Monday, November 24, 2008

Habit-A-Week Challenge, Week 8: Love Yourself

It's late in the day... a busy one for me... but it IS time for that healthy habit of the week! It's week 8 of the Habit-A-Week Challenge, and today's habit is: Love Yourself.

What? What's that got to do with weight loss, or fitness, or health?? Let me tell you... it has EVERYTHING to do with all three. After all, if you hated yourself, you wouldn't bother with any of this. Would you?

Self-love and self-care go hand in hand. The connection between loving (the emotion) and caring (the action) is undeniable. Think about a baby. If a person has a little child that they LOVE, will they let that child go hungry, crying for hours to be fed? If they love the child, will they let them sit in dirty diapers until their skin is raw and sore? Will they neglect them or abuse them? No, not if there is love. Where there is love, there is care, even when it is unpleasant. Changing a poopy diaper is no prance through a rose garden. But you do it because you love the child. You feed them, wash them, keep them warm, and clothe them because you LOVE them and want them to be well. Beyond that, you provide emotional comfort and support. All because of love.

When you love yourself, will you let yourself go hungry for hours, your soul crying to be fed? Will you sit in dirty pajamas for days, not bothering to shower? Will you neglect yourself by not providing for your needs, or by abusing yourself with food? No, not if there is love. Where there is love, there is care, even when it is unpleasant. Preparing healthy foods and exercising is no frollic in a meadow. But you do it because you love yourself. You feed yourself nourishing foods, care for your body, and exercise because you LOVE yourself and want yourself to be well. Beyond that, you comfort yourself emotionally when you need it. All because of love.

How many times do we hear someone say, "Ewww, I HATE my legs!" I know I'm guilty. It's hard sometimes to love those giant, pale, dimply tree trunks that stick out enormously from my shorts and scare little children away. But those are the legs that have carried me through life. They ran and played through my childhood, they carried me through college. They carried all five of my children safely before they were born, and afterwards, they rocked and paced and swayed while I soothed my infants in my arms. Those legs got me through college, and they biked me out of morbid obesity. They may be damaged, they may be painful, but they're MY LEGS, and I sure wouldn't want to be without them!

Instead of looking at your various body parts and labeling them as disgusting, gross, or repulsive, try and see them for the blessing that they are. They are part of YOU, and when you feel negativity towards yourself, it comes out in other ways... like binge eating. Instead, try loving your body. Think positive thoughts about yourself, flaws and all. Thank your body for carrying you through life thus far. Give your body the gentle touch it craves. What was the last time you gave your body a loving touch? Your skin longs for it. Take some time and care for yourself in whatever ways appeal to you. For me, I take extra time to apply a nice lotion after a shower. I like to soak in the tub and enjoy the warmth and quiet. Maybe your feet would enjoy a pedicure, or your hands a manicure. Or even just a nice moisturizing treatment. Only you know what will make your body happy. Take time this week and do those things.

Part of the challenge is mental, too. Have you ever looked in the mirror, looked into your eyes and said, "I love you"? Try it. Really. You may be surprised at the emotions that come forth. You do deserve to be loved. You really do.

Make time for yourself this week. For your healthy habit, set aside a small block of time each day just to care for YOU, whatever that may mean. It may be taking a half hour in the morning to sit and sip tea and read a book, or maybe it's doing a facial care routine each night that makes you feel cared for. It could be taking time to call and talk with a friend, or to pursue a hobby you enjoy. Try and take a bigger block of time on the weekend... or some other day during the week... just to do something you love. And if you believe you may be suffering from depression, perhaps the kindest thing you can do for yourself this week is to seek help. See your doctor, find a counselor. Sometimes, we just can't do it alone.

When you love yourself, the self-care follows... and it flows over into other aspects of life, like healthy eating and exercising. Tell yourself something good about YOU every day. And believe it. You are worth saving.

13 comments:

redballoon said...

Thanks, Lyn, I was just about to embark on a self-hate rampage....maybe now I won't.

Sherre said...

I have always struggled with the concept of self-love. Until I read this post. Thank you for so clearly and consisely describing it and why it is so necessary to every aspect of my life. I just had a lightbulb moment as Oprah would say!

Christina said...

I am so loving your blog these days . . . this is the positive reinforcement I need to hear! I have been so disappointed in myself lately for not reaching my goals and not losing any weight. So this is a good reminder that beating myself up does no good.

Katschi said...

Totally agree, Lyn. That's why I recently got my hair cut & highlighted after a too-long wait to have it done & also I just had my eyes lasered to correct my vision. Next up is laser hair removal ;) I walk around with a smile and a positive attitude & it gets reflected back to me. I weigh 254 & FEEL SEXY!!! I'm not waiting to reward myself, either. I'm worth rewarding NOW which just perpetuates the good feelings I have about myself.
I love this post!

Hanlie said...

You are so right! If we don't practice this daily, we will always find ways to sabotage ourselves.

Vickie said...

really good post

MizFit said...

my parents arrive today.

yep.

it IS still stressful even at my age :)

Im so gonna strive to make time for me while they are here...

SunflowerDaisies said...

Thanks for the post. It is hard to keep "loving yourself," despite hearing words echoing from the past. I've struggled a long time with my self-worth, b/c of things that were said over 15 years ago. (And I even had a relatively "normal" upbringing!)It's taken awhile for me to overcome it (and it's still sometimes hard), and a lot of that is due to finally getting some counseling that I should have gotten a long time ago!

nicole from portland said...

This was an awesome post. I struggle with this daily but you put it in such a simple logical way it seems silly that I would ever have trouble loving myself.

bbubblyb said...

Really I think this is the #1 reason people can't lose weight and keep it off. If we don't love ourselves nothing else will ever be just right. I think we can drink our water, eat our veggies, move our bodies, etc but if we don't love ourselves we won't get to where we want to be and we won't be able to stay there. I think that's why it's so important to also fix our minds while we are fixing our bodies.

Great post Lyn, thanks.

purple_moonflower123 said...

I totally agree. It can be hard to love yourself, physically, when you aren't happy with what you see in the mirror. I wish self-love was as unconditional as the love one would have for their children and family. It's tough to give yourself the love that you deserve; however, you deserve to love and be loved.

I have totally started taking better care of myself, eating healthier and exercising. Not necessarily to look better, but I just want to feel better. I have been feeling better. Its baby steps sometimes.

Karyn said...

GREAT post!!!

Jamie said...

I love this post it is what my mission is right now! I recommend you read the book You Can Heal yourself
Jamie
Jamie writes at the blog: http://icanhealmyself.blogspot.com/