Standing Tall

When you find yourself in a sad place, melancholy and moody there is a simple way to change how we feel.  Now is the time to take a stand!

It is fascinating to me the difference between a slump and a success.  When you look at someone, you can almost see it, simply by looking at them.  What is the magic difference?  Posture.  A simple straightening of the back can change the way you see the world and the way the world sees you.  When we are think of our lives in terms of our body, mind, and spirit, is so easy to separate them out into disconnected segments.  We put them into different compartments and do not notice the connection between them.   However, I have found the opposite to be true over and over again. 

The body-mind-spirit is a continuum of connections.

The body holds the memory of our emotions.  For example, have you ever tried to put a physical smile on your face when you are feeling down?  It really does ease the pain a few degrees.  Try it now.  Put a smile on your face and notice your heart begin to feel light.  Standing tall has a similar effect.  When you stand tall the sadness may still be there, but there is less of it, along with more confidence to take on the issue at hand.   

Our memory of standing up is confidence and the power of “I can.” 

The thing is to remember is that we were not born standing up.  When we were young standing up was such a huge accomplishment that took months of practice.  Practicing what seems simple and natural now as a human to stand on our own two feet.  We forget how much we had to practice.  Over and over again we would practice standing up, and then fall onto our bottoms.  We might hold onto a chair or a couch to practice with support for awhile until we found the courage to let go.  We didn’t even bother to walk yet . Letting go of the extra support and the excitement of standing alone, without falling down, was enough to bring us a huge feeling of success.  When we finally reached our goal, we were left with a feeling of “Yes, I can do this!”

So the body’s memory of standing tall is joy, confidence and the importance of what we can do in this world.  When we stand with that same proud posture, our brain tells us we have accomplished something, we are important and we know it. 

What about the other posture, what is our memory of slouching?  The first experience we have of curling our backs is being inside the womb.  We are all curled up into the fetal position and are happy to be taken care of.   It feels so safe and right to have someone else in control, until it’s not anymore.  There is a lot of kicking that goes on in when you are pregnant, that is until the baby is too big to kick.  Not too much later, the baby is ready to come out.   We continue to hold our babies in that fetal position to protect and love them until they are older.  Soon we only hold them in this way when they are crying.  We hold them and they curl their backs up and allow us to care for them, to make them safe again.  It is not a posture of confidence, it is a posture that reminds us we do not want to do it on our own.  It is a posture that we want someone else who is bigger and stronger to take care of us.

As we look at the memory of a straight spine we see a huge difference in emotions and experiences.  If it is true that the body does in fact hold memory, you can see how a curled back posture is so detrimental to your confidence and power as an adult.  Before you discount this, I suggest you give this theory the benefit of the doubt and try the following experiment for yourself. 

Begin a program this week to practice standing tall.  Keep track of the differences that happen day to day as you play with this new idea.  For example, the next time you stand in line at the grocery store, become aware of how you stand.  Then quickly check in to see how you are feeling in your body.  To stand tall, balance your weight on both feet equally and stand shoulder width apart.  Check your shoulders roll them up and back and let them relax down at your sides.  Imagine on the crown of your head there is a string attached.  This string is ever so gently pulling straight up.  Notice it lengthening your spine supporting your head upright and looking forward.  Your spine is straightening and you are relaxing.  Take a breath in and out and notice how you are standing now.  Check inside your physical body for tension and stress to see if anything has changed. 

You are going to want to try this experiment at different times.  While you walk down the street, when you are doing the dishes or while you are talking to a friend, continue to notice how you stand.  Correct your posture each time, gently and with awareness.  Notice your emotions, and thoughts as you straighten up and stand tall. 

Standing tall takes practice and you can learn to do it.  Afterall the benefits have the instant gratification we love, and the long term effect of creating the confidence and power you have already inside of you to live an authentic life.  You just might find yourself self-assured and confident to take on anything that comes your way!

by Rain Fordyce

Copyright 2009 by Rain Fordyce