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.
The Mind-Body Connection

There is massive power in the connection between our minds and bodies. When we are in touch with our needs and able to practice self-care, our bodies physically respond. You may notice clearer skin, elevated organ function, increased patience and overall mood when in tune with your body’s needs. Stress is a fierce adversary but so are you, especially when equipped with a support system of self-soothing tools. 

Reconnecting with Your Body After Trauma

Healing and growth are not linear. Resiliency is fostered through self-reflection and care. Consider what practices you utilize for your self-care. How do you hold space for yourself? What tending does your body and mind need?

Finding what practices work for you means letting go of outside messages around body image and start listening to what works for you. Invest in yourself by unlearning limited and harmful narratives around bodies. Re-educate yourself by reading/listening to liberatory educators and activists, take sexuality classes, and fill your social media feeds with inclusive creators.

Questions to Ask Yourself
  • Is there a memory where I feel connected to my body?
  • How do I listen to my body?
  • What are some ways that my body communicates with me?
  • Are there particular situations when I ignore my body?
Suggested Practice

Set aside time to reconnect with your body. For 8 minutes do whatever your body wants to do. Your body might share that you are hungry, would enjoy being moisturized, desire to hear music, or simply want to do nothing at all. Notice how it feels to focus inward. Employing a timer may aid you in beginning this practice, with practice you may find it no longer useful. Give yourself permission to follow your body’s desires – explore what may present if you keep listening and honoring your body’s needs. 

If your mind wanders, be gentle with yourself. Practice is just that, a practice, work in progress. This exercise is for you and you alone – allow it to be whatever you need in the moment. 

Recommended Resources

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown

Fattily Ever After: A Black Fat Girl’s Guide to Living Life Unapologetically by Stephanie Yeboah

Guest Blogger Jaxson Benjamin

Jaxson Benjamin, Guest Blogger

Jaxson Benjamin is a queer, disabled, social justice educator and sexologist raised on the land of the Lenni Lenape People in re-named Philadelphia. Jax’s work is rooted in the empathic and story-telling approaches of Community Development that aim to disrupt Eurocentric teachings. Check out their work on social media here.

Instagram: @actionjaxsongoes

megaphone icon
Hey sexy!
How erotically confident are you right now? Take this quiz to find out!