Just Be Your Body’s Friend

6 Mar

I’ve been checking out some stuff lately on body positivity. It’s pretty cool, and I’m going to keep looking at it. It’s something I’m working on for myself, and it’s something I’d love to help others with. One thing I’ve already noticed is what’s already out there on “body positivity” is focused on our external appearances. I believe body positivity should focus on our insides, too. I’m not talking just general self-love stuff, but really coming to terms with our diagnoses and all the other crappy stuff happening with our insides and our brains.

My thoughts and stance are beginning to form around the concept of relationship. We have a relationship with our bodies. By the way, let’s just go ahead and include our cognitive abilities and mental health with our physical beings because that all comes from the brain organ. (You can tell my degree is in not science, right?)

I think about the idea of relationship pretty regularly. I’m a Christian, so I’m constantly analyzing and critiquing my relationship with God and my faith. My dog’s personality and interaction with me has changed in her senior years, so I think about that a lot, especially as I come to terms with her being less affectionate. I don’t have a significant other, but I have a lot of friends, and as it’s a beautifully diverse pool of friends, there are plenty of things that don’t always go smoothly in conversations, interactions, and emotions. Then, I’ve got my family, and I look at relationships there a lot, too, because, well, I’m the oddball self-employed, artistic, chronically-ill single with incomprehensible love for travel, opera, silliness, and commas.

So what makes a great relationship? And how can we apply that to our bodies?

I explored the Pinterest looking for a good meme on friendship that has a list of what makes up a good one, and I found this lovely one from Michael Josephson’s page:

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The only person you are guaranteed to spend your entire life with is you. You have this one body. The better the relationship you have with your body, the better your life in your body will be.

I’m a terrible friend to my body sometimes. I’ll say mean things about it. I’ll get mad at it and pay it back for being a jerk … like when my stomach hurts and is all bloaty for no good reason, I’ll feed it a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and fries out of spite because it deserves it, right? Wrong.

We have to accept people for who they are, love them for who they are, without trying to make them be someone they’re not, or pressuring them to pretend to be someone they’re not. This is the same way we need to love our bodies. We need to love our bodies this way and in all the ways we know to treat anyone else.

You know how you’re not better than other people? Well, those other people whom you’re nice to are no better than you, either. Treat yourself the same.

Check out that A-Z list by Michael Josephson. Make your own list of what makes a good friend. Ask yourself if you treat your own body as a good friend. Apologize for any ways you’ve been a bad friend. Be specific and say it out loud. Say something nice to yourself, out loud. Ask yourself how you can treat yourself better. Start doing it.

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6 thoughts on “Just Be Your Body’s Friend

  1. Oh boy, did I need this today. My body is trying to get over getting teeth pulled on Monday and I’ve been irritated that I wasn’t bouncing back like I used to. But then, I’ve never had 3 teeth pulled at a time and, oh yeah, I wasn’t as old as I am now. And the thing is, I have to go thru getting multiple teeth pulled at least once, if not twice. Bummer. The pain after the numbness wore off was brutal and I have a high tolerance for pain. I am going to stop stressing that it’s taking me so long to bounce back and just go with it. My body is telling me to rest. Then that’s what I need to do instead of fighting it and whining that i feel sooooo tired.

    • Oh wow, that sounds so miserable. I’m so sorry to hear! I’m glad that you got something from my words and are being a good friend to you.

      That’s something else that’s been on my heart a lot lately: comparison. It’s bad enough comparing ourselves to others, and then we also compare ourselves to whom we once were. I am me, now. You are you, now. And we just have to be our best now selves. Sounds like you’re doing your best, taking care of you. ❤

  2. Just got around to reading this. Brain fog and such and didn’t want to read anything. I too have been in prayer and thinking about not fighting or being so angry with my body. How can I treat myself with the same grace I treat others? But I’ve also noticed I’m much too critical of everything these days, not the way I wish to be. Trying to find the balance. I think for me letting go of the anger would be a start. You would think after 45 years of this I would have been less angry but I find myself more angry as I age.

    Praying for you about this and your finances. Thank you for reminding us that the closures affect people more than just inconvenience.

    • Thanks for your prayers! I’ll pray for you, too. The anger thing is tough. It’s all rolling back to me right now as disability is limiting my options and exacerbating my need. I think I would do well to go back and reread some of my own words on self love.

  3. Thanks for this. It’s easy for me to be kind to others, but it’s hard to extend the same kindness to myself. I’m only 30, so I feel too young to be in as much pain as I am and as physically limited as I recently am. I keep expecting for my problems to resolve and to be able to do the things I’m used to. I’m either mad at my body for failing me or worried that I’ll never regain the activities I loved when I was able bodied or in misery imagining that my current pain will never end. I’m worried people will stop loving me because I’m not the same person I was and I can’t do the same things I used to. Because I’m a burden.

    But if I step outside myself and imagine these were the problems of someone I care about, I realize I wouldn’t put these expectations on someone I loved. And that the people I love have integral worth that doesn’t change with what their bodies can do. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, I enjoy being with them.

    • What beautiful perspective! YES! I likewise understand ALL those worries you stated and how hard it can be to flip this mindset “switch.” Sounds like you’re winning the fight though. Warrior on, friend!

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