We live in a body-obsessed culture, in a society where almost everyone is so freaked out about their body and so identified with it. God forbid if something should go “wrong”, God forbid if you should get sick, God forbid if something happens… That’s the mantra inside most of our heads.
The reality for most of us is that sometimes the body does hurt. Sometimes we do have aches and pains. And sometimes bodies get ill, hurt or injured. It goes with the turf of having a body. But usually, in most cases, it’s not half as bad as we think it is.
But unfortunately, when we think it’s “bad” or think there must be something seriously “wrong” with us when we experience these aches and pains – we become afraid and tense up. And when we are afraid and tense up, we make it more difficult for our bodies to do their natural work, which is to recreate equilibrium and heal themselves. And this is unfortunate because improvement is natural for our bodies. This is what bodies are designed to do – to heal and get better. That’s simply the way bodies are built.
Getting Ourselves Out Of The Way
We can make it a lot easier for our bodies to do their wonderful job if we could just get ourselves out of the way. And by getting ourselves out of the way I mean by not thinking “catastrophic” thoughts about every ache and pain we experience. When we think catastrophic thoughts, we trigger the “fight or flight” mechanism in our bodies which then secrete adrenaline and other hormones which are counterproductive to the deep relaxation and trust (love = endorphins) that studies demonstrate promote healing.
So instead of hindering our bodies’ natural ability to heal in every circumstance, we can support our bodies by saying things like:
It’s probably not as bad as I think.
This too will pass.
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My body is an amazing self-healing organism – it knows exactly what to do.
My body is always recreating equilibrium – that’s its job and natural urge/impulse/inclination.
Sometimes I feel good and sometimes I feel less good. It’s always changing but when I stop up and notice what’s going on, I find that I’m still here.
Even if this is uncomfortable, I am just going to allow and accept and let my body do its wonderful healing work.
I’m sure I’ll get better. I usually do.
I trust in the wisdom of my body.
Appreciating Your Body
In this connection, it’s also a wonderful practice to appreciate your body and remind yourself of all the wonderful things your body does for you. You can say I’m so grateful because:
I can walk.
I can talk.
I can see.
I can breathe.
I can ride my bike.
I can use my computer.
I can go to work.
I can run, dance, sing, hop and play.
I can walk through the woods.
I can go to the movies.
I can watch TV.
I can eat and drink.
I can make love.
I can sleep.
The list is amazingly long once you get started and the body always feels better when you actually take the time to notice how wonderful it is and what an amazing gift you’ve been given.
Bodies Come and Go
On a more general note, when we look at little more closely at the matter … we discover that most of our ideas about the body are pretty unrealistic. And this is actually pretty surprising when you think about it, because the reality of what bodies are and what they do is to be found everywhere we look. And that reality is this: No matter how fit we are and no matter how well we eat and no matter how much we exercise, bodies don’t last forever. At some point, all bodies – and by that I mean every single body – stops functioning and dies. That’s the nature of the body and that’s our reality.
Yep, there’s no getting around the reality that bodies come and go.
There’s no getting around the reality that bodies are born and that most are pretty fit for a while and then they get older and sooner or later they stop functioning and dissolve. That’s what happens. So it’s interesting that most of us are in denial about most of this most of the time. In a way, you’d think it would be the most common knowledge of all since it’s going on everywhere we look. But since in our society we don’t talk much about the true nature of the body or admit that this is our reality, it comes as such a shock to most of us when something goes so-called “wrong” with our bodies.
So what would some sane self talk about the nature of our bodies sound like?
Sane Talk About The Body
Well a good place to start is probably to realize the true nature of our bodies – to realize and think about the reality that bodies come and go. And to understand that since this is the true nature of physical bodies, there’s nothing we can do to change it. That’s “getting real” about bodies.
When you see this and understand this, you also realize it’s probably not such a good idea to identify with your body too much. In other words, it’s not a sane way to live to be too attached to your body. And this can be a very hard thing to do in our society today because almost everyone places so much emphasis on the body.
But please don’t misunderstand me – I am not saying we shouldn’t eat a healthy diet and exercise and do everything we can to take good care of our bodies and live sane, healthy lives. Of course we should! What I am saying is that if you are completely identified with your body, if you think you are your body – it’s a pretty painful experience when something goes “wrong” with your body or you discover you’re getting old and are not going to be around in this body that much longer.
What Is Our True Nature?
This of course brings up the deeper issues of who we really are and what our true nature is. There is no way to confront the issue of bodies coming and going without asking yourself this question. And of course if you believe that you are your body and nothing else, it may be pretty scary to contemplate because then you’re left with the idea (or story) that you’re going to disappear when your body disappears. But again, I would suggest questioning this.
Are you just a body or are you more than that? Who or what are you really? What is your true nature? What about the mind and consciousness – the so-called non-physical, non-material aspects of your being? What about them? So yes, ask yourself – what is your true nature? At some point, life brings us all to the place where we are confronted with this issue and these questions …
I have discovered it can help to say: I have a body but I am not the body. This is a more relaxed and mature attitude towards the body. Yes we all have bodies, but they are not who we are.
Who we are is so much more than just our bodies. So in other words when you identify with the non-physical part of you (the greater part of you) which is consciousness … it is easier to find a more balanced approach to having a body and to all the things bodies do.
And again, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live in a healthy manner, eat well and exercise. Of course you should – that is the sane way to live … but being more relaxed about the nature of your body is also the sane way to live.
Hope you enjoy having a body today! Right now!
Excerpted from a book entitled "Sane Self Talk"
(available only in Danish at present).
© Barbara Berger. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Book by this author:
Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life
by Barbara Berger.
What is preventing you from being happy now? Is it your partner, your health, your job, your financial situation or your weight? Or is it all the things you think you “should” do? Barbara Berger takes a look at all the things we think and do that prevent us from living happy lives now.
About the Author
Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller "The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul" (published in 30 languages), "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life" (more than 20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype and telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: www.beamteam.com