For years, I struggled with my body. I was lucky enough to have a body whose shape & size I was ok with, but I did have a body that didn’t ‘work’ the way I wanted it to. I did all the ‘right’ things to take care of my body: weekly acupuncture, bodywork, energy work, homeopathy, an impeccable diet. I was vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten free, raw — you name it.
I had severe seasonal allergies. Problems with my digestion. Insomnia. Skin issues. Food allergies. I read up on everything, I talked to all the experts, I followed all the regimens. There was nothing I ultimately did that was the magic solution to making my body a happier place to live.
Eventually, I started having a totally different conversation about life, bodies, and my body. I realized that everything I was doing with my body was coming from judgment. My diet was not right, my allergies were wrong, this food was bad — that food was good… When I looked at the amount of judgments I had about my body, what needed to change, and how I was going to change it — I realized that, with judgment at the helm, there was no way I was going to be able to have a relationship with my body that actually worked!
Enter, a totally different conversation. I started deconstructing my judgments and my conclusions about what was wrong with my body and me, my food and my lifestyle, and I took a wholeheartedly different approach that ultimately had nothing to do with what I, or the experts, thought was the cause of, or the thing that would change, my problems.
I actually stopped seeing anything as a problem. And then — everything changed.
Here are 5 key tools that I used to totally eliminate a host of health problems, and, the worst ‘problem’ of all: judgment of my body!
How do you talk to your body? And do you listen to it in return? Do you treat your body like you would treat a beloved partner, child, or friend? Or as if it is something that is inherently flawed, wrong, and incorrect?
If you desire a different possibility with your body, perhaps it is time to have a different conversation with it? Perhaps it is time to address your body with honoring, kindness, caring, and in a nurturing way? Our bodies are sensate organisms, and they are always giving us feedback through sensation. Pain, disease, and discomfort are our bodies’ way of asking for something different. Pleasure is a sign to keep going. What if, contrary to popular belief, pleasure will actually create so much more for you, your body, and your life? Is it time to listen?
2. Get out of judgment with your body
Judgment is one of the most destructive elements for our bodies and our lives. Judgment goes far beyond simply having a negative point of view of somebody or something. Judgment can also be the constant assessment of what is wrong, why it is wrong, how to change it, and what is going to work, that keeps us from seeing and knowing what actually is true for our bodies.
What if you could stop functioning from what diet, what exercise regimen, and what health care routine are going to give you the body you desire, and start being curious about your unique body and what makes it happy? The same diets don’t work for every body. The same exercise routine doesn’t either. What if your body is totally unique, and getting out of judgment of it will allow you to have a completely different relationship with it?
3. Move your body
Our bodies have hundreds of joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Our bodies are designed to move. Do you move your body? What if movement didn’t have to be the prescribed 30 minutes of boring exercise every day, but rather movement could be going to the park and swinging on a swing, or skipping, or dancing, or having sex, or getting on the floor and moving your body in a pleasurable way?
It is often our judgments of ‘how’ we are supposed to exercise that stop us from actually doing it. Bodies love to move. Your body will feel good when you are moving your body in a way that works for it. Take time to discover what movements are actually pleasurable for your body, and allow yourself to play!
4. Trust your body
One of the greatest disservices we can do to our bodies is to expect them to be different than they are. What if your body could be great exactly the way that it is? Now that might bring up a reaction for you, but what if you could try that on for even 30 minutes? For 30 minutes, allow your body to be exactly what it is right now. You can go back to desiring it to be different later if you’d like to.
When we trust that our bodies are what they are — as they are right now — we open up a huge space for more ease, greater connection, and more joy with our bodies. And the irony is, often times when we stop judging our bodies and expecting them to be different, they actually can then change!
5. Have gratitude for your body
What does your body do for you every day? Does it get you where you need to go, and take care of itself without you having to think much about it? How often do you pause to have gratitude for your body? Get a sense of all of the things going on in your body right now — synapses firing, respiration, circulation, chemicals being produced and secreted right on cue — what miracle is your body, right now, that you have not yet acknowledged? What would it be like to acknowledge that, and have gratitude for that, every day? Do you enjoy receiving gratitude from others? Perhaps your body would enjoy receiving it from you, too!
I am so grateful that I found these tools and this way of being with my body! Today I have thriving health and so much joy with my body — and it turns out, the change I was asking for had nothing at all to do with my diet, my regimen, or getting anything right, at all! When I stopped judging, and started listening to & honoring my body — my whole life changed.
Try these tools on for a day or a week and see what shifts! You may find that your body isn’t so bad, after all!!
Originally published at medium.com