If there is anything you own, absolutely and without strings, it is your body. How absurd it would be to say about it, “I really want to improve the health of this body, which actually belongs to my (husband, wife, doctor, mother, father, minister, priest, best friend, nutritionist, trainer, coach, team, boss, or dog).” It isn’t theirs, it’s yours!

Making this distinction is not as silly as it sounds. Many people have their intentions and actions determined by someone other than themselves, or they think they do. However, if a man goes on a diet because his wife thinks he is too heavy, he must still make the decision, himself, to do each of the required actions. If he does not, he will not stick to the diet, no matter how much his wife wants him to. He may say he is trying, he may think he is trying, but if he doesn’t decide to do it minute-by-minute, he will not succeed.

This is one of the things that is difficult about being a baby. People pick you up and move you around like a football or a pillow, carelessly putting your body here and there without warning or permission! Then, when you are able to be self-determined about an action, like feeding yourself on an inviting piece of old sausage you found on the floor, they object and forcibly remove the delicious morsel right out of your mouth!

A child might want to have some say-so in what is done with her body. She discovers she can say, “No.” She discovers she can sometimes prevent someone from moving her body with that word, or if it fails, then with running away, kicking, biting or screaming. A little older, she finds she can have more control by explaining why she wants to do or not do something. Whenever her explanations are not accepted, she might resort to being non-responsive, mopey, hysterical, sneaky, deceitful, cajoling, angry, combative, complaining, sarcastic, or bored. One or more of these attitudes might keep people from determining what she does with her body.

Of course, there are other people in your life – family, friends, strangers, all of mankind, in fact – and you probably want to have a good effect upon them. This is still your concern and your decision, not theirs.