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How do limiting beliefs about your body undermine your purpose?

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I’ve done a lot of personal work over the years, through talk therapy, meditation, psychedelics, etc. I’ve tapped into wounding I have around my dad’s limiting ideas of success, grief over his death, my need to control the world, my need to put myself above or below others, feelings of unworthiness, and on and on.

But I’m noticing that I’m still mostly unwilling to look at and deal with my issues around body image and sex. Only in the last few weeks has it all really come bubbling up into my conscious mind: My hands are too small. My skin is too pale and white. My muscles aren’t sculpted enough. My stomach is too flabby. The gaps in my teeth are too wide. My penis is too small. And the big one: I’m not a “real” man. I’ll never be a “real” man.

When I let it in, the shame is palpable.

What upsets me most is just how good my body has been to me. I am in good health. In fact, I’ve never had a major illness. I am tall-ish and relatively lean. I’ve been able to conceive a beautiful child. I have a full head of hair. I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve barely even had a cavity! I have all the reason in the world to be grateful for my body, to celebrate and praise it. And yet, part of me thinks it’s ugly and broken.

I can see now that these beliefs are not only unnecessary, they actually hinder my ability to do my purpose work. They suck up my energy. They make me less self-assured and powerful, less able to lead and connect.

Do you have any limiting beliefs about your body? How are they undermining your ability to live your purpose?

Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

1 thought on “How do limiting beliefs about your body undermine your purpose?”

  1. I’m on a journey that feels similar in many ways…I’ve experiencing breakthroughs in “coming out of the heteronormative closet”, revisiting my upbringing in the 1990s suburbs as a time and space with many limiting beliefs about what it meant to be masculine. The parts of me that didn’t align with those definitions were buried in shame, some into my 30s.

    Yoga has been a part of the healing process with my mind and body. I realize that insecurity in my body has been compensated for in my ego, entrenching existing patterns. When I am opening physically, I am also opening to new possibilities — knowledge, connections, identities, and my sense of purpose in the world.

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