A video starts and you see yourself. What if your first, unedited thought was “handsome and muscular”? Bear with me. The assessment isn’t fueled with bloated pride, nor was it a notion born of hope. What was seen was not a Hollywood hunk or Mr. Olympia. It was simply an appreciative recognition. And I can tell you, it is peaceful.

Recently I saw myself without the familiar, hateful glaze. That filter had coated my self perception almost forever. This micro reaction caught me off guard. As I relished it, I knew it was rooted in a new found fondness. The thoughts were pure, their innocents kept them miles away from egotism. I suppose it is how parents see their children, through a radiance harmonious with their love.

It is not so strange that good nutrition and training brought me here. By attending to my body I was able to develop a nurturing relationship with myself. I was beyond something to despise and neglect, beat or cajole. The habits opened a yearning for wholesome. As I advanced with my bodybuilding, my inner work also moved more rapidly. This growth became a self feeding machine. The more I did, the further I went. And it brought me to a vision tainted with a kind regard.

I have spent a lifetime shunning my image. The sight of myself was at best perplexing, at its worst revolting. I still have a pointy nose, bulging eyes and protruding ribs. Recognizing these flaws no longer summon my demons. In this new freedom, they warmly remind me what I am looking at, my home.

#bodybuilding #growth #handsome #muscular #selfpeace #malesurvivor
Thanks so much for posting. I still regard all aspects of my physical, emotional and sexual self with revulsion. As someone who only recently began lifting weights it gives me hope that working out can be part of my healing journey as u talk about.
@Greg123 it’s not even the results that are important, it’s the process that builds a greater appreciation and bond with our bodies.

it is a bit strange that I posted this today, but I have been working on it for a week or so, afraid to say it out loud. I say strange because my current state is very sad. In therapy I started dealing with my relationship to my genitalia. I have been disengaged with it since my mentor killed it. Yesterday I was extremely sad and realized I was in mourning. I hope to repair my relationship with my entire body, it included.
I hear you. I am aware that a few parts of the process which have been helpful:

1) my trainer is young, good looking and ripped. I was quite intimidated approaching him at the gym and asking him to train me. It took some courage for me to do that. (It is funny remembering that I was intimidated. He is about the nicest least threatening guy I know)

2) after feeling alone my whole life I feel like I have a team of people who care and are looking out for me. My trainer is one of them.

3) my counselor once said “slow and subtle does not mean insignificant”. That is true of lifting weights. Slowly my weights and reps are increasing. This has made me more patient for the slow subtle progress I am making with my counselor.

4) working out is helping me learn who I am. I have mostly been who others wanted me to be. I realize that I quite enjoy being athletic and am
having fun developing that part of myself


You know, I have always been stocky and big and husky. I would have killed to look like what you described as your “shame.” Isn’t that funny? I always felt like I wasn’t enough because I wasn’t skinny and my ribs didn’t show and I didn’t have elven features. I have always been ashamed that I carry extra weight in my chest, and legs, that my face is too ovoid. Thanks for this post, Bri, it makes me consider how I can be better at ease in my home and invest in myself.
@Greg123 The most important thing I ever realized in the weight room is everyone has the same goals: we all want a good workout, we all want to lift heavier, we all want o be stronger. OMG, did I just include myself in with a bunch of muscle heads? Yes! Once I saw that, I felt like I belonged.

When I turned 60 I did my first bodybuilding competition. I had Team Brian behind me, my coach, husband, friends and therapist (who invited me to check in with him through out the day!)

I bought a weight vest. It’s sturdy, made to hold 180 lbs. This week I wore it to do dips. I screwed my thin 5 pound plate on it and imagined that every brick path starts with one. That little plate was my foundation.

I am so happy you are discovering so much about yourself.

@Jim1104 Thank you

@Mick74 Abuse has a knack for latching on to aspects of ourselves and drench them with contempt. Beyond reason, they almost shorthand for our self hatred and shame. For me, my fitness was pretend for so long. I was faking it until I made it. But the investment paid off. Slowly it got chipped away.