Self-Care: Are You Resistant to Health and Fitness?By Dr. Margaret Paul
November 03, 2014
Do you find yourself resisting or procrastinating taking loving care of yourself?
Of course you want to be healthy and fit! Who doesn't? But are you always motivated and willing to do what you need to do to create health and fitness?
Are you motivated to:
- Regularly do the workout or exercise your body needs to get and stay fit?
- Eat the foods you need to get and stay healthy?
- Avoid the foods that erode health and fitness?
- Keep on learning about what creates health and fitness?
Or, do you find yourself:
- Procrastinating going to the gym or doing other forms of exercise?
- Eating sugar and other junk food?
- Avoiding even knowing that you are responsible for your health and fitness?
Procrastinating and resisting are ways that you might have learned to avoid feelings that you believe you cannot manage.
Why Did We Learn to Resist and Procrastinate?
Many of us grew up with parents or other caregivers who did not know how to love us in the way we needed to be loved. Not feeling loved is deeply lonely and heartbreaking to a small child. These feelings of loneliness and heartbreak, along with feeling helpless over getting the love we needed or avoiding the disapproval or punishment we could not handle, led us to learn to protect against these very painful feelings. We all learned many ways of protecting. You might have learned to protect by:
- Withdrawing, numbing out, dissociating
- Getting angry, blaming, having temper tantrums
- Turning to food, alcohol or drugs
- Turning to TV, the computer, gaming
- Turning to sex, pornography
- Turning to over-achieving
- Becoming a "good" child - complying, giving yourself up
- Judging and shaming yourself
- Resisting and procrastinating
These are just a few of the many ways you might have learned to protect against pain. Stop for a moment and think about what you do to avoid pain in your life.
One of the major experiences that many of us had as children is that numerous adults tried to control us. Parents, teachers, religious leaders, siblings, friends - there may have been many people in your life who tried to control you with their judgments, criticisms, punishments, threats, withdrawal of love, invasiveness or violence. You might have experienced various levels of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse that was deeply hurtful, terrifying and traumatizing to you.
Or, you might have had parents or others caregivers who tried to be kind to you, but were unloving to themselves. They might have treated themselves badly - being addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, TV, anger, compliance and so on. For better or worse, they were your role models for self-care.
The problem is that all the ways these people treated you or themselves, and all the ways you learned to protect against pain, got programmed into your brain – your wounded self. Our wounded self comes into being to protect against the pain we cannot manage as we grow up. This is the part that is filled with many false beliefs about who we are and about what we can and cannot control.
Let's say that you wake up early, having decided the night before that you will definitely go to the gym this morning, but you end up not going - again.
What Is Happening Here?
What may be happening is that one part of your programmed wounded self - maybe an adolescent part who believes that it can control you through judgment - has been saying in a determined and parental voice, "I HAVE to get to the gym this morning," or "I SHOULD go to the gym right now!"
Another part of your wounded self may kick in - a younger part who learned to resist being controlled by your parents or other important adults in your life. This younger part says, "I don't have to do what you say. You are not the boss of me."
Now you have an internal power struggle, with one part of your wounded self trying to have control through self-judgment and another part of your wounded self resisting being controlled. This inner power struggle creates a sense of immobilization, resulting in you not making it to the gym, and then perhaps feeling even more judgmental toward yourself.
Is There a Way Out of Procrastination and Resistance?
The way out is to develop your loving adult self. The loving adult is the part of you who comes into being when you shift your intention from protecting to learning. The wounded self is always intent on protecting against pain with some form of controlling behavior, which is what creates all the problems. The intention of the loving adult is to learn about what is loving to you, and then to take loving action in your behalf. The loving adult is who you are when your intent is to learn about loving yourself with a personal source of spiritual Guidance - your own higher self, your concept of God, a guardian angel, a spirit guide, an energy of love, or an inner wise self. Practicing Inner Bonding teaches you how to connect with your personal source of Guidance and develop your loving adult.
When your loving adult is in charge rather than your wounded self, then you are able to take the actions that support your highest good. Instead of telling yourself that you HAVE to or SHOULD go to the gym, you tune into what you WANT to do and what is loving to you. Perhaps you really like going to the gym but you just don't want to be controlled by your judgmental wounded self. Or perhaps working out at the gym is not something you love to do and you would much rather dance or skateboard or play tennis or run or bike or hike. It is far easier and more loving to yourself to do what you love to do, rather than what you think you have to do.
The more you practice being a loving adult, the more you establish new neural pathways in your brain for taking loving care of yourself.
If you are resisting or procrastinating, you might want to establish a devoted Inner Bonding process to learn how to develop your loving adult, so that you can stay on the path of being healthy and fit.
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