Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Is It Love or Is it Obsession?

There's something else that can get in the way of a good relationship with our bodies and it might surprise you. It seems like a good thing, but it's actually not. It seems like you're being loving and attentive, but it's actually too much. What do I mean? I mean it's possible to be too obsessed with your body relationship.

A healthy relationship requires balance, give-and-take, a sense that both voices are heard. Often when we start to reconnect with our bodies, start to realize that we can work with them instead of against them, we'll over-compensate. Clients will sometimes go on fasts or diets, change their exercise to be more attentive and conscious of their bodies, take more naps and slow down the pace of their lives. Those changes are beautiful and important, but they can also become extreme.

In a healthy relationship, you can also tolerate times when it's not possible to be the perfect partner. In a busy life, one of the hardest things to do is, in fact, to find the right balance between the demands of life and the demands of a conscious relationship. We often need to pay attention to whether we might be sliding too far toward the relationship and away from the rest of our lives.

Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? I mean, isn't it a good thing to be paying attention to our bodies, indulging newly perceived needs for sleep, exercise and good, healthy food? Yes. But watch for warning signs of whether or not the relationship to your body is becoming obsessive and not just loving. Does it, for example:

1)Create isolation rather than connection with others?
2)Become another thing you need to do perfectly rather than the best you can?
3)Affect your functioning by taking too much time away from things you need to do to survive, like work?
4)Interfere with balance in your life by taking most of your attention and energy?

Initially, reconnecting with our bodies may require a period of truly slowing down, listening, and retraining ourselves to do the right things for our bodies. But keep in mind that the best relationships--after the initial honeymoon period--should ultimately enhance our lives rather than interfering with them.

As you begin to gain better trust in your body relationship, it should allow you to be more involved in your life, lighter and more free and not constantly burdened and distracted by its needs. As your relationship with your body becomes more comfortable and dependable, you can and should sometimes make mistakes and have to reconnect; you still have learning and growing to do. As with any relationship, the most important quality for success is openness and honesty, not being perfect.

Watch for how this dynamic of perfection and obsession may come up in other relationships and see if you would be willing to let it go in the relationship you have with your body. How does it feel to let yourself be good enough instead of absolutely perfect? In conscious dialogue with your body, make sure that your needs get heard and expressed too. Allow the healthy relationship you have with your body to expand into a better sense of balance and trust in all aspects of your life.

Ironically, as with other relationships, our bodies prefer a healthy, balanced relationship with us. It's too much pressure to always be the center of attention! If you feel like your body has been asking this of you, be willing to say 'no' and ask for what you need in return. Make room for a life beyond your body relationship, even as you grow and strengthen it. Both you and your body will be happier for that choice.