Listening to and Loving My Body

I had a therapist tell me once she’d never met anyone who was so in tune with her body.

I was aghast.

I’d always felt like I had NO connection whatsoever to my body. I’d certainly hated it all of my life. For one, I hated being SO tall. I was already taller than everyone in my kindergarten class and monstrous by 14 at 5’9” already. Imagine being taller than everyone at school except one other girl and a couple of boys. It was horrifying, especially when all I wanted to do was fit in.

Yet, as an Enneagram 4, I felt deeply different than others, at a painful level ever since I could remember. Fours feel like we’re flawed from very early in our young lives. Being so tall just didn’t help in this situation! Click here for more understanding about the Enneagram personality typing system.

And I despised how my body reacted to food. Ever since I could remember, I always seemed to swell up from certain foods. It didn’t help that I started a sugar addiction at about 10. And so there were all kinds of things I craved and then would be mad that my body reacted like it did. I can vividly remember exclaiming to my body, “I don’t care what you say to me, I’m eating this anyway!”

So as I looked at things we’d talked about I started to get a glimmer of understanding. I hadn’t always liked what my body said to me, but I had been aware. And I always seemed to have reactions to medications and would have to ask for them to be substituted. Or there was that time when I went to a psychiatrist to get on ADD medication. She was so excited, telling me how my life was going to change! On the day we realized the last one we tried wasn’t going to work either, I cried. None of them had agreed with me. In fact I had the exact opposite reaction as what was supposed to happen.

I started on the journey of learning to love myself when I was 57, three years ago. I started out doing “mirror work” as prescribed by Louise Hay. Can you imagine looking deep into your own eyes in front of a mirror and saying “I Love You”? I couldn’t either, but I did it! Here’s a link to doing this work as explained by Louise herself 🙂

With a second kidney transplant at 60 and wanting it to last until I’m at least 90, and being plagued by auto-immune diseases, I recently decided to quit sugar. For real this time.

I’ll write about the experience further in a different blog because what I wanted to say here, is that I’ve finally tapped into my body enough to be able to listen to it. So the sugar quitting is not being done from sheer will power. It’s not being done from self-condemnation. No, for the last six months, I let myself eat whatever I wanted. And I paid attention to how I reacted to all of it.

So now, if I think about eating a cookie, I can feel my tongue start to taste badly, just from thinking about the cookie. Or if I think about having a glass of wine, I can feel my body swell up just at the thought of that first sip.

And lo and behold, I’m not mad anymore. I figured out that my body has been talking to me all along and now I’m listening. And deciding to stop eating sugar from that place has been a total game changer for me!!

There is SO much more to learn as I seem to react to a myriad of things, but now I’m in a place of wonder and curiosity and a zest for figuring this stuff out. At least most days anyway 🙂

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