According to Thaddeus Heffner, LMFT, human beings are three parts that make up one whole. There is the physical body; the soul, which from the Greek means life, self, and our conscious personality; and then there is the human spirit. However, reports Thaddeus Heffner, he often finds that when interacting with these wonderful three part human beings in therapy, only one of the three is being focused on and fed. Or in other words, they are top heavy in one area and anemic in the other two, explains Thaddeus Heffner.
As Thaddeus Heffner has observed, some people are all about their bodies: Exercising, training, grooming, watching everything they eat to a fault. Others, notes Thaddeus Heffner, are always in their heads: thinking, analyzing, worrying, fretting, or planning. Last, and certainly not least, points out Thaddeus Heffner, some are all about the spirit: meditating, praying, reading holy books, contemplating ancient words, fasting, etc.
All of these are wonderful activities and practices we both have need of and were made to do, acknowledges Thaddeus Heffner. But to focus on only one area, leaving two untouched is to abandon a whole and complete self. When we neglect important parts of our being we fail to live a whole life, adds Thaddeus Heffner.
When working with clients, Thaddeus Heffner has discovered that many times part of the solution to their presenting problems is turning their focus toward those areas of their life that they have abandoned and, with intention, care for these orphaned pieces.
The biggest objection Thaddeus Heffner hears most frequently is, “I don’t have time! I cannot afford to spend anymore time on myself.” His response is that “You can’t afford not to. Find the time in small ways.” The idea of taking time to feed your body, soul, and spirit regularly does not have to be an overwhelming one, affirms Thaddeus Heffner. It can be done in small bites.
Thaddeus Heffner has several suggestions for making some small changes. First, consider setting a boundary in the evening when you will stop answering work email, turn the TV off and pick up a book instead, go for a walk, hold someone’s hand, say a prayer, maybe say two, stretch your body and drink more water, call a friend, go to bed a little early tonight, take time to help someone, look people in the eye when you speak to them, be kind to a stranger. As Thaddeus Heffner points out, the list goes on and on.
These do not have to be great, overwhelming feats, according to Thaddeus Heffner. He cautions, “Don’t be fooled by the seemingly smallness and ordinariness of these acts. When done with intention they can be a power force that is good and nourishing. You might be surprised at how far one small act of kindness can go.”
So be kind to someone today, proposes Thaddeus Heffner. And start by being kind to yourself and, with intention, begin nourishing your whole self.
Thaddeus Heffner is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Brentwood, Tennessee and is a member in good standing with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Visit him today at thaddeusheffner.com.