Your Body, Your Life, Your Way!

As a Bodyworker of over 20 years I am constantly amazed at the way each person's body talks to them. Stiffness in this joint or pain in that ligament, an upset stomach, nervousness and the list goes on. Yet something that intrigues me more is that so few people actually know how to listen to their bodies, and fewer still know how to express what is real for them, as a felt sense, in any given moment. Part of this is due to what I call the adoption of advertising language as social language. Basically, advertising tells us what we need and want, what is good or bad for us, and who and what to trust. This allows us to not have to take responsibility for ourselves - "the ad said it was so". As a point of clarity regarding this blog, I am regarding all forms of mass media as "advertising".

This can be evidenced when listening to people talk. I'm constantly hearing people using the word "you" when they are clearly talking about themselves. For example one person will be talking to another about a specific experience and will say something like, "When my boss tells me how to do (something) it makes you feel like an idiot because you have to listen to the same thing all the time, and you wish he/she'd just go away" or something to that effect. By saying "you" instead of "me" the other person is told how they think and feel about a situation that has nothing to do with them. This can be justified as including the other person, yet it's not. And some may think that saying "you" is harmless. Read on.

Another example of dis-empowered language is when 'the Husband' wants to use the only car the family has to visit his mates for a Barbeque. Instead of saying to his Wife "I'd like to take the car on Saturday to see my friends" he starts a very long and drawn out conversation with something like "what are you doing on Saturday?" This can be any situation where one person has a want or need and for whatever reason is not willing or unable to state their need or want directly. Putting the needs of another before oneself is altruistically praised yet in its unhealthy state is called co-dependance or confluence. Why is putting 'me' first (when needed) a 'bad' thing?

So, what does one do about changing languages away from that which is socially expected? As a Somatic Sexologist I have found that clients benefit most by using "I" statements instead of "you", "we", "us" or "our" (where appropriate). Try saying the following aloud and see if there is a difference for you between owned (I) and dis-empowered (the other).

"It's frustrating when you're at the shop and you're just about to get in the queue and someone cuts in front of you." Replace this with "I get frustrated at the shop when I'm just about to get in the queue and someone cuts in front of me." Or, to be more specific when talking generally, one could say that "it is frustrating when one is cut off in the supermarket queue" but that can be hard to get used to for some.

"Children should be seen and not heard." Replace with "I would like children to be seen and not heard" This is chosen for effect, not personal preference. Anyone over 40 will know this phrase and may or may not believe it. I don't. When spoken in a way that forces responsibility to be taken, from an I perspective, it no longer becomes a 'fact' just what the speaker wants/desires. This also means that other people are free to accept or reject the statement.

"I need to get fit" replace with "I want to get fit" This can give a great deal of freedom from the "shoulds." By replacing some unknown sense of obligation (should/need to/have to) with want, the speaker is free to choose from a more authentic, or genuine place.

"You make me ... " replace with "I feel...." No one person can have such an impact on another so as to make them do anything. Even in this situation, there is still choice.

A couple more little language nuances is the use of "it" and "this" as a means of avoiding specifics. For example I might talk about this subject and say that it's quite a common experience that people talk like this, and that when it happens it's fine that it happens in this way because it is common when it happens and this is ok because it happens like this a lot. Here I've confined that context and still you (the reader) can discern the meaning of "it" and "this". Imagine though if the context wasn't limited. I'll invite you to keep this in mind when involved in your next conversation. Where do you hear it and this and assume you know what the context is, or if you're speaking and assuming that the person listening understands. Food for thought.

By learning to speak from this integrated, essential part of self, in an embodied fashion, a new vitality is brought to having needs met, and being able to clearly meet the needs of another, if one so chooses.

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