I had a chance to hit my building gym today. Given how so many of the tenants “summer” outside of NYC, the gym was pretty empty except my friend, Heidi. Now that I think about, I tend to bump into Heidi in the gym no matter the season. She’s not a crazy gym rat but she, like the rest of us, wants to remain trim.
She’s a fun gym mate. She cracks me up and we agree on many things. She cares about her looks and doesn’t hesitate to tell me about her latest peel or Botox treatment. Like me she’s a mom but has a pretty serious job. She’s a psychologist.
Funny, I feel comfortable enough around her to let my body show in all its “glory” in my gym shorts and bra, and also free enough to criticize it in front of her without feeling like an anti-feminist.
Now I know we should all feel better about ourselves. We should all just stop being so self-critical, damn it. It would make us and everyone else around us happier, right?
But that’s not so easy.
And maybe, just maybe, there’s something therapeutic about our sharing of body issues. I realize that having Heidi to voice my inner most thoughts to, let’s me rid myself of them a bit. For one thing, having her listen and then dispel my notions always feels good. (Of course why we need to rely on others’ opinions of ourselves is a big issue. But it’s also reality.) For another, being able to verbally share thoughts has a cathartic effect. Isn’t that at the heart of therapy anyway?
I’m not advocating that we all blurt out to everyone all the time terrible things about our own bodies. But if we have a friend who “gets us,” maybe sharing with her or him our thoughts can actually make us feel better about our bodies, and ultimately ourselves.