When I remember to be grateful and act on that, I realise I breathe more slowly, I feel lighter and find myself smiling. I do forget sometimes but am recognising the signs - as I have become more self-aware I now stop and ask myself what is going on – why the headache, why the annoyance or irritation? Why do I feel low? Why ….. ? Of course there can be many reasons for those feelings and others but when I am thankful balance and upliftment quickly follow.
Since being a young girl I have never really been accepting of my body. There always seemed to be the pressure to look better – whatever ‘better’ was …. pressure coming from outside, but more persistently from within myself. My body was never good enough. Never the right size or shape or weight. When I was given the notion that thanking my body would cause a change I said, ok, I’ll give it a go. Inside I thought, well how can that possibly work?! I started by thinking about what my body actually did.
I wrote a few lines of thanks to help me focus on what I wanted to say. It felt a bit weird but I wanted that change to happen. Each morning and evening I read the lines that I’d placed by my bed. Taking that time out to stop and thank my body for all the amazing things it does really did cause me to stop and think wow! it really is amazing. I started to think about my body differently – not just as something that I see externally but this beautiful, living structure that busily works in unison with itself. A whole different perspective started to evolve in how I was thinking about my body. I learnt that I did need to be consistent though – I did need to regularly stop and give thanks or else I found the voice of the past would reappear. The more consistent I was, the more I found that those positive words of gratitude would come to mind just any time and make me smile. The more thanks I gave, the quieter and less relevant that critical voice sounded. The wonderful spin-off is that I have learned that as I continue to be grateful and appreciative of my body as a whole, the more deeply I care for it and look after it. How cool is that!
Being grateful for what I have previously not given thought to, for things I have taken for granted, small things, big things, things I had thought of as a right, has in turn given me so much freedom from self criticism, self doubt, self absorption – wonderful!!
Jenny Matherson, South Africa