Our bodies: Under constant judgement from ourselves and others. There is no such thing as one perfect body. There are an infinite number of perfect bodies. We each have one. The challenge is finding our perfection and gaining an understanding of what makes us unflawed.
No matter what your body’s capabilities and limitations, it is your task to challenge the body you have. Only through challenge will you grow. Some of us have great physical abilities and can challenge our athletic bests while some of us have brilliant brains and can test our intellectual limits. No matter what you’ve got, it’s your job to challenge yourself.
How many times have you bargained with your circumstances and promised that if something changes (the sickness goes away, the skin breakout disappears, the migraine ceases, maybe the hangover lets up) you will take better care of yourself? Sounds familiar, right? Most of the time, we get through the short-lived circumstance and we forget about these promises pretty swiftly. What if the circumstances didn’t change? If your abilities were suddenly taken from you, would you know that you used them wisely while you had them? That you worked daily towards a greater potential? That you were at your best for those you care about most?
Sometimes there is no second chance.
These are the circumstances that prompted this tirade about our responsibilities to love our bodies and challenge ourselves to develop stronger abilities every day. Ever heard of Guillain-Barre Syndrome? I hadn’t, until a family friend started losing all of her peripheral nerve abilities (ie. the ability to move) around the age of 28. With a history of being very active in dance, figure skating, karate & hockey, and being the mum of two young kids, this sudden, unexplained loss of physical ability was shocking. Despite being an optimistic champion during her battle, she didn’t get a second chance. She did a great job challenging herself everyday in the body she had, even as it changed, until it ultimately failed her. We owe it to people like her to respect and honour our perfect bodies by using them to their full potential. Not everyone has such opportunities.
Your body is perfect. It has exactly the level of ability you need in order to challenge yourself today. There isn’t an expectation that you’ll go all out and do a maximally gruelling adventure challenge. However, you’ve got to find a way to accomplish just one small improvement each day. Achieve a new level in the game of YOU. Small challenges can be 5 more minutes of exercise, one more run-through than usual of the piece of music you’re learning, maybe run the field with your kids in a game of soccer instead of calling dibs on playing goalie! Your body is a functional tool. If you don’t use it, you will never appreciate what you are capable of and just how perfect your body is.
Sure, we’ve all got some physical limitations and aesthetic cravings. But, when you learn to accept and challenge the body you’ve got, you’ll open yourself to the lessons you can learn by developing work-arounds for your limitations.
A life with zero regrets, wishes, what-ifs or should-haves isn’t a concept that I’ve subscribed to. There will always be an element of uncertainty, that’s what life is. What you can take charge of is your personal list of achievements. You can choose to accept that the body you have is exactly the one you need in order to learn your most valuable lessons, confront your deepest fears and to cultivate greater abilities each day.
The body you have is the perfect tool to BestYourself.
In fond memory of Kimberley Hewitt (Selent) who relentlessly challenged herself beyond her body’s capabilities.