By Jaxson Benjamin
The Importance of Listening to Your Body
Here’s the thing – you only get one body and you deserve to enjoy it. Unfortunately, many factors in Western society direct us to ignore our bodies. The traditional school and work day designate particular times when it is or isn’t okay to eat, rest, or use the bathroom. We constantly receive messages that use body shaming to promote products for sale. Simply being comfortable existing is not a lesson that many of us are taught, resulting in our minds, bodies, and spirits paying the cost.
Our bodies are tender and unique. There is no “one size fits all” practice for caring for your body. Pressures and stressors impact all of us differently and our bodies remember. Generational trauma can be an example of how sensitive our bodies are and how seriously different kinds of harm can affect our bodies.
Folks with marginalized identities, especially B.I.P.O.C., can be affected by the legacy of their families experiences. Renee Linklater talks about the Indigenous concept of “blood memory” in her book Decolonizing Trauma Work. Intergenerational trauma is inherited and passed down through DNA – our bodies know.
So, how do you figure out what your body needs?
How to Listen to Your Body
- Slow down.
Western, capitalist-centered structures and social norms that promote White Supremacy Culture rely on urgency and productivity. Try slowing down. Rest is not earned—it is a right.
- Notice what serves you and what doesn’t.
More gentleness with your time and body can help you notice what is nurturing you and what isn’t. Pay attention to what brings you joy and fosters growth.
- Respect that things change.
Fluidity and flexibility is a part of being alive. A practice that supports you today may not next year. Commit to your body’s evolving needs, wants, and desires.
Feeling Your Body and Finding Pleasure in Reconnecting with Your Body
The concept of Body Neutrality can help us to practice radical acceptance and grow our erotic confidence. Thanks to disabled, queer, activists of Color, like Tiffany Ima, the Body Neutrality Movement is redefining the Body Positivity Movement. This philosophy encourages a move from the binary of “I love my body” to “I accept and appreciate my body”.
Try these affirmations for reconnecting with your body. You may find that speaking them out loud with movement or self-touch enhances your enjoyment of this self-care practice.
- I am more than a body.
- My body is wise.
- Bodies change.
- I give myself permission to rest.
- I am worthy and deserving of pleasure.
- Health is not connected to morality.