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Who’s That Lady?

In my previous post, I shared my personal story about writing a poem intended for a friend of mine, which turned into an eye opening and painful realization that I was my own worst enemy.

Self image is a tricky subject to think about, and even more challenging to talk about. I’m just going to throw it out there and say that a lot of us struggle with the Image of ourselves. And I’m pretty sure a lot of us are hypercritical about our appearance. I used to think that this only applied to women until I recently discovered through one of my podcast guests that men struggle with their self Image and body Image as well. Who knew?

I am certainly not an expert on the subject, and can only speak from my own personal experience. I used to be the master of self denigration and self belittlement. You name it, I criticized it. You name it, I judged it. It was tedious, and there were days I couldn’t even stand to look at myself in the mirror. Until I met a woman who completely turned my life around.

I was in the last few months of my four-year long Feldenkrais training. The class was engaged in a lovely Awareness Through Movement lesson which started with all of us lying on the floor and slowly spiraling to a standing position. As we moved, I could feel myself effortlessly Moving through space from the floor, twirling to standing, reversing the process and gently lowering myself back to the floor.

As I moved in the ballroom with its hardwood dance floor, my eyes scanned the room. Over and over again. Until I spotted a woman at the far end of the room. There was something so compelling and appealing about her that I was mesmerized. I admired the graceful way she moved, the look of pleasure on her face, and the feminine curves of her body. I knew I had to meet her.

Once the lesson was over, I walked across the room to introduce myself to her. But, the room was so crowded I couldn’t find her, and even though I kept looking, she was nowhere to be found. Tears filled my eyes and I felt like I lost my best friend before I even got to know her. Terribly disappointed, I turned around, and there she was, standing right in front of me!

We smiled at each other and I stepped toward her at the exact moment she stepped toward me. We both laughed as we reached for each other. And then I froze in shock. That woman was me. Thanks to the mirrors which were hanging along the wall, along with the freedom of Moving my body without judgement or a critical eye, I had the rare and revealing opportunity to see myself as I really was. It was a life altering experience, and that was the exact moment that my negative self talk stopped. And it was about time.

Maybe we should all take the time to take a really good look at the lady or gentleman in the mirror, without judgement or criticism. We might be surprised at what we see.

Originally Published on

Cheryl Ilov is an author, speaker, dancer, martial artist, and physical therapist. She is also a former chronic pain patient who began a journey of self-discovery and self-healing after her medical team informed her that she would never recover. They were wrong.

Cheryl fired her medical team and found her own path to health and healing, as well as a journey of life-long learning. Her areas of expertise include the art of healing through movement, personal empowerment, and fitness over fifty. She is also the host of The FemiNinja Project podcast, which focuses on overcoming obstacles, personal empowerment, restoring human dignity, and alternative health and healing.

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