"I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself."- Oprah Winfrey
The last couple of weeks I have had issues with my lower back. I still don’t know what is going on, but it began to take a toll on me mentally and physically. I began to start hating my body because of the pain and the frustration of not being able to do much. I also had a lot of fear as well because I didn’t know if it was something serious or if I was going to recover in a timely manner or at all. The pain began to lessen, and I’ve been able to control my emotions about it, but I began to think about how complicated this situation has been with loving my body. I also see these frustrations with other people in my body positive groups where people suffer from chronic pain or are disabled, and they want to know how they can possibly love their body when all they associate it with is pain and frustration.
Blaming Your Body for Your Unhappiness
Instead of having compassion for my body that it was trying to tell me something was wrong I first started to be angry, sad and annoyed with it. I was doing so great and then BAM life happens and again another obstacle to climb. In these situations, it is so easy to focus on the negative aspects of life especially if you are used to doing things like being out and about and doing physical activity to keep your mind focused. When you are sick or have pain in your body it is so tough to not only focus on that and just think. Sometimes when you are left alone to just think it may lead you down a bad spiral of emotions.
Focusing solely on the negative makes us forget what we do have and what we should be proud of or grateful for. It is so important to find a state of gratitude during these tough times and I want to discuss how I got there and was able to pull myself out of that dark hole.
Recognize and Honor Your Feelings
It may seem like I am trying to tell you to stop being negative and to just be positive like it is a switch you can turn on and off. That is not the case at all. I had an ex-boyfriend that used to call me negative because I was hurting and in pain. How inconsiderate and mean is that? Hence, why he’s an ex-boyfriend. Why wouldn’t you feel anger or sadness when you are going through pain or rough times? It is normal to have these strong emotions so recognize them and express those emotions. However, don’t beat yourself up this is something I do, and I don’t recognize it at first. It is something of a habit I do subconsciously sometimes. Another route you don’t want to take is to ignore your feelings which may make it worse.
Have compassion for yourself and your body. Understand that it’s normal to have strong emotions when you are in pain or feel limited. Talk to yourself like you would a loved one or friend. Be the support that you need. After I became so frustrated with the pain I was and not getting my way of doing the things I wanted I finally had to have a heart to heart with myself. I know exactly what I am going through and so I know what I need to hear. I acknowledged that I had the right to feel upset and that everything would be ok and I would get through to just give it time and patience and that I had my back and knew my loved ones were there for me even if they were 1300 miles away. This always instantly makes me feel better. Sometimes we forget to stop and talk to ourselves or just ignore what we are hurt about or forgetting we can be there for ourselves when no one else can. Then reach out to those loved ones or friends for support those who will have compassion and empathy. It was nice to tell my Mom about how I was feeling, and she shared a couple of ideas I could try, and it just felt nice to have that support.
Change Directions and Hold Gratitude for All that is Right
Now that you have acknowledged and have given yourself compassion about your feelings you can start to support yourself through gratitude. Focus on the good in your life during these stressful and painful times. For example, I had to be grateful that I could still walk and get around on my own, so I tried to focus on that as a positive. This goes for people who are not sick or pain as well who only focus on negative aspects of their body. Try focusing on something you love about your body. Moreover, focus on what your body can do for you. Here are some affirmations to get you started:
Establish Your Self Worth with Self-Care
Now comes the time for self-care. If your body is in pain or you are fighting an illness your body needs your care. This is the time to take a deep breath and take one day at a time for healing. In my example, this meant staying in on a nice Summer day to rest my body even though I wanted to be out and about like normal. I also didn’t complete a week’s blog post because mentally I needed to focus on healing my body and my mind. It is not selfish to take care of yourself so don’t feel bad if you cancel plans or don’t accomplish everything you wanted during that healing time. I went to the chiropractor office four days out of the week which was self-care for me.
I also made sure to nourish my body and give it a bit of movement that wasn’t too harsh for my back. I gained some weight and I had to have extra compassion for allowing my body to be nourished with food and taking time to heal. Before my body positive journey, I would probably try to eat way less because I wasn’t doing much movement but my body wouldn’t get its energy or nourishment, so I decided my body was more important that the number on the scale. Getting enough rest and sleep was also important to me currently. Stretching has been my best friend. It has allowed my body to feel good and taking deep breaths during my stretches to help calm my mind as well. Caring for your body in the most basic way can go a long way.
I know it is easier said than done but now you can have a few more tools on your belt maybe you didn't have before to help you get through these tough times of hating your body for whatever reason that may be. Breathe deep that alone is truly a gift.