Wednesday, October 3, 2012

GRATITUDE - October 3, 2012


Once I came to grips with the disheartening fact that I wasn't going to be 6'4" (topped out at 5'7" if I throw my shoulders back), I have been ok with my body for the most part.  We all get-what-we-get, thanks to our parents and their parents.  We can make it leaner, fatter, tanner, etc. but we are pretty much stuck with the basics (unless you wish plastic surgery on yourself).  Keep in mind it is the only one you will ever have.  Take good care oif it.

Gratitude is all about appreciating what you HAVE and not wasting time dwelling on what you don't have.  There is some power and pro-activity in, getting and being thankful, for a bigger house, better job, nicer car, but they are 'THINGS'.  Learning to appreciate and be grateful for God's gifts of the 'non-things' and seeing them for their advantages is the tricky part.

Couldn't find a recent pic of myself,
but I figured this was close enough.
Since I retired 95 days ago (but who is counting), I was concerned that I might get out of shape just 'hanging out'.  I solved that with a health club membership and some specific tips from a personal trainer.  Other than when I was captain of the high school wrestling team when I was 17, I am probably in the best shape of my life at 65.

I could dwell on the parts that are diseased or don't work like or look like they did 50 years ago, but I am mostly pleased with what I see (...being grateful for bad eyesight and a forgetful memory can be a good thing).

That said - saw a great observation from a 'Gratitude' poster I follow, Paul Taubman, today that rings so true:

 It is easy to say, “Express Your Gratitude.” Throughout life, you’ll discover personal attributes that frustrate, challenge, or maybe even disgust you; gratitude may be the furthest thing from your mind at that point. Perhaps you don’t have those beautiful blue eyes you want. Maybe you always wanted to be tall but, alas, you’re short. You might pine for a thin, lithe body but you’ve got a thicker, more muscular frame. What can you do to be grateful for and accept your body just the way it is?

These action tips can help you feel good about your body:

1. Remind yourself to be grateful for the only body you have. It might sound silly but, unless you have lots of money and time to pay for and undergo cosmetic surgeries, this is the body you’ve been given. Accepting it will save you a lot of grief. Think of the alternative – what if you did not have a body? Thinking this way makes it easier for the gratitude to start shining!

2. Survey your body “systems.” How well does your body work for you? Examine the intricacies of your very own body and its functionality. You’ll likely be pleased at all the things your body does for you.

3. Express your gratitude for your positive attributes. If you have short, always neat hair, good for you. Strong arms due to working out? Great. Say to yourself, “Wow! Although my vision is not very good, with my contacts I have perfect vision!” Maybe you have clear skin or beautiful white teeth. These are attributes to be proud of.

4. Notice when your body works well for you. Maybe you almost missed the bus this morning but you ran like a racehorse and jumped on the bus just before it pulled away. You must admit, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to run fast enough to catch the bus. Think about and be grateful for how well your body can respond to your needs.

5. What do you want to change about your physique? Is it do-able? Be frank with yourself. If you want to be taller, you can buy shoes with higher heels. Reflect on your possibilities.

6. Develop a realistic plan for change. In the event you wish to build muscles in your arms, it can be done. But you must consult with exercise coaches and similar experts to achieve the results you want. Pay attention to those attributes that you have the power to change.

It’s wise to ensure you’re getting the best information in your efforts to alter your physical self. Write out your plan about what you want to change and how you will do it. Then, ask a friend to read it over to see if your ideas for changing your body are realistic.

7. Commit to your plan to change what’s possible and set aside time to achieve your goals. Once you realize what you do have the power to change and you have written a realistic plan, vow to follow your plan.

Allow time in an average day to work your plan. You’re forming a new habit and it must be repeated several times weekly to achieve the results you’re after. As you progress through your plan, take time to celebrate your accomplishments and be grateful that you have reached a milestone, no matter how small!

8. Deal in healthy ways with things you can’t change. Rather than get disappointed or angry about one of your body’s attributes, recognize that certain people are born with certain characteristics that likely are unable to be changed. But it’s okay because you’ve still survived. You’re still here at this moment.

Embracing your physical appearance just the way you are is the best route to living a life of self-confidence and serenity.

9. Take care of your body. The best way to show your love for your body is to take good care of it. Notice your appearance. Use lotions and moisturizers to maintain supple, smooth skin. Keep your hair healthy. Take part in regular and consistent exercise. Provide good nourishment to your body.

No matter what size, weight, or physical attributes you have, when you take care of your body, you’re showing the love you have for yourself.

Accepting your body image is so important to your everyday existence. When you can say, “I’m okay just the way I am,” you’ll lead a calmer, more settled, happier, and more gratitude filled life.

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