Healthy relationships start with the relationship we have with ourselves! All relationships are enhanced and thrive under the same conditions, just as all relationships are hindered under the same conditions. This includes the relationship we have with ourselves. Developing the qualities that heal and enhance the relationship you have with yourself means developing the qualities that heal and enhance our relationships with all things and all beings.
To quote Einstein, “all knowledge comes from experience.” Our experience is our teacher, and our teacher has taught us: The harder we are on anything, the faster we destroy it. Doesn’t matter whether it’s your automobile, body or marriage. If you want something to last a long time, the key is gentleness, not aggressiveness. Our experience has taught us that healthy relationships don’t respond positively to force and aggression, and it’s a cultural delusion to believe our bodies do. Although our culture has taught us “no pain, no gain“ and “more is better.“ The truth is, “no pain, no injury“ and “more is the same as not enough, it’s an extreme; how about something more personal, something in between.“ This something in between might be a foreign concept to Western culture; its called “moderation.“ Experience has taught us the keys to healthy relationships are benevolent qualities like being a good listener, gentleness, humility, calmness, patience and acceptance, amongst many other benevolent qualities. Can you imagine our physical health depends on these exact same qualities?
Exercise is a time dedicated to health and wellness. It’s a time period we are supposed to be focused on doing good to our bodies and mind. Our bodies are our sacred primary relationship, our bodies speak to us in the succinct language of sensation. Just like the wellness of all relationships depends on engagement, not avoidance, including the relationship we have with our bodies, these same relationships need the engagement to be gentle, not aggressive or forceful. So in order for our exercises to be beneficial, we have to approach and perform these exercises in a certain way. We have to be listening (patience & being a good listener) to how things feel so we can be gentle (moderation); when we feel we have reached a degree where the exercise is no longer gentle or moderate, we need to back off (humility), as we experience our boundaries of no longer being calm or safe, and our bodies are asking us to stop in that language of sensation (pain), we need to be respectful (acceptance). As we integrate these qualities into our exercises, which is what is necessary for benefit, we develop these qualities just like we develop muscles, by using them. These developed qualities benefit all our relationships. It’s like when you strengthen your biceps in exercise, those biceps help you pick up groceries and children. In other words, the muscles you develop in exercise help you outside of exercise. Same with these benevolent qualities, they are like muscles; if you use them, they develop, but also, if you don’t use them, they atrophy. As you use them, they strengthen and start to benefit all relationships. So health and wellness for the most part comes from a mind full of benevolent qualities, as benevolent qualities reduce stress. Stress is the precursor to most all disease. These same benevolent qualities are the foundation to all healthy relationships.
Just as it is absurd to try and change yourself to fit some misguided cultural ideal of how you should be, jamming and forcing yourself to fit some image that’s been implanted in our minds by family, media and culture, it is equally absurd to be jamming and forcing your opinions down other people’s throat. Reducing stress (health) means loving and accepting yourself as you are. You could say health and self-love (benevolent qualities) are one and the same. Enhancing and healing relationships with others means loving and accepting them as they are. I hate to get to mushy on you all, but it looks like love is the answer to most any question of health and wellness.
With love, bryan