Turning Gratitude Inward
Around Thanksgiving, we tend to focus a lot on expressing gratitude. For the family members and friends who surround us, for the roof over our head, for the food on our table, for the clothes on our back. This is external gratitude — appreciating and being grateful for the blessings all around us. We hear how important it is not to take what we have for granted. While I agree, with all of this focus on external gratitude, we often find ourselves taking ourselves for granted.
One thing, one very important thing, we take for granted is our body. Have you stopped to consider lately all that your body has done for you? This is what I like to call turning gratitude inward.
We don’t often turn our gratitude inward and appreciate our bodies. Why? Because we spend so much of our time and energy at war with our bodies. Because we can’t see and many of us don’t understand all the hard work that our bodies do. Because we’ve been trained to distrust our bodies, to control them, to compare them to other bodies, and to value what our bodies look like over health our health.
I call for a ceasefire. Let’s throw up a figurative peace sign and take a moment to express a little gratitude for all that our bodies do.
- Did you know that your body is made up of trillions of cells whose purpose is to keep you alive?
- Did you know that your liver and kidneys’ jobs are to detoxify our bodies? No cleanse necessary!
- Did you know that pain, illness, hunger, fullness, even joy — all of these are our bodies’ way of communicating with us? Steering us in the right direction. Protecting us.
- Did you know that your digestive tract breaks down all of the foods you consume into usable fuel and other important nutrients?
- Did you know that your heart beats and sends your blood traveling thousands of miles every day, transporting valuable nutrients, hormones, and other important substances all over your body?
- Did you know that your brain is made up of approximately 100 billion neurons that communicate with each other & other parts of the body constantly?
- Did you know that your bones, muscles, ligaments, and joints all work together as a team to allow you to move with ease?
- Did you know that your lungs act as a natural air filtration system?
Every cell in your body, every muscle fiber, every nook and cranny has a purpose that’s all part of a greater purpose to enable you to achieve yours.
Let’s give our bodies some credit. They’re pretty incredible! So incredible that most of their work goes unnoticed and happens without a hiccup. They forgive us if we mistreat them. And they certainly don’t give up on us easily. They love us unconditionally. So let’s not take our bodies for granted. While they’ll never ask for it and they may not expect it, they deserve a “thank you” too.
by Jessica L. Betts, MS, RD, LD