Monday, March 21, 2011

The Choice For Love

Why is it often so terrifying to choose a better relationship with our bodies over one based on fear, criticism and judgment? So often, the idea of bringing connection, compassion and dialogue to the relationship we have with our bodies creates resistance and reaction. Some common questions:

1)But if I love my body now, how will it ever change?
2) I have to hate myself to feel motivated to do something different.
3) I have to do penance until I accomplish whatever external goal I have for myself.

Sound familiar?

And yet when we look at the body as something we're in relationship with, some interesting truths unfold. We all know what it's like to relate to other people, and we all know that negativity, constant nagging or criticism and a sense of never being able to please the other person make us, invariably, feel hopeless, shut down and--yes--less motivated to change. Usually there's a feeling of paralysis and despondency instead of inspiration. We feel that we'll never be enough. Why even bother?

It's interesting to consider if your body doesn't have the same response to a constant cycle of 'not-enoughness,' blame and disgust from you. If you checked in right now, you might be able to feel the difference in its physical response to words of kindness of encouragement versus words of disparagement and criticism.

As we learn more and more about how our words and thoughts create our world, it behooves us to apply the same insights to our thinking and speaking to our bodies. Does our negativity really accomplish--for us or our bodies--what we think it does? Why not dare to choose love instead?

Relationship experts tell us that change doesn't happen with nagging and criticism but more often through empathy, partnership and appreciation. When those qualities are present in a relationship, positive change is the end product of healthy collaboration, with each side having the other's best interests at heart.

What if it's possible that the old way of creating change hasn't actually been working for you at all? Would you be willing to give it up?

In the weeks and months ahead, consider what it might be like to practice being the best possible partner to your body right now. Think about these questions:

1)Even if you don't think you're satisfied, what CAN you appreciate about your body and all it does for you already?

2)If you stop blaming everything on your body, what can you begin to take responsibility for as an equal partner in the relationship?

3)How can you begin to think about the changes you want to create as a goal you share with your body, rather than one it's defying you by not accomplishing? And how does the process of working on the goal together teach you both and encourage you to grow?

Much like with our relationships, challenges can be met with stuckness and blame or with a cooperative team spirit, using them to teach both of us. Ask yourself if your first instinct is to be against your body rather than with it and whether or not this is the best stance for creating positive change. Our bodies are alive and waiting to work with us, rather than against us. They are containers for our thinking, waiting for us to choose love.

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