Saturday, April 13, 2013

#AtoZchallenge - All You Need is (Self) Love!

Love is All You Need

Last night I had a conversation with my mom that reminded me how important it is to love yourself. Sure, this sounds like a no-brainer, but how many of us are walking around each day without truly being in love with ourselves enough to make the tough choices that we would make for anyone else we love?

Here's what I mean: my mom was diagnosed with lymphedema over a year ago. Five years before that, she was diagnosed with diverticulitis. Painful side effects from both of these conditions, I believe, can be strongly reduced by maintaining a healthy weight, clean eating, and exercise. She knows these things. We talk about them almost every time we have a conversation. And yet, she struggles to make any significant change to her lifestyle. As a result, her conditions continue to worsen and she feels much older than she should at age 66.

So last night I asked her what she thought it was that kepps her from being happy. If she knew the steps necessary to live a more energetic, healthier, happier life -- what kept her from making those choices?

At first she said she didn't know. But the more we talked about it, the more the truth revealed itself. It's not much different for most people that struggle with lifelong food and weight issues.

I just can't help myself.
What's the point, I'm just going to screw up and gain the weight back anyway.
I'm a person that just never finishes anything I start.
I'm a person that enjoys candy/chocolate/fast food/etc.
It's too late.
I'm too old.
I don't know what to do or where to start.
I never seem to be able to commit to a diet or weight loss program that works.

The problem isn't with committing to the workouts or the right foods or anything else. When we are working on losing weight or reaching other fitness goals, the best thing we can do is make a commitment to ourselves.

In order to be successful, we have to believe we deserve all the happiness the universe has to offer. We have to know we are worth it. We have to be able to put aside all those tapes that have been running through our head all our lives telling us we can't, or we don't deserve it, or we aren't good enough.

We have to fall in love with ourselves first, just the way we are -- blemishes and all -- if we are going to be able to take care of ourselves to the same degree that we would care of anyone else.

Last night I asked my mom how her life would change if right now she started taking care of herself the way she would take care of a precious loved one. How much healthier, happier, and pain-free could she be if she committed to being there for herself by looking at what she needed to do to make changes and purposefully taking action to make those things happen.

We ended the call with her saying she would call her nutritionist on Monday to begin making the changes that could quite possibly lead to changing her quality of living for the next several years. I'm proud of her. When you have lived a life of "I don't matter, why bother," without even realizing it, it's a scary thing to step out and boldly proclaim, "I'm worth it, and I won't take no for an answer, not even for myself. I love myself too much to ignore my needs even one moment longer."

How are you taking care of your needs today?

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