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    In reply to: Acceptance

    Very recently, I have come to a fresh perspective about what acceptance means to me. There is a phrase in Belleruth Naparstek’s Healing Trauma CD, Affirmations: “[More and more, I understand that]…my body is my friend, my oldest ally, and my steadiest companion.” I have been listening to the Healing Trauma affirmations on and off for two years now. When I first I heard the affirmation about my body being my friend and ally, I thought “No! My body has actually betrayed me.” However, I would say the affirmation to myself anyway.
    Are you familiar with the theory of cognitive dissonance? As humans we prefer internal consistency, and when we perform an action that is contradictory to our beliefs, ideas, or values we experience a lack of consistency, or dissonance. This makes us psychologically uncomfortable and we are motivated to try to reduce this discomfort. While I repeated the affirmation that my body was my steadiest companion, what I experienced was cognitive dissonance; over time my psyche began to resolve the conflict between the affirmation and my belief. The affirmation eventually became true for me. Thinking about my body and my illnesses is a little different now.
    When my son was young I remember learning the concept of separating the child from the behavior. In other words, when the child had performed some negative behavior you were to remember that the child was not the behavior – it was perfectly normal to love the child and hate the behavior. You could say to your child, “I love you, but I don’t like your behavior”, so the child wouldn’t think that your anger with their actions meant that you didn’t love them anymore.
    Using this concept I have re-framed the way I see my body now: I accept my body but I don’t like its behavior (the chronic illnesses). I don’t confuse my illnesses with my body, they are two separate things. This allows me to see that my body is genetically predisposed to having certain issues (such as a faulty central nervous system or digestive system) which is not its fault, and it has no way for it (or me) to reverse. If I were born with a hole in my heart or only one arm, I would not try to live as though these conditions didn’t exist; I would (have to) accept them. I would most likely not appreciate the symptoms and complications they would cause and wouldn’t necessarily accept those things, but I would accept my body’s limitations.
    For me at least, this is the crux of acceptance. As it is much easier for me to love my child than to love his negative behavior, it is much easier for me to accept my body with its certain built-in flaws than to accept the symptoms and illnesses caused by those flaws. I manage my illness; I accept my body and its limitations. My body is my friend, my oldest ally, and my steadiest companion, and together we will see each other through to the end.

    #acceptance #personalgrowth #affirmations #cognitivedissonance #healingtrauma #mybodyismyfriend #journeyofselfgrowth

    Gail Moser

    Today I planned to write about how I have experienced personal growth by listening to my body and accepting my chronic illnesses. But I can’t write that because it would be a lie.
    I have a wavering commitment to accepting my chronic illnesses. There are times when I am totally down with everything and will even admit to others that I have them. When I do share this information I feel like I have grown in my journey, and I feel proud of myself for being in that place. But there are other times when I feel “I am not going out like that!” and rail against what is happening to me. I go back and forth on accepting my illnesses.
    How does hearing what your body is saying help you to accept what you are experiencing? What constitutes “acceptance” for you? What, in turn, comes about as a result of acceptance?
    #acceptance #personalgrowth #self-growth

    Gail Moser

    Hello Everyone,
    The final week of the Body Listening Project is all about how this can be a springboard for personal growth. We will explore various components:

    • Monday: Perspective – Can you see your growth when you look back over your journey?
    • Tuesday: Re-framing – Are you seeing your body’s experiences in another light?
    • Wednesday: Resilience – Are you recovering and thriving after physical, mental, emotional, and/or social disruption?
    • Thursday: Transformation – Have you experienced physical and/or emotional change through flashes of intuition, insight, or vision?
    • Friday: Acceptance – What does acceptance mean to you, and how has it affected your health and life?
    • Saturday: Gratitude – How has being thankful improved your sense of well-being?

    If listening to your body has fueled your quest for personal growth, or if your self-development efforts have had an impact on your ability to listen to your body, come and join in the discussion this week. We are looking forward to sharing this part of our body listening journey!

    Gail Moser

    My questions for you related to this topic are about how practicing mindfulness has affected your relationship with yourself and others. Has your attitude towards yourself been impacted? Have your relationships/interactions with others been impacted by your mindfulness practice? Has mindfulness increased your awareness of your input into social relationships or increased your acceptance of help from others?
    From reflecting on my own experiences, I’ve realized that mindfulness, and particularly the mindful therapies I’ve been working with, have had a really positive impact on my relationships. Firstly with myself. Acceptance and compassion are two of the things that have led me to feel gentler with myself and my limitations. I think this, in turn, has affected my relationships with others in a couple of ways. It was hard for me to feel like I had anything to offer in a friendship when I was stuck at home having a hard time getting around, and constantly stressed out from the pain. I was no fun to be around at all, I thought. For a long time I didn’t work on my friendships or relationships at all. I focused solely on myself, thinking “once I kick this pain then I’ll go back to having a life and being with other people.” What this ended up doing was disconnecting myself from my social network and looking back I realize I was wasting time by putting my life on hold. I’ve been searching for more balance now, in focusing on myself and my relationships with others. I think acceptance and compassion have enabled me to feel more comfortable with myself in my relationships with others, which I think has also made me more pleasant to be around – bonus!
    Another aspect of my relationships that have really improved through acceptance and compassion is asking for and accepting help from others. I hate to ask for help! I value my independence, and even though I love to help other people it feels like such a burden and imposition to ask for help from others. At the peak of my pain, I was relying on friends and family for everything – grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and even help caring for my pets. It was really difficult for me to accept that I was in a position where I could not repay the favors being done for me, and social norms taught me that I needed to reciprocate! I think therapy really helped me deal with this, and humbled me to the fact sometimes this is what it means to be human.
    #mindfulrelationships #compassion #acceptance #connection
    Have any of you noticed any aspect of your relationships that has changed through mindful practices?

    Rachel Carriere

    In reply to: Managing Expectations

    The mind is a powerful thing. I used to have pain all the time and saw many people for it – chiro, physio, and massage. I don’t remember what it was that clicked for me but I had a turning point where I was not down all the time because of the pain, or I was not in pain because I was not down all the time (chicken and egg!). Optimism and positivity have reframed my view and everything seems much more manageable and I am much more laid back about things. Having a sense of humor helps. #posititivity

    I think what made a big difference for me, now that I think about it, was a big attitude shift. Somewhere I stopped blaming everyone else for everything, shed the victim mentality, and took responsibility for my actions and future. Once I realized that I was in control of my own situation, things looked much brighter after that! #acceptance


    As I have been reflecting on the impact of mindfulness on my pain management, I’ve come to realize that one of the major changes it has provoked in me has to do with how I approach my life and treatment. Working to live in the present, to accept myself as I am, and to loosen the hold of my vision of how my body should feel and what my life should be like. This is really all about managing expectations.
    I’ve notice this impact in two different ways. The first has to do with acceptance. Through mindfulness, and mindful therapy in particular, I’ve been focusing a lot on accepting my body’s limitations. I’ve come to appreciate the complicated structures that we are, and wonder at how intricate and involved even simple movements are. I have been trying not to take that for granted. This has cultivated an incredible sense of gratitude over what I can still do, and I have found that I am less frustrated about what I am limited from doing. My expectations over my movement and my body’s capabilities have completely shifted. And in turn I find myself less stressed, which eases a great deal of tension I’m facing. It’s all connected!
    The second kind of effect that I’ve noticed is with positivity. At the peak of my stress and pain, I became a bit despondent. “I’ll try this new thing, but nothing has worked so I’m sure this won’t either.” That became the way I entered a new treatment. I have been working to let go of expectations and approach new therapies and exercises with an open mind. I think that I’ve actually been having better results with new things simply because I’m more open to them, and I’ve found that I am not alone. I’ve learned that mindfulness and mindful therapies can stimulate patient expectations that treatment will help, which can correlate with improved responses to treatment. (This is discussed in Day, et al., the article I mention in the topic on Coping.)
    Have you found that harboring positive expectations has made an impact in your body’s response to new therapies and pain management techniques? Have you found instead that harboring any expectations at all creates a roadblock to body listening? How have your expectations around various treatments affected your perception of the outcome?
    #mindfulexpectations #acceptance #gratitude #positivity

    Rachel Carriere

    In reply to: Emotional resilience

    ListenToYourBody, I can really relate to this. Acceptance, understanding, and self-compassion have also been necessary for me to cope with my chronic pain, both for my relationship with myself AND my relationship with others. I try not to think of it as selfishness, but as making sure that I’m doing what I can do be present with myself and others. Sometimes for me that means just acknowledging when things are really bad and taking the time to work on them as best I can. #selfcompassion #relationshipswithpain #acknowledgment
    In our week 9 exploration we are talking about mindfulness and how we’ve used it to help us cope with our condition and our relationships (inward and outward). On Saturday 5/7 we’ll be talking specifically about relationships. I hope you’ll tune into the discussion and contribute if so moved.

    Rachel Carriere

    In reply to: What do you call it?


    I want to share that my experiences with cancer and pain connected to this disease and its treatment also involve different stages of mental healing.  To simplify:

    1. Shock – why is this happening to me?

    2. Fear – what’s going to happen next?

    3. Coping/acceptance – is this the new normal?  Will I always experience pain?  What can I do to get my life back/return to normalcy?

    4. Grief – why did my body let me down?

    5. Guilt – how come I am responding to treatment and others are not?

    6. Heightened awareness – moments seem to count more, I am more aware of various aches and pains.  I am much more aware of how cancer has affected so many.

    7. Normalcy – more aware that not every pain is associated with cancer/treatment, back to living my life.  I am more accepting of the present and see my body as not letting me down but getting me through this.

    8.  Cycles – periodically, especially before a lab test or scan when I’m awaiting results, the old feelings come back, but cycle through much faster

    I hope this is helpful.

    #Mental Healing



    sgc1203, I think you’ve said it! Philosophically, I am very much in the “accept it and let it go” camp.

    Also, it took me a second to let your statement, “Sometimes it’s just easier to push through it than to address it head on, you know?”, sink in — but it’s true. One can think, yeah, just this one time, and next time I’ll address it… but next time it’s just as hard.

    I do try to strike a balance though… to spend a little (well, understatement) time to understand the places in which I have muscle tension, to figure out my food sensitivities, etc.

    #acceptance #letitgo #pushingthrough #balance #taketimetounderstand

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