A few days ago I was working with a new client. She was working through chronic pain and injuries so I was particularly cautious during her initial session.
I told her to listen to her body and to stop if something didn’t feel right.
Her response was priceless:
“Honey, I haven’t been able to listen to my body for 20 years. I don’t even know if there’s even a line of communication open anymore…”
Sometimes I forget how lucky I am.
I’m someone who can tune into my body, listen to how it feels, and most of the time, give it what it needs. I’m extremely fortunate to have this ability and it’s something I take for grated all the time.
Just Listen to Your Body
“What if I can’t? What do you mean?”
There are many reasons why listening to your body can feel next to impossible. But for many of us, it’s because living in our body has become too painful. And this pain can either be physically or psychologically.
When we are going through physical pain, listening to our body can actually make us feel even worse. The consistent physical pain of recovering from a surgery, injury, disease or chronic illness is not something we particularly want to pay attention to. If we did, how the heck would we be able to move about our daily life or get from one day to the next? Cutting off the line of communication between you and your body at times of intense physical pain is a way we preserve our sanity and move forward. It’s the basic human instinct to survive.
Other times we can sever the lines of communication not because of physical pain, but because of mental or emotional pain. Living in a body that you believe has betrayed you can be extremely painful. Things like bullying, teasing, harassment, molestation or even rape make living in your body incredibly difficult and indeed painful.
When all is said and done, our body and mind will find a way to survive and cutting off the lines of communication between the two is sometimes the only way we can move forward.
Yesterday’s Medicine Becomes Today’s Poison
At many points in our life, what has served us in the past becomes something that ends up holding us back. If we’re not careful we end up stuck in an endless cycle of self-sabotage. And in terms of listening to your body, this usually ends up presenting itself as the following behaviors;
on-again off-again exercise or yo-yo dieting, reoccurring physical injuries from over exercise, poor body image and low self-esteem.
Learning To Listen To Your Body
Our fast paced life is not a conducive learning environment for listening to our body. When our lives are filled up with the noise of the to-do lists, the endless pick-ups and drop-offs, the sending of emails and the postings to social media, it’s nearly impossible to tune into what our body needs from us.
I’m not suggesting that we all meditate every day (although that’s not a bad idea) but finding a way to tune into the real you, the true self that is separate from the job, separate from the family role, separate from the possessions and separate from the accomplishments is incredibly important if we ever want to learn how to listen to our body and eventually accept our body.
Meditation and yoga have gotten A LOT of attention lately and with the fast-paced world we are now all too familiar with, is it really any coincidence?
Take time at least once a week to power down, tune out the noise and tune into you and your body. Once you begin consistently devoting this small amount of time to listening to your body eventually it will seep into all areas of your life.
“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear” -Rumi