I went running with a friend the other day. It was s a nice opportunity to both exercise and connect. We found ourselves talking about friendship — in particular, the importance of showing up.
“Showing up” really covers a lot. It can be literal, as in making the time to be with your friend, in real time, whether or not you can be in the same room. It can also be figurative, as in being attentive and emotionally responsive to your friend.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people are not very good friends with their bodies. We shame and judge our bodies. We push them beyond their limits sometimes and leave them neglected on the couch other times. We ignore their complaints, starve them, poison them, deny them rest, and then complain when they don’t perform well.
I want to encourage you to consider “showing up” for your body. Listen, be compassionate, be trustworthy, and be honest. Here are some practical ways to do this:
1) Take time to rest and recharge. Get enough sleep (it doesn’t have to be all in one 8-hour stretch, but that’s another subject). Get a massage. Feed it real food.
2) Treat it to exercise, consistently. Move your body because it was meant to move. Enjoy what it can do and give it some challenge. Use the experience as an opportunity to listen and learn.
3) Be faithful. Your body helps you navigate and experience life. Thank it and speak to it respectfully. Be kind and appreciative. This is mental and emotional work—more so because our society sends us a lot of dangerous messages. It may be the most important, though, because it supports the other two.
Showing up for your friend builds a strong relationship that will last the test of time, which is pretty important when that friend is yourself.