Isn’t it a human condition to focus on what we don’t have and overlook what we are blessed with? We can have a beautiful home, loving friends, and a loyal family, but the moment we see someone who seems to have it “better,” we can be left feeling inadequate in a heartbeat.
In this world of social media and celebrity mayhem, it always looks as if someone is loving life more than us, accomplishing their dreams, traveling to exotic destinations, and finding their own “happily ever after”. But don’t be fooled even for a moment. Insecurities and challenges are a shared human experience. Everyone has things they need to work on. The trick is to be grateful for what we have and be deliberate in our desire for what we feel we need.
Physical well-being can be challenging for many because they can tend to unconsciously focus on the negatives: the back pain, the old ankle injury, the blood pressure, headaches, and extra pounds. But physical well-being, much like our mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness, occurs on a spectrum.
We always have some level of physical vitality, and it can be incredibly helpful to identify the things that are going well and to celebrate the health goals we’ve accomplished in order to regain the confidence and contentment necessary for future growth.
So what is your list? You know, the list of things that are not working for your body (and that you use as an excuse to not socialize or exercise or put on your favorite clothes). Is it the way you fit into that dress in the closet? Your lack of stamina when trying to climb the stairs? The arthritis in your knee every time you try to be active? Good. Take a look at that list. Acknowledge it. Thank it for what it has to teach you – maybe its patience, self-kindness, or equanimity. Now let it go.
Make a new list. What are the things you love about your body and how you feel in it? Do you like how comfortable you are when you’re wearing your favorite shoes? Or the way your favorite chair seems to hug your back when you sit? Do you love taking a hot shower or going for a quiet walk or feeling the sun on your face? Start to identify all the moments that put you in touch with your body – the ones you love and that feel good.
Even if we have illnesses or aren’t in the shape we’d like, we still have some level of well-being. It is our job to find it, magnify it, celebrate it, be grateful for it, and focus on it. We can strive for other areas of improved physical health and strength, but we shouldn’t let what we don’t yet have diminish all the amazing gifts we do.
This body, and our time in it, is a gift. If we are attentive to the moment at hand, we understand that well-being is not some distant goal, but a new possibility emerging right now.
Billy Rosa is a Registered Nurse, Integrative Nurse Coach Visiting Faculty, University of Rwanda.