February is the month of love. Pink and red hearts can be found everywhere, along with plenty of chocolate and roses. While some people are anti-Valentine’s Day, I love the idea of honoring and celebrating the love we feel for others whether they are friends, family, significant others, neighbors, or those in our larger communities. When we love someone, we treat them well. We want the best for them. We rush to their aid when they are in need. We consider it an honor and privilege to take care of them and call them our beloved.
You know which person never seems to make it on our Valentine’s list? Or on our friend list for that matter? Our self. In fact, we treat ourselves quite the opposite–as enemies with distaste and disappointment, as unworthy of love and acceptance, as nothing better than dispensable trash. I believe our personal body image, or our perception of our physical self, including weight, shape, appearance, and ability, is what is holding us back from true health. Interestingly, our body image is rarely based in reality and is much harsher than how others view us. I’ll say it again: when we love someone, we consider it an honor and privilege to take care of them. I believe the same holds true for our self.
When we love our self, we will find it easier and honorable to take the best care of our self possible. Rather than a burden or another item on the to-do-list, we take this privilege seriously and respectfully. When we experience this switch in attitude, it becomes a joy to move our bodies, to feed our bodies the most nourishing food, to take time for ourselves and to nurture ourselves in ways that give us enjoyment. We start to feel better. The weight comes off. All of a sudden, we notice we are in better shape. We are less stressed. And all because of this secret to health that no one’s really talking about.
When you love yourself, your overall health improves!
Chances are, you need some assistance in this department. That’s ok, you’re not alone. To get started on improving your body image, I suggest writing a list of 3-5 different things you appreciate about your body each day. Pick a new food to try and note how this makes your body feel. Go for a walk outdoors and enjoy the sun on your face rather than thinking of how many calories you’ve burned. Try connecting with your body through yoga. Take a few minutes to meditate and focus on the glory that is you. Most importantly, experiment with healthy behaviors because you want to, rather than because you should. Then sit back and watch your health improve! Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU!