Vitamin L: Self Love, the most important nutrient of all
Health isn’t just about diet and exercise. It is not limited to fat, protein and calories, or even the number of miles you run each week, or how hard you hit the gym. While all of these things are important and huge pieces to the optimal health puzzle, there is another element that is truly the foundation of well-being: self-Love, with a capital L.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” So health encompasses all aspects of life, not only diet and activity. Stress management, rest and relaxation, hobbies and interests, relationships and spiritual/ religious connection are of equal value in determining someone’s overall health.
Self Love is the driving force beneath honoring and pulling these aspects together. Because ultimately, a commitment to health and wellness is an expression of self Love. That is right, how well you support your own health and wellness is a reflection of how much you love yourself.
Optimal health is reached when you make “you” the priority in your life. Contrary to popular belief, putting yourself first is NOT selfish. Our society has been fooled into thinking we must bend over backwards, and twist and turn, to satisfy the needs of others. By molding ourselves into who we think we “should” be and what we think we “should” do, we completely compromise our needs, our well-being and our truth.
It is time to break the association society has created between vanity, conceit and self love, because it just plain isn’t true.
You can only give of yourself to others, as much as you give to yourself. Think about it, you cannot give something away that you don’t have for yourself. The truth is, when you fill yourself up with love, the overflow can be spread to others. The more you love yourself, the more you have to give, so it is a win-win. Loving yourself also gives others permission to love themselves. This creates a beautiful exchange and flow of love, the most divine principle in creation. You deserve to feel good, look good, enjoy life, be successful and live in full expression of who you are. So put yourself back (or maybe for the first time) at the top of your priority list.
My guess is that this concept is foreign to you, and may even make you feel really uncomfortable. It was to me as well! That is ok. You may be thinking, “How on earth do I love myself more?” Use this list as a guide to identify self loving behaviors and then, daringly, chose to adopt them (one at a time if needed) into your life.
You are practicing self Love when…
- You accept yourself with compassion, exactly as you are right now.
- You choose whole, nutrient dense foods you know nourish your body.
- You eat based on your physical hunger and eat only until satisfied (not stuffed).
- You sit down, slow down and eat without distraction, enjoying every bite.
- You pamper yourself regularly by getting a massage, a facial, your nails done or any type of body work.
- You surround yourself with positive, supportive people that lift your spirit.
- You make your own choices and say “no” when it is for your best good; forget all the “shoulding” and embrace choosing.
- You ask for help from friends, family and co-workers when you need it.
- You choose exercise that you enjoy and follow your body’s cues on when and how much to do.
- You listen and respond to calls for attention your body is giving (meaning those seemingly “normal” health complaints that we so often ignore)
- You allow yourself to splurge in moderation, whether it is shopping, a vacation or a double fudge ice cream sundae….and you do so guilt-FREE.
- You communicate openly about how you feel.
- You take time to rest, relax and just be.
- You honor your desires and passions, and pursue your dreams with enthusiasm and faith.
I encourage you to sit with this and actually spend some time writing down what role self-Love plays in your current health and well-being. Are you making it a priority? Are you making YOU a priority? In what areas of your life do you need to make changes so that you are expressing the love you have for yourself? Do you love yourself enough to make those changes?
The only person that can take control of your health and well-being is you. Honoring each aspect of life so that you maintain mental, physical and emotional balance is true expression of self Love, and you deserve it.
And with that, I give YOU permission to love yourself fully. I give YOU permission to put your needs before anyone and anything else. And just remember, in loving yourself more, you love others more as well.