Health as an act of self-love

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A definition of health

Despite what social networks, magazines, and society preach, being healthy goes beyond being a size 2, having a flat stomach or how often we eat salads. Sure, all of that could be part of being healthy, but its far from being the only or complete expression of health.

True health is attained through adopting a lifestyle designed to accomplish and maintain a state of complete general well-being. It goes beyond the physical. It involves reducing our risk of disease and feeling fit, energetic,  and anxiety-free as a direct result of our daily decisions. That means being healthy also involves sleeping well, knowing how to handle stress and emotions, knowing how to relate to the external world, etc.

But, what motivates our daily decision making in regards to our lifestyle?

The reality is that we have been sold erroneous ideas on health that appeal to our insecurities: our vanity, the need to fit in, or our desire for admiration. Yes, using our weaknesses to produce positive changes can achieve results, but those results do not have the capacity to take us where we need to go. They are not strong enough to lead us to a state of full health because:
1. our motivation doesn´t come from a positive place
 2. it only tackles the physical aspect of health while dismissing its other spheres.

Sure, finding a photograph of a false exemplification of perfection next to the words "Looks like her in 7 days" could maybe motivate us to follow whatever strict regimen is being advertised in order to lose a few pounds, but only because, through unhealthy comparison, it appeals to our lack self-acceptance and feelings of inadequacy.  Not only is whatever change we make in this manner based on negative feelings, but in spite of any external result it may cause, its internal impact is null, if not harmful.

According to the American journal of medicine adherence to healthy habits has been getting worse over the years, and as long as health for women keeps being promoted as over-sexualized images and fad diets rather than an actual search for overall well being, my guess is that it will continue to decline. I want to invite you to approach your desire to healthy in a different way!

So, how can I achieve health in all of its expressions?

The most important thing I wanted to communicate to you with this post is that: True health can only be born from a state of self-love.

When you love someone, you wish the best for that person. You want to see them happy and prosperous. You are willing to help them to grow to reach their goals. You do not like to see someone you love make mistakes, hurt themselves, or put themselves at risk. In general, you are concerned about their well-being. Now let me propose something outlandish: what if that person you love so much was actually yourself? How would that change the entire panorama of how you treat yourself and the decisions you make regarding your own life?

I will use a practical example to bring this idea to life. Let us take the act of getting in 3 workouts a week. If you feel obliged to do it because you feel uncomfortable about how you look, it will surely feel tedious and boring, just like any other chore. And the more tedious it seems to you, the harder it will be for you to actually get around doing it. This is the reason why so many people struggle with persevering at their health-related goals.

However, what if you adopted a different mentality: one of self-love? Getting up to exercise then ceases to be a task fueled by your low self-esteem and instead becomes something you do to procure your well-being. Working out becomes what it should be: a tool to prevent disease, maintain function and feel great! And of course, all of that will show on the outside as well, as an added bonus. You change your mind, and everything else follows!

Our mental state is very powerful. Simply apply self-love to any situation, from food to friendships, and trust me, you will make the right decision every single time. When you think about food you will choose what best nurtures and thrives your body. You'll do it because you love yourself enough to seek the best for yourself in everything you do.

By practicing self-love, you become the highest priority. So, I can assure you that you will give importance to the number of sleep hours you get, to how you spend your time, to your choice of friends and to everything else. Remember that a good harvest is born of good soil, and just the same your health should be born of good intentions: love and nothing else.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for!

Did you find this post helpful? What motivates you to be healthy? Share below!

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