PERSONAL STORIES

Getting to know my body has changed my life - Ingrid

It has taken me 67 years, and an extended period of ill health, to begin to really understand this amazing body of mine. It has been challenging at times but so worth it. But as I get to know my body’s intricacies, its constant workings, and the fact that it is very breakable and hurts very easily, I have naturally asked the question – why has it taken me so long to understand a body that has supported me since the day I was born?

 

Why was I not told when I was young how amazing, but how fragile, this body is, and that:

 

  • it is so important to treat it with respect and care in every moment

  • to feed it the food and drink that it really needs and not what it can’t digest,

  • by pushing it too hard, both mentally and physically it will eventually break down,

  • by continually staying up too late I am draining it of the energy I need just for daily living

  • living in continual stress can make you ill

  • the list goes on.

 

It appears to me that as a society, because we have not been taught to honour this wonderful body of ours instead we have come to take it for granted so much so that we put up with pain and discomfort until we are stopped in our tracks with illness, disease or injury, and then we expect someone, a doctor, physio etc, to fix us up, and often once fixed we go back and start the self-abusing all over again. Many of us appear to have developed the belief that we can do whatever we want to our body and someone will be there to fix us when we get sick or hurt ourselves. This irresponsible attitude is putting an immense strain on, not only our body and our families, but also on our country’s health systems, especially financially and physically.  At the end of the day it comes down to the undisputable fact that we alone are responsible for the care of our body.

 

Unfortunately, though, it seems that instead we have learnt to adjust to living with pain and discomfort, instead of stopping and saying – ‘this does not feel right in my body, it is trying to tell me something, so I need to listen’. But listening is one thing we don’t seem to want to do, maybe because if we hear the messages our body is giving us we may have to make changes in our lives.

 

 For example:

  • we may have to stop running or playing sport as it is evident that it is damaging some part of our body 

  • we may have to give up eating dairy, gluten or sugar as it is making our body sick, as in Coeliac Disease, or Diabetes 2. You can read about one woman’s experience of how eating these foods affected her body and her life here.

  • we may have to change jobs as the job we are doing is causing us excess stress

  • we may have to stop drinking alcohol or energy drinks as they are damaging our liver

  • we may have to reconsider some of our relationships


But what if we actually did make the choice to stop and to listen to what our body is saying, and then to begin to make self-honouring choices?  Is it possible that we will start to notice that our body starts to feel a whole lot better to live in, that the pain begins to subside, the discomfort eases, our vitality increases and our lives begin to improve? I know that it did for me.

After having lived most of my life in a way that did not respect the preciousness of my body, and having been stopped in my tracks quite often by illness, disease or injury, I can honestly say that taking the time to get to know my body is the best choice I have ever made. Unfortunately, it took being unwell for a long period of time to bring me to this place where I realised that I had to stop and to listen otherwise this ill health would just continue to make my life a misery; it wouldn’t get better and the chances are it would get worse. Now as I am finally choosing to honestly observe the impact everything I do has on my body the connection to it is growing stronger day by day, and slowly it is starting to heal.

 

Nowadays I have much more vitality and my life is definitely much more enjoyable than it used to be. I still have my challenges but now I know that if my body is going to be strong enough to support me through the latter years of my life I need to listen to the messages it gives me in every moment, and then make the choice to act on them. I am definitely a living example as to the fact that there is always another choice to be made and that it is never too late to make a different choice, but I am still left with the question - what would my life have been like if I had been raised to know more about my body from day one?

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