In my massage and health coaching practice, a common theme that rears its ugly head is the distorted image we have of our bodies. On a daily basis, almost out of habit, we speak to ourselves in ways that we would never speak to another. Imagine talking to a child the way you talk to yourself about your body. It would devastate and crush the little one! It affects us the same. Negative thoughts and emotions affect us on the cellular level. This causes stress and emotional pain in our bodies which can make improving our health even more difficult.
Our bodies are amazing! The body you have right now is absolutely incredible! Think about it… your body never misses a heartbeat. Lungs keep breathing. It maintains 98.6 degree regardless of whether it’s 10 below or 110 degrees outside. Your body miraculously digests whatever you put into it, and the eyes immediately dilate every time you enter a dark room so that you can see. On the emotional and mental plane, your body is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence, and love, which are basic human needs of the soul.
By focusing on the 1% that you don’t like or wish that were different, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% that is beautiful, unique, and wondrous. Unfortunately, I notice so often that the 1% that isn’t working, is focused on 99% of the time.
So, what would shift in your life if you were simply at peace with the body that you have now? What would unfold for you if you took the energy spent berating your love handles and used that energy to celebrate the magic of your internal rhythms. Take a moment to imagine what it would feel like to celebrate your body rather than punish it, to nourish your body rather than deprive it.
A great quote from Alan Cohen says, “Loving yourself with your flaws and problems doesn’t mean you are required to keep them.” You may want to be stronger, feel lighter, be healthier, and be more flexible. Wonderful! Me, too! There’s a way to appreciate what already IS while also working towards what you would like to be experiencing. Being at odds with ourselves keeps the weight on, keeps the bad attitude, and keeps us where we currently are. So just notice, out of curiosity, say over the next week, how you relate to your self, in thoughts and in speech. Take note.
The holidays are coming; try being present with the beautiful gift that your body is and all that it does to keep you here. Giving thanks for what is and then from that place adding in little ways to help you experience what you’d like to see more of in your life, is the perfect recipe for achieving your health goals, at the root being more self-love and self-respect. These are gifts that begin from within for ourselves but end up rippling out to everyone we meet and greet. Being present and grateful with yourself is a gift for the world.
Sarah Cook is a massage therapist and health coach here in Moab. You can reach her at email@example.com