Becoming Your Best Advocate

I remember the first time I caught myself in a cycle of self-mutilating thoughts. It was March of 2012 and I was in the midst of yoga teacher training with my mentor, Ana T. Forrest. I was sitting on the hardwood floor of the dance studio where we were about to practice-teach in a group of twelve or thirteen teachers-to-be. There were mirrors on the wall and as I stared at what I believed to be my “flaws,” I butchered myself to tiny bits one vicious thought after the next. In that moment I was so attached to distortions about my self worth that I believed I would never reach the self-actualized, self-loving Warrior Woman design I so desperately fancied for myself. I remember crying on many occasions, feeling helpless to my silent self-inflicted violence.
Thankfully, what I could not grasp then was observing myself in process was the first step to healing. It took a year or so of just catching the thoughts for me to entertain a new relationship with myself. One day something just shifted. I looked in the mirror as the clamor of half-cracked ideas banged around my skull and I met them with a new part of me; I call her The Advocate. She’s a little bit street and she fights for the underdog. She is a truth-speaker and doesn’t let me get away with tearing myself down. She always busts out with, “What are you going to do-NOT love yourself?!?!” And I always answer back with a smile on my face because I’ve got someone who defends me against the tyrant inside–how gratifying!

We always hear about the Inner Critic and I think for most of us that part is blaring loud and clear. So what about the Inner Advocate? The Inner Warrior? The Ninja that karate-chops your most ugly ideas about yourself? What does he/she have to say? How do you invite this part of you out to participate in the war against shame, discomfort, depression and pain? The battles we wage against ourselves can only be won when we take the fight to an even playing field. This takes time and patience. Give yourself the space to craft a new dynamic between what you believe about your body and what is possible. And remember that every win along the way is worth celebrating.

Practice My dear friend, Sophia, once told me that when something no longer works for you, do it differently. Try something new on for size, no matter how foreign it feels. You can spend the next year of your life wearing the same crappy attitude and crying about it (like I did) or you can play with something else. Instead of wearing “I’m ugly” or “I don’t deserve to be seen, loved, heard, etc,” try, “Goddamn, I look good!” Exclaim it loud and proud. How about “I’m the bee’s knees!” or even just responding to that Inner Critic and calling his/her bluff. Your Inner Advocate will sound uniquely YOU so you may have to get a little funky to call her/him out. Look in the mirror if it helps, talk with your hands to get really big. Get creative to meet the turmoil within and you will be rewarded, I guarantee it!