Thin Lines

I want to begin with a question for you. Why do you do the things that you do? Are you aware of the intentions behind your actions or are you more prone to acting thoughtlessly? Do not take ‘thoughtlessly’ to be an insulting term. Most people do act thoughtlessly, and are not very self-aware (myself included). As Bertrand Russell says, “Most people would rather die than think, in fact most do.” Thinking requires effort. A lot of effort. Especially when it comes to thinking about things to do with you and the way you are programmed i.e. the way you choose to live your life everyday, whether consciously or subconsciously. Thinking about such can also be uncomfortable, because most of us don’t really like to think about why we act in the ways that we do. It can hit a nerve that we prefer left untouched.

But it is crucial to interrogate yourself at times. This is the only way that we can learn and grow. This is the only way that we can identify our weaknesses and failings and choose to rather see them as seeds waiting to blossom into something stronger and more fruitful.

Today, I want to talk about the ways that we own our bodies.

Before I venture into this, I want you to think about what you understand by the phrase “own your body”. Pause. Don’t continue reading until you have thought about this. I’ll wait…


I am only continuing on the basis of the belief that you have thought about this. And if you haven’t, you have further proved Bertrand Russell’s view that I outlined above. Now, most people will think from the phrase that I mean being body-confident. Most people will assume I’m referring to being free to wear what you want or post whatever type of pictures of yourself that you want. But when I refer to ‘body’, I don’t really mean the physical sense of the word. I am not really talking about the dust from which you have been formed, but rather the minerals and micro-nutrients within that dust. The things that you don’t see, that I don’t see, but that we know we have. I am talking about what some people call a mind, some call consciousness, some call a soul. I am talking about the essence of your being. I am talking about you.

Do you have full ownership over you? Are you in full control? Are you truly carefree? From what I have observed, most of us are not. Most of us like to think we are totally secure about our bodies, about ourselves, when really we are in a form of disguised bondage. But we don’t notice it because we subconsciously protect ourselves from this reality. In truth, if you were in total ownership of yourself, you would never seek the approval of others because you would be totally comfortable and secure in who you are.

Second thinking experiment: Think of what your deepest insecurity lies within. Our insecurities are usually rooted in whatever strips us of our sense of self-worth. What is it that negatively changes the way you see yourself? It could be your appearance, your attitude towards others, your inability to show love or receive love, your feeling that you alone are not enough, something that you did in the past, something that was done to you, your commitment issues, trust issues, anger, grades, disappointment in where you are in life…It could be anything. Just think of what the real reason is that drives you to not really like yourself, and thus, causes you to act in certain ways. We all have something that we are running from, that we don’t want to accept, that we don’t want to face. Because it is painful and uncomfortable. These things, though seeming minute, often exert a form of ownership over us. They don’t allow us to be free. By exerting ownership over you, I mean they have a way of controlling your emotions, bringing you fear and ultimately controlling the way you act. They take away the full rights you have to your body because they take away the right you have to like yourself.

Often, our minds respond to this by finding a way to ‘protect’ ourselves from these insecurities, to avoid having to think of them, to convince ourselves that we ‘own our bodies’ despite evidence that shows otherwise. We do this by preventing our sense of self-worth from lying in who we really are, and rather letting it lie in other more shallow things. Ask yourself, what do you let your self-worth depend on? i.e. How do you ‘own’ your body?

I took a few weeks leading up to this blog post to observe the different ways people own their bodies. And here are a few: Wearing loud jewelry, always rocking designer clothing, in the way they express their sexuality, being vain about appearance, making sure to always make people laugh, having to be the center of attention, knowing influential people, portraying their life to be near-perfect (online), being boastful to others, being aggressive & making their ‘power’ known, excessively bragging their music taste, being blatantly rude, stealing another person’s partner etc… long story short, if you feel the need to constantly show everybody that you are relevant and secure in yourself, you probably aren’t. This list goes on. And I am not exempt from it. Listed above are just some things that we tend to do to protect our vulnerability. To hide the fact that we are insecure in who we really are. We find ways to prove to ourselves that we are worthy, that we are enough. I am not saying that all of these things in themselves are purely bad, but we can use them in an unhealthy way. And I am not judging anybody for the way in which you choose, either consciously or subconsciously, to prove your self worth..to ‘own’ your body. This is not what I am here to do. I rather ask that you just question yourself. Question your motives. And don’t be quick to falling into the trap of saying “I do it just because I like to”. There is a thin line between doing something because you enjoy it and doing something because it validates you.

So if you have identified what it is that you do to avoid facing the real issues, ask yourself how you can move forward today. Be brave enough to face your monsters and no longer let them control you. You must be patient because it takes time. But remember you are in every right to like the entirety of your being. This is what it really means to love yourself – not simply liking the way that you look – but learning to accept who you are as a person in all your many strengths and faults and working everyday to grow. You have to be intentional about trying to like yourself. Being complacent never did nobody no good.

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