I was a fat kid.
It happened almost overnight that I put on weight and suddenly became that kid.
My grandparents passed an appreciation for polka on to my mom, and one of her favorites she used to sing was “The Too Fat Polka.” Do you know it? (The tame version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a31vY8YNTg)
“I don’t want her, you can have her, she’s too fat for me,” was the refrain.
My mom would sing it and play it, and I was certain she was referring to me! Needless to say I developed a lot of physical shame. I hated my body. In fact (and this likely happened BEFORE I started gaining weight, and as the reason for the gain), I became completely disconnected from it.
At one point I remember telling my mom I had a headache. I’d clearly heard the adults talking about this thing called a headache. She promptly informed I did not have a headache, because ‘kids can’t get headaches.’
I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what I did have going on if it wasn’t a headache. For years I reflected on that moment questioning my ability to trust what I felt physically.
As I grew up, I always had trouble relating to my body. When sick, doctors would ask me to describe my symptoms, how much pain I was experiencing and when things started. I was dumbfounded. I had no awareness of things like this! And while I loved being active in sports, I was not what you’d call graceful.
I learned yoga in my twenties, which helped. But back pain in my early thirties was my wake up call. I took a class (in the Feldenkrais Method) that helped me to actually notice what my body was doing. The micromovements we explored opened me up to a whole new level of being present.
This was right about the time I got divorced (no coincidence) and dove into a whole new layer of healing work. I needed to not only face the Truth that I had disconnected from my body physically, but I often was not present at all. I was masterful at going through the motions and ignoring those gut instincts that were screaming to get my attention.
I was great at playing the ‘success’ game the way the world defined it so I am guessing most people didn’t notice or care. But as I began to wake up I saw how much of my life I had missed!
I’d spend weeks and weeks planning a vacation, looking forward to it with great anticipation. During the vacation I’d be so worried about everything going well that I only enjoyed it the week after when I was looking back at the photos. I was there, but I wasn’t present.
I wasn’t very Captivating.
This brings me to my next in our Captivation Factor Series. As a quick reminder we’re talking about 10 Captivation Factors that allow you to go through life in such a way that people (and in particular ideal clients) are drawn to you.
Captivation Factor #8: I am present and comfortable in my physical body, making eye contact, moving through the world, and taking up space easily.
When I was a kid I ate to hide my pain, and I gained weight as a way to take up the space I didn’t feel was rightfully mine to take up emotionally.
Think of someone that you find to be magnetic. When they walk in a room you feel drawn to them. In conversation you feel completely safe and comfortable in their presence. In fact after spending time with them, you likely notice that you feel much better about yourself. If you can bring that person to mind, I’m guessing you will also notice that they have a presence because they are present.
When we are self-conscious physically, it is hard to be present. Our attention can’t be fully given to the other person without judgment, because we are too worried about us. And if we are busy judging ourselves, just based on how energy works, the person we’re with will not feel safe to be fully themselves without judgment.
Think about that for a minute. I’m guessing that you are the type of person who would love nothing more than to have people FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES in your presence. Am I right?
Well if you don’t do the work to get comfortable with physical presence, if you are judging yourself, you CANNOT simultaneously bring non-judgment to others. It’s an energetic impossibility! If that’s not motivation to love yourself and get good with your body, then I don’t know what is!
My wife is an amazing photographer and videographer (http://bigmissionphotography.com). In her work she’s got a phenomenal radar (based on her own life experience) for people who are denying their own physical sensuality. She can tell when they are not in their body. She helps them to take up space! It’s been awesome to watch all she’s learned as she’s coached her clients to a breakthrough experience.
As this is something I’ve had to learn I’ll share a few tips.
Get into the habit of seeing and embracing your Truth. Your gut knows and if you don’t want to know you’ll gut off your gut.
Tap into your purpose at a physical, feel it all over your body, kind of level. Get in touch with why this work you do is worth it.
Make eye contact. Start with yourself in the mirror. If you can truly see yourself, like look deeply into your eyes, with love and no judgment, your energy will shift. I sometimes have people do this at retreats and the shift is palpable.
Get physical! Yoga, dance, you name it. Get physical. (Oh, did I mention SEX!?)
Take up space! Do or say the thing, period. If you need to spread your work out all over the table, or wear bright bold colors, or speak more loudly or ask people to accommodate you, try at least three space-claiming strategies this week.
And watch yourself become increasingly captivating. Please note that you won’t have to talk louder or market harder to captivate. And you don’t have to be a natural – I’m not. This can absolutely be learned and for me is always a work in progress.
What about you? How does your comfort level with your physical self help you to grow your business? When do you disconnect? At what cost? Please share!