As my amazing American friends celebrate Thanksgiving today, I thought about the people and developments that I am grateful for this year.
Many wonderful things came to mind. The obvious ones being the fact that I am in recovery, that I am happier than ever, that I am married to the most incredible husband, that I am lucky enough to have the most brilliant and supportive friends, and the fact that I am, for the first time ever, just generally enjoying my life. I am experiencing an inner peace and freedom that I have never felt before. I am humbled by those marvelous developments and by the second chance that I have been given.
We all have so much to be grateful for, don’t we?
Today, I would like us to take a few moments to focus our attention and our gratefulness on our body.
Before you protest and tell me that this is too hard for you (I understand), especially now during the holidays (I understand completely), let me add that I am not talking about our looks but about the mere functional aspects. So, stick with me, will you?
In the last 14 years, I spent an uncountable amount of hours staring at myself in the mirror, looking for imaginary fat or checking if one could see any changes from one day to another. Once or twice a day, I would measure myself to see if I had lost or gained a millimeter. I stepped on the scale so often that I will never have the urge to repeat this task. However, despite focusing so much energy and time on these things, I never paid much attention to the body itself. That might sound contradictory, but it is true. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see my body for what it was, all I saw was whether I had controlled myself enough or whether I had failed. It wasn’t about my body, it was all about my mind.
So, in order to please my mind, I abused my body in ways that are beyond comprehension.
Yet, as I started to heal my mind, I started to heal my body as well. And today I can look in the mirror, appreciate what I see and even have a feeling of gratefulness.
I now understand that my body is a part of me. It is my base. No other person in this world has this shape. It was, is and will forever be only mine. I am unique and I am built exactly the way that I am supposed to be.
Now that I am strong and healthy again, this base enables me to do the most fascinatingly ordinary things and I love it.
Because of my body, I can walk across a meadow on a sunny day feeling the grass under my feet.
Because of my body, I am able ride my bike across town.
Because of my body, I can begin to try the craziest yoga Asanas.
Because of my body, I can dance Zumba and have a blast doing it.
Because of my body, I can chase my beautiful, sweet goddaughter around the house, laughing until I cry.
Now, this might sound very basic to you and I guess you may have a point. But have you ever truly, honestly sat back and thanked your body for what it does for you?
I can assure you that up until recently, I had never, not ever, given this a second thought.
If you are of the negative type (like I was until I started my recovery), you’ll now want to object and ask me something like this: “Yeah, but what about ALL the things that my imperfect body won’t let me achieve?”
To this question, I reply: “Embrace your imperfection, your uniqueness and live life to the fullest with the body you were given.”
Don’t look at the characteristics, you think you don’t have, look at what it is you DO have.
So, I challenge you to take at least 10 minutes of your day (preferably before the Thanksgiving craziness begins), relax, take a note pad and a pen and write down everything you appreciate about your body’s functionality. Dig deep, don’t belittle this exercise, it will help you accept yourself and maybe even start loving yourself.
Do this exercise a few times in the coming weeks. It will do wonders.
Once you start thinking about what your body does for you, you start treating it completely differently. You start looking at it with a refreshed and renewed mindset. Over time, you will begin to love it.
It is a journey (just like recovery in itself) and I am only at the beginning of this path, but already I notice a deeper acceptance of myself every single day.
Instead of working AGAINST my base, I am now working WITH it. And it feels amazing.
Hopefully, one day very soon, I will be able to treat my body entirely the way it deserves to be treated.
Be grateful. I am.
Keep Fighting, my friends.
And stay strong on this difficult day!