I had a really interesting epiphany this morning as I sat doing my inner writing about the things I had realized and understood since the previous day – what we most often think of as self-love – isn’t!
Self-love is actually a mindset, a perspective inside our minds that guides RIGHT ACTION. Now this is not right action according to others and it is not some sort of ‘rule’ the world has imposed upon you and it’s not the way your parents raised you to be. It’s actually a program in your mind whose sole role is to ‘love you’ – to guide you towards information and actions that take care of your body, your mind, your life, and your spirit.
I have spent my whole life fighting with my weight. I was a chubby kid and I didn’t like it one little bit. When I was 13 I put myself on a diet (a really reasonable one) where I removed sweets, junk food, and starch and increased vegetables and protein. It was actually pretty common sense and speaks nicely to the paleo food diets of today.
I didn’t exercise any more than I ever had but over a 6 month period I dropped 25 pounds and felt really good about myself. And for years, I kept most of that weight off.
But somewhere in my 30’s I became sloppy with my food. I decided if I wanted nachos, I could have them. Hot dogs seemed like a really great idea for lunch – even better when combined with nachos! I no longer censored where I ate or restricted how many fats went into my diet. Dessert became a common thing in our household and if I was hungry in the evening, I didn’t hesitate to help myself to some chips or more dessert!
You can well imagine what happened with my weight.
Since then my weight has see-sawed – sometimes I manage it better than others. Somewhere along the way, I stopped fighting with this part of myself that clearly wanted to eat this way and I learned to live with the extra weight. It was a good exercise in learning to love something that society makes difficult to love.
But recently, carrying extra weight has made living a robust life more difficult. So I have been challenged to figure out what to do about it. I didn’t want to bully myself into a diet I knew I wouldn’t stay on. I’ve read the books and I know what to do but, clearly, I lose motivation and stop trying. So I knew I had to find and transform the pattern that kept the see-saw alive.
This morning I awoke with a thought. I searched inside my mind for the ‘fat kid’ that I still was and I brought her outside so I could talk to her. What I found was nothing short of astounding! As a child I was taught to reward good behavior with food – so at the end of a day I felt like I had worked hard and I deserved to eat what I wanted. That was obstacle #1. But a deeper limitation came when I discovered a belief I held about self-love. My parents (and society) had taught me that self-love is about giving myself what I wanted. And if that happened to be food, then so be it – eat away!
I wonder if many people were taught this in childhood – it would explain why we fight eating habits that always land us in this place DESPITE knowing how to eat better.
Our society promotes this type of self-love on many levels. Some things aren’t harmful – getting weekly massages or hiring a cleaning service so you have more time for yourself and to enjoy your family is usually just fine. Setting aside time to spend with friends, organizing a yearly vacation, finding work you really like – these are all things that reflect care and respect for yourself.
But we confuse indulging in bodily and sensory pleasures, making ourselves comfortable, and creating a life of ease as indicators of self-love when they aren’t. They are indicators of bodily pleasure only.
So when I stripped away the mindset of the little girl I was and how she had been conditioned to ‘love herself’ by indulging her tastes, I was able to connect directly into the mind that LOVES me. It doesn’t love me in indulgent ways; it loves me in wise ways.
As I explored this mind, I was able to connect into a warehouse of wisdom, knowledge, and insight that I possess naturally. Its role is foster my well-being and its desire is for me to thrive in life.
This is the part of my mind that will lead me to the right information, the right food choices, the right supplements, and the right exercise regimes that will facilitate maximum health in my body.
Self-love is NOT filling myself with food that is tasty, drinks that are luscious, or drugs that make me feel good. Self-love is NOT working out to the point of exhaustion to burn off the calories I consume. And self-love is not about always making my body comfortable.
Connected to this frequency, I no longer have to ‘fight against’ the little girl and how she was conditioned to care for herself. Instead, I am guided to actions that will leave my body in a state of perpetual health, energy, and well-being.
And when I am aligned with this mindset, making the RIGHT decisions on my behalf are much, much easier.
What do YOU think about what I’ve just shared? Can you think of any indulgences like this that are, in fact, NOT self-love – even though you thought they were?