What Listening to Your Body (Can) Mean

“Listen to your body.”

I think it’s high time we gave this phrase a little scrutiny …

… challenging the assumption that listening to one’s body will always equate with the easiest, least painful route. (You can hear this subtext in lots of mindfulness-based movement classes, including many I’ve led—something I’m re-examining now—this kind of “listen to your body = if your knee hurts, back off it”).

While I do think this is generally sound advice, and a beautiful antidote to “push it!” fitness mentality, if we set up shop here in the “ahhhhh, okay, I’m listening and easing everywhere” then that place, like anywhere, can become a little prison.

It’s very sweet there, with waterfalls and a zen garden, but it’s a prison nonetheless.

You can listen to your child ask for a cookie time and time again. Perhaps sometimes you allow them to have one, and sometimes you don’t.

In neither case are you assuming your child is stupid, just that they, of course, want what they want, but you as the parent are holding a bigger picture. That’s your role. And you can and will, of course, make a really good decision as a parent with either outcome.

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