Caring For My Body Is Like Caring for a Two-Year-Old Child!
Sunday, March 10, 2019
Took a hike today, and was thinking about how great it is to be strong and healthy enough to get outside - feeling very thankful for my body. But also thinking how hard it is, sometimes, to take good care of this same body. Darn exasperating, in fact.
Many of us have been around young children, and know that a toddler can be charming company - cute, interested in everything, curious, energetic. When she's in a good mood she will mind her grown-ups pretty well, and the grown-up can get done all the other stuff they have to do, while taking good care of the child.
The same toddler, NOT in a good mood, can de-rail everything. If she's over-tired, or not feeling well, or learning to pursue her goals in the face of obstacles (learning to get her own way, in other words), the nice reasonable grown-ups have their hands full. They may not feel very nice or reasonable, dealing with a child pestering and crying for what she can't have right then.
The grown-up may know what the child needs; a nap, perhaps, or a meal, or to learn cooperation or obedience. But that isn't what the child wants! So getting her fed, or to bed, or to agree, can be a chore - even a battle. The child may not know what she needs - she just knows what she wants - or sometimes only what she doesn't want, which is whatever the grown-up is trying to make happen.
The grown-up has a duty to the child. If he or she frequently fails of that duty, the child grows up less able to prosper; less able to get on well with others; less likely to have a worthy and worthwhile life. So the child suffers, long-term, when allowed to indulge herself too much in the short term.
So the analogy to my body and me. Of course we are not really "two" - but to think about this I have to split myself, so I am both the grown-up and the child.
I did not do my duty by my body - I allowed it to eat too much and move too little. It became un-well, weak, prone to illness. Fat. And in return it made me unhappy, ashamed, and withdrawn.
Now, we must work together to correct those problems. Most of the time we get on fairly well. But now & then, Body wants what it does not need. It wants a "treat". Ice cream. A glass (or two) of wine, or brandy. Cheese! BREAD!!! Two portions of dinner, rather than one. Or maybe Body wants to skip the work out 'just this once'... And the stern grown-up 'me' must curb the cranky 2 year old 'me'. For both our own long-term good, truly - tho Body, only thinking of the short-term, doesn't want to accept that.
Now and then a treat is a fun thing to share with a youngster. But best for the child if it be planned, and not given in response to a temper tantrum. Same for my body - yes, you can have a treat when an occasion calls for it - but not on a whim; not every day. My body is healthier and happier when I stay lovingly in charge & not let it get away with stuff that leads to us both being unhappy and unwell.
It's never 100%. When I was raising my daughter, sometimes I gave in, gave up, or was worn down and she got what she wanted. But I held the line often enough, and she grew up to be a fine person. Same with my body; it gets it's way, sometimes - tho less often these days because I'm determined to have a worthy and worthwhile life - what's left of it, anyway; and for that, we both need to be healthy.