t process them. Thoughts of eating disorders or negative body image often feel shameful and secretive, saying them out loud, even to ourselves is scary. But in order for us to find healing we must process, come to terms or find peace with where this false story comes from.
When we keep these myths locked away, keep it secret, or deny that exists, the myth will always have power over us. If we acknowledge the myth, we can figure out where it comes from, work through all the shit that come with it, see where it holds us back in life, and learn and grow from it.
I processed, I cried, I was extremely kind to myself. I took hikes, I drank wine in the bathtub. I thought about how this message I had been telling myself was impacting every aspect of my life. It was hard, and glorious. So I challenge you:
Write down three myths about your body.
Sit with them.
Read them a few times.
Read them out loud to a friend.
Do your myths sound ridiculous?
Where do they come from?
Be compassionate with yourself during this process.
So what happened after I acknowledged and processed my myth? I started to see other patterns in how I approached dating and men, that were unhealthy and simply not working. I also acknowledged that perhaps I wasn’t always the reason that the relationship didn’t go anywhere. Generally, I brought more awareness to how I date, and how I feel about my body. I started making small changes in how I approached my attitude towards men, dating in general, broke some of the “rules” I had created for myself.
With the absence of this negativity, I made more space to acknowledge the men who were available and wanting to spend time with me.
I started dating a man who loved me, played no games, adored every part of me. I felt like myself in the relationship, and I wasn’t always concerned with the way I looked. He reminded me that I am loveable, and for that, I cannot thank him enough. I now walk with more confidence and joy. I am not saying that you need a another person to make you feel good or complete (I have been doing that for a long time), this love was a result of doing my own work, timing, and well, meeting a dude from a mountain town at a Superbowl party.
Our time together was short and sweet. We no longer live in the same place, and I don’t know what will happen. But reminding me that I am lovable and capable of being adored was one of the greatest gifts I have received in a long time.
He came to visit me while i was in Idaho. We could barely see the Sawtooths, but it didn’t matter.