I am so excited to have Leah as a guest blogger this week. She shares with us how to listen to and love our bodies! I hope you enjoy…
The concept of listening to our bodies is not a new or unfamiliar one, and it’s being talked about more and more frequently. But what does it really mean to listen to our bodies? I want to share my story of how the hardest part of my life taught me the most rewarding lesson. I hope together we can improve communication with our bodies and watch it overflow into all areas of our lives. To me, listening to my body means never giving up on it. This has taught me to not give up on my goals.
The strength within us is incredible if we just listen.
My personal journey of learning to communicate with my body has been the most rewarding and healthiest aspect of my life, but it began from a very opposite place: a place of pain and sadness. It started when I was seven years old and was diagnosed with scoliosis. I began explaining to my second-grade classmates that I had to wear a plastic back brace because “I have an S-shaped spine.” Though scoliosis is not uncommon, the degree of which I was diagnosed necessitated quite a serious treatment. I was told if I didn’t wear my brace night and day while growing, I would need back surgery and a rod in my spine. This was surely not an option for seven-year-old, future prima ballerina me, so I obeyed and wore it.
Though living with scoliosis has been extremely difficult, it has been just as gratifying, if not more so. It has caused immense emotional and physical pain (and still does at times) but has also taught me more about myself, my body, and my life, than I ever expected. I’m not sure why I was born with scoliosis, and I don’t bother to think about the answer to that question too much anymore.
Because scoliosis has shaped who I am (just like everything in our lives that presents a challenge) and taught me that life isn’t always about beating the problems that arise, it’s about learning to adapt to them and welcome the lessons they teach you.
Perhaps my favorite lesson along my scoliosis journey has been my reaction to back spasms. For years, spurts of extreme back pain made me miserable and resentful toward my condition. The pain came with a disgust toward my back for making me feel this way, and it was difficult not to let that bitterness leak into my attitude and other aspects of my life.
Through much mental and physical work, and a lot (a lot!) of time, I proudly have a new attitude toward my back spasms. I, of course, am not happy when they come on, and the pain can still be debilitating and heartbreaking, but I have learned to welcome these incidents because I see them as my body telling me that it is time to rest and take care of me, just me. Who doesn’t want an excuse to rest that is not up for debate?! I used to resent my back, my scoliosis, my protruding ribs and my crookedness. How negative is it to resent a part of your own body? Our bodies carry us every day, everywhere we go. Our bodies allow us to see the world, to run like nothing can catch us, to kiss someone we love, to swim in the ocean and feel like a mermaid, to shake the hand of people we admire, and to make use feel alive.
There is nothing we should hate about our bodies. Love your body! I have come to love my spine and love my scoliosis because it is who and what I am, so when it is flaring up, I just want to spoil it, care for it, nurture it. Pain is not hurting me, rather, pain is reminding my body to pay attention and be easy on myself. I feel grateful to have this regular reminder to love my body as it’s such an important thing to love.
My hope is that others can take away from my story the power of loving and listening to their bodies, and recognize that doing so can result in other life sacrifices. Do you not let this discourage you, though. No other part of your life is as important as YOU are. This lesson came to me through my scoliosis, but it is available and applicable to everyone if we allow ourselves to listen. When our bodies are not cooperating or not allowing us to do what we think we “need” to do, usually all we truly need to do is listen to ourselves.
Our minds are so influenced by the demands around us that it’s easy for our mind to override the needs of our body. Our body’s only interest is in what is best for us. There are no outside influences on what our bodies need; they are motivated by health.
How amazing is that?
Listen to it, love it, and watch in awe how your life unfolds as your body loves you back.
Leah is from a small town in Colorado and moved to the Big Apple for school six years ago. Working on and with her scoliosis is a central part of her life. Outside of that, she is a dog lover, member of the Rotaract Club of the United Nations, and a handstand connoisseur. You can find more of her writing here.
Latest posts by Leah (see all)
- GUEST POST: The Power of Communicating with Our Bodies - May 3, 2016