This post is for you if you…
- struggle to find confidence
- desire to understand how powerful your body is
- want to know about the mind-body-soul connection
The Purpose of My Post
There used to be a time when I believed strength equaled ignoring pain. It was something I prided myself on and because of that, looked down on others who didn’t do the same. Weakness, to me, was akin to laziness, a trait I didn’t want any association with.
As a result, the span of my life has been littered with injuries – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It wasn’t until I realized the correlation between stubbornly ignoring my body and my consequent bodily hurt that I finally made a change for the better. The moment I finally understood that my definition of weakness needed overhauling, everything changed.
Therefore, the purpose of my post today is to explain what I learned as I challenged my belief of no pain, no gain in the hopes that it may also help you understand how valuable your body is.
Actively Listening to Your Body = Self Care
If you thought this was going to be another article about taking bubble baths and treating yourself to a $7 latte, you will be disappointed. While those are most definitely important, I want to dig a little deeper into an idea of self care you don’t often think about: listening to your body.
Your body is a powerhouse of information designed to guide you through your life. However, most of us aren’t taught this. Instead, we were raised on pushing through and ignoring pain and the idea that only by doing this will you succeed. The problem with this is you miss out on so many opportunities that will improve your life in ways you can’t imagine.
When you slow down and actively engage with your body, you cultivate a relationship that will carry you through your life. As you learn to listen instead of ignore, you will understand that your body has an answer for everything you face. Think of it as your own personal tour guide telling you which way to go and what to do to have the best possible experience.
How Your Body Speaks to You
If you are new to the idea of having a relationship with your body instead of endlessly hating it, I understand. I was there myself once.
Hating your body is more than critiquing the cellulite on your legs or being unable to look at your not so flat stomach in the mirror. It is also ignoring the signs and signals it sends you on a daily basis.
So, how do you know if you are ignoring your body?
If you are honest with yourself, you know. However, if you need a little help recognizing the signs, here are a few:
Feeling exhausted but pushing through anyway
I am so guilty of this. As a planner, I have deadlines. I know what my goals are, have analyzed and over-analyzed the steps to get there and have due dates. Not achieving these goals by my set time is failure in my eyes. I push myself to the max to reach what I set out to do and in the process, inevitably feel exhausted.
There is nothing wrong with having dreams and goals and taking aligned action to achieve them. However, the issue comes when you are obviously tired, obviously need a break and you won’t allow yourself to take one. Enter burnout, stress, mental exhaustion and a body that gets very loud.
Experiencing pain but not taking a rest day
Another one of my claims to fame, I was relentless when it came to exercise. Driven seems too mild of a word to describe my old mindset of staying in shape. I didn’t care what hurt, I was still going to workout. Obviously, this was terrible for my body.
If you are anything like me then you know what happened next…injury. It took multiple sprained ankles, pulled muscles, stress fractures and two surgeries to finally snap me out of this ridiculousness.
Second guessing your decision
There is scientific research proving a mind-body-soul connection. If you don’t believe me, read The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton (in fact, read this no matter what…it’s astonishing!).
In simple terms, a mind-body-soul connection means that you are more than just your body or your mind or your spirit. None of these are mutually exclusive but rather always have an effect on each other. To give you an example:
You doubt a decision you made. This causes a repetitive cycle of thinking in your mind causing physical manifestation of anxiety in your body and suppressing your spirit/soul/higher self who has the definitive answer.
Your body speaks to you through this anxiety. You feel a tightness in your chest or a knot in your stomach. However, you are so caught up in your repetitive thoughts that you accept this as a side effect you just have to live with.
Not allowing yourself to celebrate
In a similar fashion to anxiety, your body also urges you to take notice of feelings of lightness and expansion. For me, I used to feel that celebration was only okay when I achieved something huge. Everything else was just something that I expected of myself and not a reason to take notice of. So when I experienced these light and happy sensations, I often pushed them aside as inconsequential.
Why this is detrimental is multi-faceted. On the one hand, I couldn’t see how far I had come which can lead to frustration. On the other, I missed out on opportunities to turbocharge my motivation which would have propeled me even further on my self-development journey.
Complete disregard of your body language
Another way your body speaks to you is through posture. Just as you can pick up clues from others about how they are feeling simply by unconsciously observing their body posture, you can do the same with yourself.
How often have you felt a tension between your shoulder blades accompanied with a tightness in your neck but ignored it? You round your shoulders and your ears lower as you scrunch down, creating an overall rigidity.
Perhaps you cross your arms, sweat profusely or force a smile. Maybe you clench your fists or throw your hands around as you speak. The point is that all of these are signs something is wrong or needs further investigation. If you are not paying attention to them, you plow ahead and yes, miss another opportunity.
Refusal to permit yourself to feel “bad” emotions
We have a bad habit in our society of labeling things as good or bad. This drives me CRAZY. I am even more triggered by this due to the fact that I have often done this labeling myself, then carried it even further into beating myself up for succumbing to a “bad” emotion.
For example, I used to think crying equaled weakness. I would dam my emotions so quickly when I felt that telltale knot in my throat that if there was a gold metal, I would have won it. Just call me Champion Emotional Suppressor. If, by chance, I was unable to stop myself from crying, the mental bullying I subjected myself to was the textbook definition of abuse.
From the theme of my post so far, you can see this is, once again, a problem. Your body stores all unreleased and unfelt emotions you have ever had. If you don’t find a way to let them go, these emotions transform into dis-ease. Here is another book recommendation for you: Heal Your Body by Louise Hay.
Confidence Happens When You Start to Pay Attention
The day you make a decision to view your body as the powerhouse it is rather than a burden of the highest level is the day you change your life.
Almost instantly, the fog clears and you can see your next step forward. You feel lighter, happier, more energized, stronger, freer and more empowered. Your stress level reduces and you begin to understand how your thoughts influence your body and your body directs your thoughts. Connection to your intuition skyrockets and suddenly you realize you have unlocked the secret to the universe.
Okay, so maybe that might be going too far, but you get my point. Listening to your body is a big freaking deal.
When you experience these feelings, your fear diminishes and your confidence is boosted. This confidence is what you need to keep going, to believe in yourself. Confidence is what allows you to unapologetically live your purpose and take aligned action towards your dream. Without unshakeable confidence, your journey in life will prove to be much more difficult than it needs to be.
4 Reasons Self Care is the Ultimate Confidence Booster
Self Care = More than massages and lattes
Self Care = Listening to your body
Listening to Your Body = A treasure trove of useful information
Self Care = Listening to Your Body = Confidence
When you understand the relationship between listening to your body and your self-care/self-worth/self-esteem, you open opportunities. These opportunities allow you to grow and growth increases your confidence. Here’s how:
#1 You discover the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck. This in turn offers you a chance to rewrite these beliefs into a way that benefits you which increases your confidence.
#2 Paying attention to the clues your body gives you is like having a personal GPS. And when you know which way to go, you are way more confident than if you are lost.
#3 Following the clues opens a direct pipeline to your intuition. Connecting with your authentic self (the one beneath the conformity) will always boost your confidence.
#4 You *finally* learn how to validate yourself and release the need to look to others. It pretty much goes without saying that if you can do this, you are at your peak confidence.
Final Thoughts on Self-Care and Confidence
There are a variety of reasons we struggle with our self-care and confidence. It could be lack of self-trust, the incessant talking of your inner critic or insecurity. The good news is that all of these reasons are surmountable with a little effort and desire on your part. If you wish to dig a little deeper into your own reasons, here are some resources for you to peruse:
- How to Trust Yourself So You Can Live Your Purpose
- How to View Success with a Different Perspective
- How to Boost Your Confidence So You Can Fearlessly Live Your Dream
I believe in you.
Proud introvert, intuitive entrepreneur, and spiritual activist. On a mission to embolden my fellow introverts to quietly change the world.