I started smoking when I was 13 years old. I grew to love that cigarette and depend on it with every inch of my life. When I saw I was almost out, I would start panicking and if I didn’t have money, I took on the form of meth addict, searching high and low for spare change. Back then, cigarettes were cheap and somehow, I always found the money for them. I loved them. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. They were my friend.
When I found out I was pregnant 17-plus years ago, those cigarettes became something else entirely. In a blink of an eye, I went from loving my cigarette to feeling like a complete murderer when I inhaled. I “believed” that every time I puffed on a cigarette, a toxic cloud encircled my baby, postponing life and making it unbearable for this new life to thrive. It took me a week to quit. Every cigarette I inhaled, I grew more and more desperate to stop. Every puff was a brutal reminder that I was hurting my baby. I quit. My husband smoked, but that didn’t bother me. I just knew I wouldn’t hurt my baby no matter how bad I wanted a cigarette. When she was born, she was super healthy and perfect. I nursed her for six weeks, and when she no longer relied on my body for health, I ran like a marathon runner to the gas station and puffed the crap out of a pack.
What’s the point to this story?
It’s simple. I “believed” that smoking was bad for my baby so much so that I couldn’t bare to inhale another puff. However, I didn’t “believe” that my life was just as valuable.
I have learned that a belief is simply a thought you keep thinking. A belief is not necessarily true or fact. It’s just something that sticks in your mind and becomes a catalyst for the way you live. If that belief is somehow proved wrong, then with enough of the same, new thought, that old belief is replaced with a new, hopefully more improved thought. However, sometimes, our beliefs, especially about our bodies, are negative and therefore, bad beliefs.
How can we be good to our bodies if we “believe” they are ugly, bad, disgusting, too fat, too thin, too flabby, etc? Have you ever took care of anything that you hated? Ever?
When I had my baby inside me, I knew how precious this little crazy girl was even before I knew who she was. Somehow, society convinced me that smoking while pregnant was HORRIBLE and I believed it wholeheartedly, but at the same time, I wasn’t convinced that smoking was bad enough to quit for me. Why?
Two reasons. One – because I was aware enough while I smoked to imagine the smoke entering my body causing damage to my baby. I actually saw and felt this baby almost coughing while I inhaled. My imagination was so vivid that I could not enjoy a cigarette. I actually hated when the urge came because then I knew I would have to envision my baby coughing and struggling while I inhaled. I know this is silly, but it was my belief and therefore, I felt it to be real. Nobody could convince me otherwise. My overactive imagination didn’t produce those visions before or after I was pregnant, so I didn’t “feel” the realness of what smoking is doing to me and my body. And two – the belief was so strong that the pleasure I took from smoking was soooo overtaken by the intense guilt, making it impossible to continue smoking any longer. That same guilt did not transfer over to my own body when I was done nursing.
Changing your thoughts
This is the fun part. I was having one of those “hippy acid tripping” experiences the other week. I looked at my bare leg and I poked my finger at it as if it wasn’t mine and I’ve never seen anything like it before. Before you judge me, know that I realize the silliness in this “experiment.” Hahaha. I am completely aware that this may sound almost alien-esque, but to lead with the spirit, I’ve realized one of the greatest tools is to see something you’ve always seen, but instead of intellectualizing it and calling it a leg, you feel it and look at it without judgement. I almost went inside my leg and felt all of the life within it. Consider what is going on inside this body of yours. You have trillions of “intelligent” cells working right now on your behalf. They are intelligent because they do what they were born to do and have a purpose and fulfill that purpose until they are replaced. These intelligent, microscopic cells work without you telling them to work. Trillions of cells are doing what they must to take care of you.
Put a trillion people in the same area and I promise you, you won’t get even close to the same precision as your cells.
Look at a scratch or a bruise. Imagine all the work that happens inside your body to heal you. Feel the elasticity of your skin. This enormous organ feels good when someone embraces you and feels bad when you get hurt. It is flexible and durable. Is there anything man-made that even comes close? You have seven trillion nerves in your body. Seven TRILLION. All of these nerves are on watch, keeping you safe all the time without even so much as a thought.
I could go on and on. This is your beautiful body. I don’t care if you hate what you see in the mirror, your body is amazing. This is how you change your beliefs about your body. Instead of using the ego and comparing yourself to what you see on TV, feel the life inside you and become aware of the mass of soldiers working to protect and love you even if you don’t love you.
Assignment for today: Take a body part; a hand, a finger, a leg, a toe, and feel the life within it. Go inside your body and really appreciate this amazing miracle that gives you the ability to move and speak and hear and taste and feel and love.
Once you love your body, then and only then, will you take care of the preciousness of this gift. Be easy on yourself though. Don’t demand that you change overnight. It doesn’t happen. Just make a conscious effort today to feel the life inside, and begin changing your beliefs by changing your thoughts.
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