Updated: Jan 16, 2019
Are you at war with your body and would you know if you were?
When we judge ourselves, listening to others outside, and simply mimicking other bodies around us for guidance on how to be in this world, we are at war with our body.
Many people are at war with and in the judgment of their appearance. How many of us were fortunate enough to grow up with a parent who had a good relationship with their body? Society and media create many other projections that have us looking at our body and others with comparison instead of simple difference. We are told what is attractive, healthy, perfect and so on, and if we do not fit into that mold, we are wrong. This is the foundation of our war with our body.
What if we cared for and appreciated all ourselves regardless of shape and size? What if there were no “perfect body shape”?
If we step out of the lie of the one perfect way to look, we begin the process of accepting the body we are born with, the way it is. What would be possible then?
What if our individually designed body is not the enemy that we have thought it to be, what if it is actually one of the greatest allies we could ever have?
Accepting ourselves and the way we look can be our greatest ally and often we view it as our greatest enemy depending on what we grow up hearing and learn to believe. If you grew up with a grandparent or relative who was vital and alive well through their 60’s and 70’s you may have a thriving outlook on what it means to age. However, many have not had that influence. Many see and believe that aging means your body will degenerate and become feeble. What if there was a choice that honors our aging through listening to some simple requests, that ignoring may produce degeneration over time. Listening to our body is as simple as using the restroom when we feel the desire and not putting it off. What toll does putting it off put on our organs in the later years? We are often given messages to ignore the signals; to fit into society, function at work, sit in a classroom and never disturb anyone or anything. What if we listened to what signals our body gives us?
The first step in ending the war with our body is to allow it to be what it is in the moment. Are we in pain? Are we getting enough nutrition, care, movement and simply, paying attention to our own needs? We often spend a great amount of time in what is wrong with us and less on what is actually working well with our body. Consider those who have less functioning bodies and how they may desire to spend an hour out of pain, while others spend an hour in front of the mirror judging the way they look while having no pain at all. What if we could spend an hour a day in honor of having a body and what that can do for us.
In our busy lives, we often eat on the go, fast meals just to simply get something in and keep moving. Energy drinks, coffee and anything to keep us on the move. In this fast-forward world with meals on the go, we may tend to overeat. Meal portions at restaurants are often large in value and when we are spending on a meal, we often believe we have to finish in order to not waste it. What would it be like if rather than automatically reaching for the nearest thing on hand for breakfast in the morning, you stopped and gave a little more care to what you were putting in your mouth and how much? You might be surprised, and it could even seem counter-intuitive to what you have been taught about eating. You may find it is more delicious and you actually feel vital and alive when you take a moment to pause with eating.
Do you move daily? There are a lot of programs and forms of movement out there and so many we force on ourselves or avoid altogether instead of seeking out what is really enjoyable. Does it have to happen in a routine, on a program, or a certain way? What if you paid attention when you were enjoying some kind of movement, say, a walk in the park and did more of that? What if you tried something new just to see without a regimented force? Perhaps the form of exercise you have been forcing is not what actually inspires you to do more. Rather than that 5-mile jog that you’ve been enduring or avoiding altogether, you find something that is enjoyable and gets you moving for fun. What if that dance class or that yoga class that you passed over was actually what would be more fun and create greater fitness and health? We are all different and what works for one, is not necessarily what will work for another.
When we listen to the messages from our body, we embrace ourselves. We notice when we are uncomfortable and adjust, we feel pain before it takes over and gets to the root, we eat to satisfy instead of indulging, and we honor ourselves with a movement that is enjoyable and something we can easily add to a busy schedule. And most importantly, when we are embracing ourselves, we are out of the judgments that hit us daily and live within us, and that is where we begin to end the war with our body.
Dr Lisa Cooney is a bestselling author and leading authority on thriving after abuse. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, certified Access Consciousness and Being You Facilitator, and Master Theta Healer, she has supported thousands of people over the past 20 years in living beyond their childhood sexual abuse to create infinite possibilities for themselves. She is a bestselling author, delivers a radio show on Voice America and is an internationally sought out facilitator, speaker, and group leader, who shares her expertise on topics including, building wealth, moving on from abuse and embracing and loving your body. Follow @DrLisaCooney.