Self-Love ~ Caring for Your Body is Caring for Your Soul!

You show yourself the highest self-love when you care for your body. 

‘Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul, the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.’ ~ Henry David Thoreau

We all want Love! The great paradox is that in order to receive Love you must choose to accept it first. In order to accept Love from others, it is necessary to learn how first! 

You must first love yourself before you can fully learn to receive Love and to pass it on to others. Loving yourself actually makes you more loveable to others!

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Yet, loving ourselves is extremely difficult to do! In my holistic health coach practice, I see this problem, over and over again!  It is the single-most common issue among my clients!

Without self-love you will wait forever for love to come to you. You will wonder, why am I so unlovable?  It is because you do NOT love yourself enough!

Self-Love in a Physical Package

When I talk about loving yourself, when I approach the subject of loving your body, I can already feel the cringing. Because you prefer to ignore the fact that you are a physical being, your lack of self-love really spills over into your body.

Loving your body is really, really difficult in our culture, with perfection being the highest goal. So instead you may choose to ignore your body, as if it were not part of you. You allow your mind to take over, ignoring whatever your poor body is trying to tell you.   

For you to have holistic and integrated health, you MUST learn to love your body and therefore, learn to listen to it! In order to love your body and fully understand it, you need to access your body and its wisdom through your right brain sensing mechanisms instead of your left-brain thinking, rationalizing mechanisms. You need to access your intuition!

When you love and care for your body, you are showing the highest act of self-love. By caring for your body you care for your entire being - you care for your body-mind-soul.

If the goal is for total integration of your body-mind-soul, how can you be integrated if you disconnect with your body, and treat it as if it were a separate being? Is this self-love?

You disconnect every day with your body when you stay up too late, feed it sugar and processed foods, fail to exercise it and work too long hours. When you do this you ignore it as part of yourself. Is this self-love?

I call the body 'it' intentionally because we often view our bodies as if they are truly a separate and distinct entity from us.

Soul Healing Through the Body – Self love at its Best!

If you treat your body with love and respect, it really is a spiritual process, for the body, mind and soul are one, whether you choose to recognize it or not.

Any small act that you do to care for your body, cares for your mind and cares for your soul. This is why it is so important to take the time needed to care for your body.

Whatever small step you can take to begin the change will reap you mountains of rewards. Your body will sing with Joy as it is respected and cared for, when you show your highest self-love. Use your Body Window on a daily basis to help you with your journey of self-love, self-care and self-discovery.

As a result of caring for your body your mental health will improve and you will feel better overall. You will create space in your life for yourself and create balance in your life in all things – your financial affairs, your work life and your home life.

By creating this self-love through using your body as a window to your soul, you will continue to grow on the path of self-improvement and self-healing!

This will create positive energy and spill over onto all those around you in your life! If you heal yourself first you can now help others around you to heal as well just by your example and your attitude alone!

Bristlecone Pine Trees, Mount Evans, COBristlecone Pine Trees, Mount Evans, CO

The Circle of Health

Creating bodily health creates emotional health! Creating emotional health creates soul health! Creating soul health creates more bodily health. Body-mind-soul integrated, together in an ongoing circle creating health and healing in all aspects of your life. Then the circle expands to those around you!!

And it all starts with self-love!

Your body is your temple. When you care for your body, the connection to your soul is inevitable. And by connecting with your soul, you connect with God or the Universal Spirit. Then the God Love or Universal Love gets passed on to all.

However, the ugly truth for most of you consists of the following self-destructive behaviors…

The Self-Abuse Goes On and On

When you overeat or eat junk food, you are telling yourself that you do not deserve Love and that you do not believe that you can love yourself. (See "Why We Overeat.")

When you repeatedly stay up all night to finish a project for work, you are telling yourself that you do not deserve Love and that you do not believe that you can love yourself.

When you fail to exercise your body you are telling yourself that you do not deserve Love and that you do not believe that you can love yourself.

When you drink excessively and on a regular basis, you are telling yourself that you do not deserve Love and that you do not believe that you can love yourself.

When you smoke you are telling yourself that you do not deserve Love and that you do not believe that you can love yourself.

When you overextend your credit and spend too much you are telling yourself that you do not deserve Love and that you do not believe that you can love yourself.

You Overindulge Because You Deserve It!

Have you got the picture yet? You can write your own sentence, for whatever manner you choose to abuse yourself and your body. You know what your abuses are. I admit that I fall prey to this myself. We all do. It is so easy to succumb to over indulgence, because you rationalize that you deserve to indulge, for whatever reason.

Your stress is too great. You had a hard day at the office, the kids got on your nerves, or you just don’t want to care about anything today. Then, each 'today' adds up to weeks, and then the weeks become months, and the months become years and all too soon you are fat and middle aged and can’t walk a brisk mile without huffing and puffing. 

Yet you choose to do nothing about your chronic stress. You choose to do nothing about your negative behaviors (See Why You Choose Negativity Over Positivity). Your self-love went down the drain.

Is Your Weight Your Barometer for Happiness?

I have come to understand that my weight is a direct barometer of my happiness. Through the deeply spiritual aspect of my body, it tells me that whenever I start to put on the pounds, that I am over-stressing about something. My self-love is gone and I am disconnected with myself, disconnected with happiness, and disconnected with Love. I immediately re-focus on my methods for healthy weight loss before my weight gets out of control.

The stress hormone that you secrete, the cortisol that gears you up for emergencies, also helps you store fat for emergency use. Did you ever wonder why it is that when you are happy and connected you can eat a mountain of food and not gain weight, but that when you are stressed, even looking at that dessert makes you gain weight?

It is because of the stress hormone cortisol. It is because the emotional issue of needing to fill yourself with Love, to fill the void when you are emotionally distressed is so great. Then your body pumps out the cortisol, attempting to gear you up for the emergency.

Being continually stressed and emotionally distressed leads you to continually try to fill the emotional need, to fill what is missing in your life. You eat carbs so that you feel better, because you get a 'feel-good' hormone called serotonin when you eat carbs (See Healthy Eating and Healthy Foods).

A vicious cycle ensues. Some call this the stress cycle. Stress leads to cortisol secretion and leads to binge eating carbs to feel better. Then more eating leads to more distress and leads to more cortisol secretion and fat storage. Which leads to even more eating…

Wilson Group Massive, San Juan Mountains, COWilson Group Massive, San Juan Mountains, CO

Why You Eat Too Much

The connection between nurturing and food and love is great indeed. It was the way you came into the world, finding the mother and her love as the source of food, the source of love and warmth. Without the love and warmth and touch of a human being, despite being fed, an infant will die. Love and food/nurturance go hand in hand.

The connection between love and food is so strong that you think you are nurturing yourself when you relish the Heavenly Hash ice cream. You believe you are paying attention to yourself because you deserve it, and you are giving yourself love.

But this is a false love indeed. This is not the self-love to which I am referring! The temporary good feeling of the immediate gratification soon turns to remorse and self-hatred for your lack of willpower, sometimes immediately after the consumption.

An indication of true self-love and nurturing is if you still feel good about your activity the next day. I don’t ever recall feeling good about the gigantic ice cream sundae I had the night before, or the huge meal I ate at the family reunion. In fact, I usually feel physically sick from the sugar and carb load that my body doesn’t know how to handle.

I never, ever say, after exercise, 'gee, I wish I hadn’t walked that three miles!' After a nice meditative walk in the woods, I always feel fresh and rejuvenated. After any activity that brings you joy and contentment, you feel that you have cared for yourself, which makes you feel refreshed and renewed. This is true self-love.

I never, ever regret a session of Yoga or Meditation. It does my soul good, by helping me connect with myself to recharge and rejuvenate. The benefits of yoga and the benefits of meditation are phenomenal self-love activities.

We Live in a 'Land of Plenty'

The obesity epidemic in America is a direct reflection of our collective cultural issues. We are chronically stressed and we are over-indulgers and over-consumers and under-movers. Period.

Yet, we try to find quick fixes to this 'illness' of obesity. We get our stomach stapled, to force us to eat less, or go on dramatic and unhealthy diets. We do not take the time to examine our health process, and why we can’t stop eating.

The diagnosis, the 'illness' of obesity is an effective label to lead you to believe that there is nothing you can do about your 'dis-ease.' We don’t have a word to adequately describe the illness that is not of purely physical nature, but those that have emotional and spiritual aspects as well.

I would wish that we could come up with a word to denote these conditions of the body-mind-soul. Since I believe that many illnesses are not purely physical, all the other non-physical, descriptive words like psychosomatic illness, behavioral and mental illness are way too negative. Perhaps I will invent such a word. For now, "body-mind-soul issue" will work. True self-love is healing for the body-mind-soul!

When I first wrote this article in 2009, as the economy was trying its best to recover from the Great Recession, the mantra on CNBC was 'the consumer needs to go on a spending spree!' The fact that our economy is 70% based on the American consumer, and consumerism, is a sad commentary on our culture. The lack of self-love is epidemic!

I hope that at all times, not just the lean times, that you will examine what is most important to you (See Simplify Simplify Simplify!). Consider your debt versus your savings, and determine, like the banks during the recession of 2008-2013, if you are way over-leveraged. Consumerism is a detriment to your personal welfare – in many ways, or perhaps, in all ways. As a result, body-mind-soul issues often follow.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places!

The health of your pocket book, and your body-mind-soul are all affected by your excessive behaviors. You are so over-stressed that you become over-indulgent and over-consumers – all because you 'deserve it.'

You are truly 'looking for love in all the wrong places!' Your patterns are so ingrained in you that to overcome your habits seems like such a huge task, that you don’t even begin to make the change. It is way too overwhelming to consider.

The changes are just viewed as yet another stressor. Although with the financial ramifications of over-consumerism, many are getting that nagging feeling, the beginning of awareness that something needs to change…

Modified Hero Pose, Yoga PoseModified Hero Pose, Yoga Pose

I believe the only way to overcome the chain of self-destruction, the self-imposed, downward spiral, is to become present to what you are doing, and what you are. Self-awareness is always the first step toward change.

You can become present to yourself by starting with a stillness practice (See The Benefits of Meditation or Centered Prayer) 10 minutes a day. If you can’t find 10 minutes a day for yourself, you are indeed a sorry soul and you are saying to yourself, I do not love myself enough to even give you (your body-mind-soul) 10 minutes a day.

Not being present to yourself through a stillness practice is a denial of self-love.

Set your alarm just 10 minutes earlier, and instead of hitting the snooze button, which you are going to do anyway, roll out of bed, sit on the floor with your back to the edge of the bed, and find stillness. You can even use the snooze button as your ten-minute timer for your meditation, if you arise immediately.

Your mind is hopefully still empty from your sleep, and before you engage it, keep the 10 minutes of stillness and peace. Hopefully you will find this practice fulfilling and soon you will find yourself planning more ways to care for your body and your body-mind-soul.

Keeping a diary or journal to chronicle your daily activities may help. It has been shown that if you just write down all that you eat, that you are often very surprised that you eat much more than you thought.

As a result of knowing your daily consumption, change can happen. When the amount of food you have consumed is staring at you in writing, it becomes harder to lie to yourself. You can do this for all your self-destructive behaviors!

Writing things down also strengthens any goals you wish to achieve. Writing your goals on a sticky note and placing them on your mirror as a constant reminder also helps. This is important especially for your health and healing affirmations (See Creating Positive Affirmations for Health).

Writing also helps clarify feelings and sort out thoughts. Writing is a great way to spend the time for feeling and healing emotions. Writing is a process for self-acceptance and self-love that you are all so often lacking.

Write positive health affirmations down on sticky notes and plaster them to the kitchen cupboard or the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator door. Say 100 times a day, "I am fit and healthy and weigh --- pounds," "My lungs are healthy and smoke-free," "I am available to my family," and so forth.

Believe it and it will materialize. Your energy and your movement toward change will happen.

Just Choose It and Do It!

The good news is that whatever happened today that you did to abuse your body the correction is just one meal away or one behavior away or one moment away.

You can choose to do something different the very next meal, the very next day, the very next time. Make the decision to just do it! You deserve to love yourself and treat yourself to the self-care that will really make a difference.

Just choose it and do it!

Plain and simple, body movement makes you feel good. When you cease moving you are dead! Dietary changes make you feel good. The more you do for yourself, the more it feels good. Knowing that you are caring for the most precious thing in your life, your body-mind-soul, feels good.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Always start out small. Make little changes you think you can live with. Start with cutting down the caffeine to three cups a day, from four. Substitute the extra caffeine with decaf or a cup of green tea – hold the sugar. Drink refreshingly mint flavored green tea, to lift your spirits, instead of letting your body-mind-soul down one hour after the sugar and caffeine buzz are gone. Do you think you could make that small change and keep it? Do you think you could show this small bit of self-love?

Just choose it and do it!

Go out for fast food just one less day a week, if you go there frequently. Or try at least once a week to substitute the hamburger for a grilled (not fried) chicken sandwich – hold the mayo. Do you think you could show this small bit of self-love?

Just choose it and do it!

Hit the snooze button and roll out of bed, and meditate for 10 minutes. Do you think you could show this small bit of self-love?

Just choose it and do it!

After your stillness practice is well established add 10 minutes of walking on your lunch break. Get outside if possible, and stroll easily. You will be amazed at how refreshed you will feel for your afternoon work activities, versus the 4th cup of coffee. Do you think you could show this small bit of self-love?

Just choose it and do it!

You might find yourself eating lunch at your desk so you can grab a work buddy and increase your walk to 30 minutes. Or you could maybe re-arrange your schedule for an hour lunch so you can eat and walk for 30 minutes. Do you think you could show this small bit of self-love?

Just choose it and do it!

You may find that soon you want to join the nearest YMCA, Yoga class or Meditation Group. The momentum builds…

Just choose it and do it!

The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, UtahThe Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The Consequence of Indecision and Inaction

In order to make even small changes, you need to pay attention to that nagging, that inner voice that says that if you don’t start to do something soon, you will continue to decompensate toward more and more dis-ease. You will die young, perhaps get adult-onset diabetes and/or become debilitated with aches and pains and injuries, so that there are few activities of daily living that you can achieve without pain. You can look forward to surgery, knee replacements, shoulder replacements and a body that is worn out. This is a grim outcome indeed.

Or, you can have energy, life and health because you chose self-love, you chose to care for your body, and thereby care for your body-mind-soul!

Just choose it and do it!

If you do not care for your body, you are ignoring the importance it has for your mental, emotional and spiritual health. You are saying that you do not love yourself enough to care for your body-mind-soul. You show your amount of self-love to the world, by the way you walk, hold your body, and by your weight.

Just choose it and do it!

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