The Words We Use


Our precision (not perfection) at naming the moment to moment and daily truths of life in a body, will determine how well we can respond to what it needs and what it is saying; which will determine the overall feel and quality of our lives. The words we choose about our bodies carry great weight. They shape the stories we tell ourselves, revealing powerful belief systems about how we really think about ourselves and the world.

The words reflect not only what we think is happening, but what we believe is possible in terms of health and healing. Most of all, the words we choose determine how we feel about these bodies of ours, and what it means to be alive.

When my mother was still living, we had this bit we would do. She would disparage some part of her body (the stomach that was never flat enough because of the four cesareans and one hysterectomy, the skin that was too loose because she was in her 80’s, her weight on any given day that she tracked repeatedly by daily weigh-ins on the bathroom scale), and I would look at her and tilt my head. To which she would respond, “Oh yeah, I’m not supposed to say that.” 

It was funny. And not. After years of us doing this bit together, although she had come to know that if she ran her body down in my presence I was going to challenge her, I don’t think she ever actually knew the extent of what she was doing to herself. I don’t think she ever allowed herself to feel the impact of maligning her body, sometimes even with great disgust at its inability to measure up to some externalized state of perfection. I don’t think she ever got it was her own self she was running down.  

I will say here to you what I said to her: Your body is listening, and the words you use about it hurt or heal. If this makes sense to you, practice being more mindful about the words you use in reference to your own body. When you catch yourself using hurtful words, say, “I’m sorry. I take that back.” 

If we use pejorative, fear-based, and negative phrases about our own bodies and what is happening for them, our ability to see clearly will be grossly obscured and misleading; rendering any “observations” we make, inaccurate. False. Potentially even detrimental in outcome because we have misnamed them. Meaning, we won’t be able to take good care of ourselves. 

Not only that, any ongoing negativity towards, and about our bodies, will have a detrimental impact on the overall experience of being alive. As in, it won’t feel good to be here. 

P.S. If you’d like to feel better in your body, consider joining my health and healing community at: