That seems like an obvious statement, but it’s not. How often do excuses or guilt come up when your body presents you with a need? How often do you brush it aside – if you even acknowledge it in the first place?
Awareness is the first step. Most of us are unaware of how to begin connecting to our body’s needs, especially if we’ve lived in a space of disconnection for a long time. I was in this space too. I thought I knew how to treat my body, what was “good” and “bad”, but I had no fucking clue. It’s incredible to me to look back and see how poorly I behaved towards it. At the same time, I recognize this was not my fault. When you are raised to shame your own body, to mistrust what it tells you, then a separation grows. It’s weird to think that you can be separated from the workings of your own physical form, but it’s quite common.
For years, I refused to listen to my body. I emotionally binge-ate and then hated myself for it afterwards. I worked out excessively, counted calories, refused myself entire food groups. If I felt tired, crampy, achy, emotionally exhausted – didn’t matter. I was at the gym regardless. Meanwhile I worked a stressful job with terrible hours, drank almost zero water, chugged diet soda, and scarfed enormous amounts of unhealthy food at all times of the night after not eating for eight or nine hours straight. It was a horrible way to treat the vessel that carries me around on this earth. And I didn’t know any other path.
So, long story short, I’m really tired and achy lately. I don’t know why. Today, yet again, I woke up exhausted and ended up sleeping an hour later than I intended … and I was still tired. I thought to myself, what if I let myself sleep as long as I wanted? What if I let that be okay?
Of course, a lot of guilt came up. I have so many things I wanted to get done today, I thought. I have a to-do list. I don’t like wasting time with such activities as excess sleep. I get plenty of rest, I shouldn’t feel this way. I even tried negotiating with myself by pointing out that I never get sick, so I am allowed a day of sleep once in a while. After all, look at all the time I save with my continuous health!
That may be theoretically true, but I don’t need a bargaining chip to allow my body the rest it wants. None of that matters. I had no pressing commitments. Everything on my to-do list, quite honestly, was not that important. I could’ve skipped all of it, and no one would know but me. I had all the time, space and freedom to take this rest that my body desired… and yet I still felt incredibly guilty giving it to her.
I feel lucky that I’m a mental space now where I can recognize all this bullshit coming up, tell it to stick it where the sun don’t shine, and be compassionate and kind to my body. My body, that keeps operating smoothly, that runs so well even after the years of mistreatment. My body, that loves me and takes care of me even when I view it with disgust and judgment. What has it ever done but everything that I ask? And yet, I learned to hate it. Unlearning that hate has been a difficult process and one that is far from finished.
Life is way too short not to give your body what it needs. We are not here to hate ourselves! That is not our purpose on this earth, and quite frankly, it’s a ridiculous distraction that limits us from accomplishing what we came here to do. And no, what we came here to do was not lose weight. I’m sure of it.
So the next time your body grumbles, or aches, check in and pay attention. Give it the nurturing it wants. If it feels restless and antsy, move it. If it feels tired and lethargic, let it rest. All day every day, your body sends you signals about how it can most optimally pass through this life. Are you listening?
Do the work to understand and tune in to your body. It’ll reward you if you only let it. Sending you love and good health.