When I was in an in-patient treatment center for Bulimia, my therapist would tell me, “Come on Casey, get off you’re own back!” Even today my partner tells me that I’m still too hard on myself. I guess I’ve just grown up that way. My parents are hardcore Texas ranchers (of the equestrian persuasion), and I became a Bikram yoga instructor at the age of 21. Bikram yoga is a 90 minute no bullshit militant yoga sequence done in 105-degree heat (40 degrees Celsius) taught with the notion that, “If you don’t suffer, you don’t get anything. Nothing is easy in life.”
Ever since I was five or six years old, I remember having negative thoughts about my body. I remember not feeling good enough or worthy enough. I remember every time I got off stage after a dance or vocal solo I would cry because I thought I didn’t perform well. Every. Single. Time. For decades this kind of mentality persisted and negative self-talk became deeply embedded in my brain’s neural pathways.
Four years ago this all shifted.
I graduated from college, and I moved to Chile. I spent almost a year and a half in Chile away from the diet culture I grew up in (note: IMO Chile does have its fair share of diet culture, but Chileans don’t seem as obsessed with weight and image as people from the United States). I deepened my recovery by letting go of food rules. I stepped away from my internal pressure of being thin as a full-time yoga instructor, and I only taught private lessons and a few public classes. I decided to never again talk bad about my body out loud. I binged and purged for the last time four months before moving to Chile.
While I’ve learned to be more forgiving with myself, I’m still a work in progress. I’m still retraining my brain and researching every possible avenue to help me do so. I recently heard an interview with Gary Vanerchuck where he said he thinks his superpower is that he NEVER judges himself. That was huge for me. Even just the thought of someone having the ability to not judge themselves provided me hope that I could eventually get there. Vipassana meditation has helped a lot. Imagine if you could re-train your brain to not judge yourself for any mistake, awkward comment, or failure. The good news is, you can (cue neuroplasticity)! How would this superpower change your life?