A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Foundation of Eating Disorders and Body Issues and I mentioned using a technique mentioned to me by life coach and Author Kim Vazquez. I am excited to have Kim as a guest blogger today! Please help me welcome Kim and feel free to leave your comments for her. You can visit her website at www.kimvazquez.com or join her author facebook fan page ~ click here.
The Body Disconnect: A Journey to Self-Love. By Kim Vazquez
I was only eleven when my dad married a woman who was closer to my age, than his. It seemed to me that his young, second wife and I were in competition. As my dad became less and less available to me, I felt she was winning the competition. When he left my life altogether, I was eighteen. Game over. She had won, and I was officially the loser. A woman discarded. Unloveable. Without value. And I had my whole life ahead of me. I’d have to face it without self-esteem.
During the years that followed, I believed in my worthlessness. It was easy to find a multitude of people who helped me keep that story going—employers who didn’t pay me fairly, abusive boyfriends who hurled more than insults at me, friends who just didn’t seem to care enough. The energy of my pain worked like a magnet, pulling toward me evidence that the world at large agreed with me that I was irrelevant. I was so busy looking outside myself, so stunned and distracted by the unkindness of others that I was unable to see what my own actions were doing to me.
During those tough years, a spell was cast over me by a dark voice in my mind. Not the voice of a separate personality, but the voice of my ego, which promised me that if I pushed myself harder, I’d eventually achieve enough to force the world to acknowledge my worth. I thought this voice was trying to help me. I called it a motivator. It wasn’t until much later that I came to understand that this voice, the one I now call the Taskmaster, was really teaching me self-abuse.
When the Taskmaster said, You don’t need to eat yet, finish your project first, I learned to resent my body for having needs that interrupted my time. When the Taskmaster said, You don’t need to rest. First, let’s get your to-do list done, I learned to push through fatigue. Ignore that migraine, the voice in my head told me. You have one every day. What are you going to do, lay around and never get anything done because your head hurts? I learned to push through pain, no matter how severe. You don’t have time to be sick. We’ve got a lot to do, the voice would say. So I began to feel disappointed in my body for failing me when I was already stressed out by my busy schedule. I resented the body for holding me back when I had too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
Don’t worry about drinking six cups of coffee a day, the Taskmaster murmured. I learned to have no regard for the body’s need to be hydrated with water so it can function optimally. You don’t need anyone’s help. The Taskmaster urged me to be independent and reminded me that I couldn’t count on anyone else, anyway. I never gave my body a break. Okay, the voice said, you can take a bath, but if you do, we’ve got some endless thinking to do while you’re in there. The Taskmaster encouraged me to spend every moment of so-called downtime chasing my tail around my mind so I never had any real peace or rest.
The Taskmaster also took charge of my social life. You’re too busy to meet up with your friends. Forget about sitting on the couch with your husband. The voice encouraged me to do only things that were task-oriented. It—and I—ignored any activity that might bring joy or balance to my life. Buy another rental property. Buy a new home. Get a new car. Buy a vacation home in Tahoe. Open your own business. Open a second business. I learned that my happiness was in my future when I achieved (fill in the blank).
At age thirty-seven, I hit bottom. My body was failing. Seventeen pounds fled from it in just nine days. My organs ached. My mind was fried. I was put on disability and was forced to change my whole life.
My body had let me down again.
Will the real offender please stand up?
While I was recovering from that episode, it began to dawn on me that I was the problem. I had taken a lot from my body over the years and had given it very little in return. I was mad at everyone around me because I thought they should take better care of me, but I couldn’t see that I was The Queen of Self-Abuse. Five-year-olds probably knew how to take better care of themselves.
From a new sense of compassion for my body, I decided to look back to see where I’d gone wrong. Where could I make some changes? I found that in the past when I was sick, I was always impatient and basically demanded that my body dare not inconvenience me. Forget that I didn’t eat nutritious food, get any rest, exercise or drink water. Talk about a disconnect.
When my body had physical needs, I had just thrown whatever I could into it to get it to shut up. Here’s some Nyquil. Here’s an Ambien. Here’s a Vicodin. Here’s some fast food. Now, hurry up and quit bugging me with your needs.
When my body had felt emotional pain, I’d berated myself for having needs and for being weak. If I couldn’t chastise the feelings out of myself, I used work as Novocain or went out for cocktails.
Yes, it was clear. I was the person who had harmed me the most. I was ready to make amends. With pure gratitude, I began a conversation with my body. Please teach me to speak your language, I said. It responded with joy, and a beautiful source of wisdom and guidance opened itself up to me. Our new relationship began with my commitment: Body, I said, I will listen to you. I will care about your needs. I will love you.
Today when I don’t feel well, I get quiet and ask my body, What do you want me to know? How can I meet your needs? Just like a whole person, a body responds to love and acknowledgment. It will heal so much faster when it’s spoken to with kindness. My body works with me to reveal the areas of imbalance in my life that need attention. Sometimes, through malaise or a touch of funkiness, it will gently remind me that there’s unresolved emotion lurking. I thank my body for letting me know this.
My body is an ally that is willing to work with me and guide me to optimum health and joy.
For me, it works out best if I listen to my body, not the voice of the ego in my mind. I am only a work in progress. Due to the many years’ practice of being disconnected from myself, I must be patient with myself as I learn new behaviors.
My intention is to honor myself and live the way of self-love.
Today I see my body as a gift. It’s an honor and a privilege to have this physical vehicle that I use to navigate through my life. My body is my own personal miracle. Have you ever thought about how truly amazing the body is?
What day is better than today to begin a loving relationship with your body, with your SELF? For me it started with gratitude: Thank you for all you’ve done for me. And then the question: What can I do for you?
Peace & Love~
Kim Vazquez is the author of two books: New From the Inside Out: How to Transform Your Mind and Your Life and Living in the Rear View Mirror: From Substance Abuse to a Life of Substance. Kim has found her true calling helping others connect to their divine guidance. She offers Transformational Life Coaching, Workshops, and Sacred Healing Circles through her practice in Placer County, CA. For more information, visit: http://www.kimvazquez.com/