Honor Your Body
Honor Your Body, we have reached the beginning of a new year – a time of reflection and rebirth. This is the time that we set our intentions for the rest of the year through the making of resolutions. Unfortunately, these resolutions can sometimes be unkind toward ourselves, focusing on perceived flaws. Or they can be unrealistic – setting ourselves up for disappointment, which is also unkind. I’d like to take the month of January to discuss realistic resolutions, that come from a place of respect and compassion for ourselves and for our bodies.
Self love is important to me, and I know that it is important to Neelam, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to Aradia as an instructor. I’m very happy that this blog series can find a home here, where people are passionate about breaking cycles and healing.
For our next resolution topic, I’m going to discuss how to HONOR YOUR BODY.
At some point in the future, we may be able to upload our consciousness to the cloud, and never have to worry about bodies again. But until then, we are stuck with them, so we might as well make the best out of the situation.
Our body is our vehicle, it takes us from place to place and allows us to perform tasks. It also keeps us alive, and provides pleasure through senses.* We only get one, so let’s respect it and take care of it.
- Your body is not a problem to be fixed. Thinking of it as such does a massive disservice to this wonderful creation and puts you in a negative and oppositional mindset. Your body is your partner, not the enemy. That is not to say that you shouldn’t ever work towards change – change is natural! Work towards whatever makes you happy and healthy – but work with your body, not against it. And don’t think of the end state, whatever that goal may be, as the only acceptable or worthy state. Appreciate every stage of the journey, and know that bodies are constantly in a state of change. Hour to hour, day to day, and year to year.
- Treat your body with compassion and respect, the same way you would want yourself to be treated. It’s part of you isn’t it? We can consciously develop healthy attitudes towards our body by actively thinking of the things we appreciate about our bodies – what they can do physically, the sensations they give you, the way they look. Take some time to think about those things, and mentally thank your body. Even better – treat your body while you do it. Take a nice bath, massage a sore muscle, rub in some nice lotion (we polers know how to appreciate lotion day) – whatever it means to you to treat your body to something nice. Once you are in the habit of thinking positively about your body – take it to the next level and look at it in the mirror while you do it. Appearance is often where we get the most hung up, so being able to appreciate your body while looking at it is a really big step. And being able to appreciate the way your body looks? I wish that for you, more than anything.
- Take care of your body – keep it healthy and meet its needs. Part of loving something is taking care of it. Giving it fuel that makes it feel good and run well (see previous blog on intuitive eating), giving it rest that it needs to recover, keeping all the parts moving well and feeling good, keeping it clean and sanitary. I’ve come to think of these things as less of a chore and more of an act of care for something I love. And when you take the “have to” out and put the “want to” in, it becomes more enjoyable, requires less mental effort, and frees you from some stress. Which leads into my last bit of advice:
- Find a way to move your body that brings you joy. Exercise should not be a punishment. That mentality will set you up for painful behavior cycles and disappointment. I don’t even call it exercise anymore, because of all the negative associations I’ve grown up with. I just call it moving my body or physical activity. It should be fun, something you want to do, a treat for yourself and your body. It should make you feel healthy, strong, and empowered. Try out everything, even if it’s new or scary, until you find the activity that does it for you. We have plenty of options right here at Aradia for you to try.
Progress, not perfection – and self compassion, always.
*I understand that disabilities and chronic illnesses affect these statements and create a more-complex-than-average relationship with bodies. I’d love to hear from people who struggle with these issues on how they handle honoring their bodies.
Aradia Instructor Lady Curvicorn has spent years researching self compassion and intuitive eating, and has used that experience to create a list of compassionate New Year’s Resolutions. We will be sharing her blog series with you throughout the month.