I am constantly fascinated by the human body and the potential therein. I tend toward pessimism and often see the faults in people. I ascribe this to years of law school training (truth be told, my pessimism probably drew me toward law school). Nonetheless, I often sit in judgment of people and find fault with how they move, live, act, etc. It’s a terrible quality. I try very hard to temper that quality and balance it out with actively looking for the good in people. I know that deep down, people want to be good, they are trying hard and making the best choices they can at the moment. And, if they aren’t, they usually just need a reminder to be their best selves. They don’t need to be told they suck, because most people tell themselves that on a daily basis.
The human body is amazingly resilient. We demand a lot of our bodies on a day to day basis and our bodies respond by doing the best they can to meet our needs and do what we ask despite how shitty we treat our bodies. If you were to look at the relationship most people had with their bodies, it would seem like an abusive relationship.
Imagine you and your body were going out on a date. You feed it cheap food and then expect it to put out. You tell your body it is ugly and fat, then expect it to put out. You abuse your body physically pushing it to its limit and punish it with more reps or more miles and it expect it to come back for more. When your body tells you it’s in pain, you tell it to suck it up. You don’t let it sleep and instead give it more caffeine. You sit it down in front of the TV and bombard it with negative, violent images. When your body quietly asks for time off, you ignore it. When it finally can’t handle it anymore and gets sick or injured, you scream at it for letting you down. It goes on and on until, one day, it can’t and your body just gives up.
Does this sound familiar? As a pessimist, I could say that’s our nature and we are doomed. However, I want to believe that we can change our behavior once we recognize how terrible it is. Once we see how we treat our bodies, once we really hear how we talk to our bodies, we can start to treat ourselves with more kindness. Treating your body with love and kindness and respect will not make you weaker. Your body will flourish and grow stronger once you give it some respect.
I was watching this great documentary by Chris Bell called “Trophy Kids.” The parents in this movie push their kids to be athletic superstars but end up coming across like terrible, abusive parents. You can see how the kids actually perform worse when their parents are there berating them and when the parents leave, the kids are happier and perform better. It’s the exact opposite of the what the parents are trying to accomplish and it all has to do with the way they treat the kids. Watch this movie. Listen to how you talk to yourself and others. Try to treat yourself and others like you are on a date. Be the best version of yourself. Try to impress your body with how well you treat it. Be kind, be honest, be caring, be attentive and watch things start to flourish.