Hello and happy Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed the long weekend. Not being in classes at the moment led me to forget that it’s actually a holiday weekend and a lot of people had off.I went to go to one of the local lakes for a walk but they were charging to park, which I didn’t think they would be because this time of year, they only charge on the weekends. I can’t wait for the days when you don’t have to pay at all to park there, even on the weekends. I think they stop sometime this month though, so it is coming soon!
Today I wanted to talk about listening to yourself. It’s something that can be difficult to do, especially if what our minds or bodies are telling us, is not what we want to hear. We are SO much smarter than we give ourselves credit for, and sometimes, we need to put our ego aside, listen to and trust our intuition.
In the past, I really used to struggle with listening to myself. In the depths of my eating disorder, I didn’t listen to my body. Like ever. If I was feeling hungry and it wasn’t an “allowed” eating time, I ignored that hunger. If I was feeling really tired or even had a cold, I still worked out, I didn’t rest, even though my body CRAVED it. Even if I felt pain, I forced myself to go to the gym. I didn’t care if it meant i might further the pain and cause injury, because to me, not going to the gym for one day meant I would gain 50 pounds. I remember during my eating disorder constantly feeling tired. All I wanted to do was sleep. I literally had no energy at all. But still, I worked out everyday. I was even at the time, on my high school cheerleading team where we had practice almost everyday for 2 hours at least. But cheer practice didn’t count as a workout to me, I still had to go workout for an hour after, despite being completely lack of energy.
Recovery has helped teach me to listen to myself more. Sometimes, I still have a hard time listening to myself, of course, but I’ve gotten a lot better. For example, while I was still at school, I started a couch to 5k training plan. It was going great and I felt awesome until the 3rd week of it. I got on the treadmill and my knees started to hurt a little at first. I kept running though and after a minuet or so, it went away so I thought it was all good. The next day, I woke up and my knees were bothering me. I had planned on going to spin class that day anyway, so I took the day off from running, hoping I would be all better the next day. When I woke up the following day, my knees didn’t seem to hurt so I picked back up with my training and started to run. Then, they started to hurt again, but I ignored the pain. I kept running, which wasn’t very smart of me. I didn’t listen. That day was actually the day I withdrew from my school so I went home that night. That next day, my knees still hurt. My first thought was to ignore the pain and do the training scheduled for that day. Then, I took a step back and said “Wait Michelle, you’re knees hurt, and it feels worse when you run. You need to rest. If you push yourself and don’t listen to the pain, you’re just going to get hurt and then you may never be able to run.”So you know what, I didn’t run that day. I didn’t do anything else either. You know what else? I didn’t run for the next week. I waited until the pain was COMPLETELY gone until I tried running again. Today, I did my training and I felt great! No pain at all and I didn’t even lose any of the progress that I had made, which is part of the reason for my initial hesitation. This is such an amazing thing to recognize that I was in pain and that I needed to rest. Yeah, it might not have been what I wanted and put me behind on the training, but who cares? It’s not like there is a time restriction. I could’ve caused serious injury, more than just a little soreness in my knee if I didn’t LISTEN to my body.
Another recent example of my listening to myself is dropping out of my college. I was so incredibly unhappy in this school and knew it was not the right place for me. However, I refused to accept this and kept telling myself that I “had” to stay. Eventually, I couldn’t take the pressure I was placing on myself anymore, and had to listen to my gut feeling that was telling me I deserved better. I deserve happiness. I didn’t want to trust myself at first, because I was scared. I didn’t want to get off the beaten path. I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to love college and be happy there. I didn’t want to leave, even though I knew it was what was best for me. I wanted to try and stick it out for the semester and then transfer. It was hard to listen to myself when what my heart was telling me, wasn’t what everyone else is doing or what society perceives as normal. But, I finally gave in and trusted myself that I knew what was truly best for myself, and I do not regret that decision one bit.
Listening to yourself comes in different forms. We need to listen to our bodies. Feed them when we’re hungry, stop when we’re satisfied. Rest when you’re tired, stop when you feel pain. Stretch when you feel tight or sore. Take breaks when needed. I know sometimes I don’t know how to stop or say no. I put too many things on my plate and end up feeling overwhelmed and anxious. It’s okay to say no or stop and take a break. Regroup, gather your senses. We also need to listen to our hearts and minds. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to that. Trust your gut feeling. Trust yourself enough to know that you will make the right decision. If you aren’t benefitting from a situation, listen to what your heart is telling you, and get out of it. There are so many different ways we can and need to listen to ourselves. I’ve only named a few that I can speak on from experience and are relevant to me at the current moment.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come with being able to listen to myself. I know I still have some ways to go though. I shouldn’t have to think twice more often than not. I shouldn’t push myself to a breaking point or need an intervention to have my eyes opened. In the end, it’s just you. It all comes down to you. You are in charge of your happiness and well being. It’s time to listen to what your mind, body, and soul are telling you.
Now tell me…
Do or did you ever struggle with listening to yourself?
How have you listened to yourself lately?
Talk to you soon xoxo