If you were sitting in a cafe, sipping on a latte, and your body sat down beside you…what would it say to you? Would it thank you for all the loving kindness you have shown it over the years or would it scowl at you and your coffee, and give you a piece of it’s mind? What would your body look like? Would it be glowing and radiant with health and vitality or would it be pale, tired and terribly overworked? Being your body is a tough job…maybe it’s time we listened to what it’s trying to tell us.
But that is easier said than done, isn’t it? We’re busy. So busy. We’re stressed. We have to go to work, we have kids to look after. We all know the excuses. We are very good at putting everybody and everything before ourselves…but why?
My friend and I were talking about this last week as we shared some child free time over a decaf cappucino at our favourite cafe. We know all the answers when it comes to improving our health through nutrition and lifestyle. We could advise a friend…even write a book! But when it comes to comitting to these much needed changes ourselves…we always fall short of the mark.
Is it laziness? For change to occur, effort is required. To exercise, to eat well, to get to bed before midnight…it’s not that easy. Do we divert our attention by focusing on others and avoid concentrating on ourselves? Are we afraid we will fail? I am guilty of berating myself for my misgivings on a daily basis. That nagging, negative voice that lives in your head…I shouldn’t have eaten all that bread, I’m supposed to be going grain free…If I’d done more exercise I wouldn’t have to lay on the floor to do my jeans up (possibly with a coat hanger)….
Do we think we’re not worth the effort? Looking after yourself takes time, it might take a little bit of money too…sometimes we see this as selfishness, especially if we’re not supported by loving family and friends who understand how important taking care of ourselves really is. We need to respect ourselves for our own well being but also because we are role models. I for one want my two daughters (and my son) to grow up with a healthy view of themselves and the ability to make choices that reflect what is best for them. The bottom line is…if we don’t stay healthy and happy and well…we can’t take care of anyone else.
As I’m getting older, I’m starting to love myself more…I know, I know…it’s so cliche…but I appreciate my body now. Goodness knows, it’s done amazing things. It runs, it bends in all directions in the name of yoga, it has carried and given birth to three beautiful babies (a miracle I still can not comprehend!) and it has fed and nourished those babies independently for varying amounts of time. It has completed two degrees and is considering a third. It has kept working no matter how much I demand of it and has dragged itself out of bed every morning for 36 years regardless of how little sleep it has received (and it hasn’t always been because of night feeds and restless children…)
When I see the beautiful young women in my life, some who are mothers and many who are not, treating their bodies and themselves so carelessly, it makes me feel really sad (and old). Smoking, alcohol, junk food, crazy work hours…it really concerns me . I want to tell them…you are so special…you deserve better!
So, I will…
Whenever I question my girls about something they don’t think I noticed and they ask me how I knew…I always say…”because I’m a Mum, and Mum’s know everything”. They are young enough that they believe me and this still works as an answer…and so in that spirit, I’m going to tell you…
You are so important, worthy, good, loved, beautiful, special, unique, amazing, wonderful, clever, fun, classy, gorgeous, funny, bright, sexy…so take care of yourself, you deserve it. And I know, because I’m a Mum and Mums know everything.
Is your body a temple or a playground? How do you feel about your own body? What has it taught you over the years?