Does Your Body Feel Like Your Enemy? Mine Used To
What’s your relationship with your body like?
Big topic, I know!
If you’re like most people, your relationship with your body isn’t so great. You may have parts of your body that you’re ashamed of. Parts that make you cringe when you get a glimpse of them in the mirror. Parts that you hate so much that you actively avoid being near mirrors. Your body might feel stubborn, stuck, heavy, stagnant, detached, or alien. Sometimes it can even feel like your body is your enemy, or is actively working against you.
Let me share a personal story that I don’t talk about very often.
In 2013, I was involved in a serious car accident. The guy behind me was trying to catch a yellow light, and sped through an intersection at an unsafe speed. He ended up slamming into the back of my car, hitting me with enough force to push me uphill several feet, subsequently slamming my car into the car in front of me.
I was fortunate enough not to have any life-threatening injuries, but my body definitely went through a major trauma.
After the accident, I knew I wanted to take the best care of my body as I possibly could. I got MRIs, booked appointments with specialists, dedicated myself to physical therapy exercises, and took weeks off of work. I was even relatively cheerful about it, giving myself time and patience to heal.
Except I didn’t heal.
I developed chronic pain that didn’t seem to respond to treatment of any kind. I would get occasional temporary relief, but the pain always came back.
Over the next few years, I tried every single healing modality you can think of: physical therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, psychotherapy, massage, active release technique, hypnosis, Reiki, numbing creams, medical marijuana. I even went to a past life regression psychic to see if there was any old energy clogging me up. That’s how desperate I was!
And nothing worked.
There was one particularly bad night where I was in too much pain to sleep. I flopped around in bed for hours, trying and failing to get comfortable.
My anxiety kept building and building, until I finally jumped out of bed, collapsed onto the ground in the fetal position, and burst into tears.
I can still so vividly remember that moment. I wanted to peel my skin off and jump out of my own bones. I hated my body. I wanted nothing to do with it.
It still brings tears to my eyes remembering that moment, even all of these years later.
My incredible husband got up and laid down in the fetal position right next to me. He stroked my back and said simply, “I’m here with you. We’re just going to keep taking care of you, and giving you everything you need.”
I realized in that moment that my husband wasn’t just talking to me; he was talking to my body too. He wanted me to heal just as desperately as I did, but by uttering those few short sentences, he was showing my body the unconditional love and patience that I wasn’t capable of giving myself.
There was something about talking to my body that really struck a chord for me. It felt so powerful, so healing in that moment. I started wondering what it might be like to talk to my body.
So I started doing just that. Talking to my own body.
For the last few years, as I move throughout my day, I imagine myself having a conversation with my body. I check in with my body and ask it how it’s doing. I ask my body what it needs from me. I give my body compliments. I tell my body I’m sorry when it’s feeling pain. I tell my body when I’m trying to take good care of it.
I know talking to your body may sound silly, but I want you to give it a try!
Here are some examples of things you can say:
“Hey there, how are you today?”
“I like feeling you move as I walk.”
“Your butt is so cute!”
“I’m feeding you this healthy meal because I want you to feel good.”
“I’m sorry your shoulders are so tight right now.”
“What could I do to take care of you today?”
“I like going to the gym because I’m so proud of what you’re capable of.”
“You’ve gotten me through some pretty tough times.”
“Thanks for everything you did for me today.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been kinder to you in the past.”
“I want us to have a better relationship.”
I’ve had my ups and downs pain-wise over the last few years, but I can’t understate just how powerful this simple exercise has been for me. I feel more connected to my body than I ever have before. I feel more joy in my own skin. Even when I’m in pain, I feel like my body and I on the same team, instead of working against each other.
Do you have the courage to give this a try?