Who decided to assigned value to numbers relating to our being? What does it even mean? Working in the health, wellness and fitness industry in a world based on numbers and tech as a way to measure goals can be frustrating because I know and see that these measurements are short-sighted in the way of holistic health. I’ve been exploring ideas around body image and trying to make sense of it. It has proven itself much more complex than I could imagine. I’ll just write about 1 little piece of it. The numbers game.
So, in numbers, I’m 39 years old, 64.5 inches, 40-32-40 depending on the day and have wavered between 155-170 lbs for the better part of my life and none of these numbers hold a definitive value. They don’t mean a thing… If my numbers change, do I receive a different salary or guarantee a better place in line for the next life, win the lottery or become worthy of love? Right now, today, I can say no matter what my number are, I feel the best I’ve ever remembered feeling in my life. It doesn’t tell me anything that I’m a year away from being 40 or that my BMI would have me shamed into the idea that I’m borderline obese. I don’t buy any of it.
Even in terms of money numbers mean different things depending on the currency and the day. $1 in the U.S. will not buy much of anything, but that equals about $18 Mexican pesos and is almost enough to by a coconut. But if I had $18 U.S., I could buy significantly more… Or in Indonesian Rupiah, $1 U.S. = about $13,500 which in U.S. money could buy an awful lot. In Bali, I could get a massage for $200,000 Indonesian Rupiah… I digress…but the point is numbers have different meaning depending on the day, depending on where we are.
There’s no value to these numbers that can make me (or anyone) more or less valuable. So why is everyone tracking numbers? Weight, inches, calories, steps, etc… And when we get there, then what? Most of the time, there’s the next number looming… Sure, a goal was met which is a great thing, but I think it’s important to dig deeper with our goals because the real goal is more than a number.
I think the real goal is a feeling that isn’t so easy to measure. When you stand on the scale at your newly achieved weight or see your new body measurements, do you say…”I fully love myself now that I am this new weight or number in inches!” Because if you did, that would be it and you wouldn’t be striving for yet a different number and wouldn’t need to worry about regressing back to old habits or any of the things because all the shit from the past that got you here in the first place would be healed and the numbers wouldn’t matter because your life would be so in balance that you’d be like, “numbers??? what numbers??”
So what is the real goal or desire??? There is the whole institution of body shaming b.s. which is a multi-million dollar industry, that has been built on the need for all of us to think we aren’t enough and to strive for different numbers or a different image because they say we aren’t enough. What we really want is radical-self love. A true sense of loving ourselves, but this concept takes the giant body shaming institution and threatens to dismantle it’s foundation that keeps us in the numbers game and distracted from our real work.
If there is a number that universally equaled radical self-love, then I want that number to be the goal for myself and everyone else out there trying to figure out how to love themselves and quit going through cycles of body shaming, number counting, numbing and other countless tactics to change or forget parts of them that are uniquely beautiful just as they are. I want that number which equals radical self love to be the one we are all striving and practicing for every day because it’s only when we reach (or are moving toward that number) that the institution built around body shame will crumble on itself.
I think the number we all want, that is our soul’s truth, is the number 1. Not because we’re in competition to be #1, but because we are all one. We are all one! Not separate or in a competition for numbers or a certain body image that has no real meaning, but a sense of needing more. A need to feel that in our body – the home of our beautiful soul – we belong to this world, to all humanity and to the earth. 100% beautiful, vulnerable, courageous, messy, human.
When we reach those other numbers, we will still want more. When we reach number 1, the magical number of radical self-love, we will know we are home because it’s a feeling that we get when things are right in our bodies, in our hearts and in our minds. We will no longer feel like we we need to look, act or be anything different than who we are. True soul beauty. Gentle yet strong warrior souls. Divine feminine energy. Those numbers will no longer circle in our heads shaping our decisions each day. Lightness and humor can surround the imperfections of our human bodies and we can be free to live in a whole new way. Not just survive, but fully live. Singing, dancing, moving, sleeping, creating, loving…in the way we were meant to live. Our human birthright.