Tis the month of Love! And that’s what I’m focusing on. Very similar to joy, Iove is maybe a little more subdued, more of feeling of safety, acceptance, cared for. When I feel loved, I experience joy! And when I experience joy, so many good things happen! There are many aspects to love. I’m going to focus on how loving ourselves and our bodies helps us create the change we are looking for when as we strive to pray often, eat well & move more.
The 2nd and 3rd pillars of my program relate to this concept. Jesus said, “And the 2nd (greatest commandment) is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:39]. This implies we must love ourselves before we can love others. Yet, how many of us even remotely love ourselves? I’m not talking about conceit or narcissism. I’m talking about treating your body with love and respect. About approaching food choices, body movement, sleep, prayer, scheduling and how we talk about ourselves because “You are the Temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you.” [1 Corinthians 3:16]
We’re conditioned to think of ourselves as less than, not worthy, lacking. That we should hate our spare tires, stretch marks, wrinkles and grandma wings (all things I’m working on loving!) This has come through the beauty, fashion & marketing industry by making us feel like we need their products because we’re not good enough. The medical community is focused on what is wrong (although many practitioners are really tired of this mindset and shifting their practices-yay!) And even the church gives us mixed messages. In trying to prevent conceit and narcissism, many of us have gone too far the other way and feel not good enough, unworthy and undeserving of love. There needs to be a balance.
When we recognize all is from God (including our body) and when we make choices that glorify Him, we feel really good about it! How many of you feel guilty (or ashamed) when you eat too much? Don’t move your body? Don’t connect to God? How many of you feel awesometastic when you fuel your body instead of your fears and doubts? Move your body because it feels good? Connect to God regularly (even if its a “Thank you, Lord!” several times a day)? The 3rd pillar I teach is all about treating our body like the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is. How can we do that? Looking at ourselves through God’s eyes, as his precious, beloved, chosen child makes it easier to make choices that support our bodies, minds and spirits.
From Low to Love
Really embracing this has been a game-changer for me. I remember going to confession about 15 years ago and my penance was to think of 3 good things about myself or that I do well. I couldn’t do it. The way I viewed myself was so far in the other direction, I didn’t think there was anything good about me. I finally asked my mom a few months later. Of course, she rattled off about 30 things in one breath, (thank God for moms!) but I had a hard time embracing the concept myself. I was conditioned to think (and really embodied) the only way to change was to be on the lookout for everything that was wrong, all the negative. Nothing could be celebrated unless it was perfect. So guess what I focused on? Guess what I kept thinking about? The negative. Definitely not conceit, but not what God wants for us either.
My thinking slowly changed, but it took a sharp upward turn during my health coach training. They taught us to focus on the positive, “What’s the best thing that happened since we’ve last talked?” Encouragement, what’s going right, what lights you up when you think about it? All these things motivated me much more, making change seem like a piece of cake. And when I started to use them with others in my personal life and clients-WOW! It’s so much easier to come up with solutions, not to mention the surge of confidence we get when we focus on the positive. All this brought me closer to God and now I make most of my food and body movement choices out of love for my body. I choose to feel good, so I fuel and move my body with things that best support that feeling!
Another thing that really helped me was to think of my body in 3rd person. Like it was a scared little child. Would I do things to it out of spite? Criticize it for making me feel like garbage when I fed it junk or didn’t move it? Or pushed it past its limits? Heck NO! So I started treating myself and my body the way I’d want to be treated and as the Temple it is.
Valentine Gift to God
Am I perfect about it. No. And the truth is some days (weeks, months…) are better than others. But as I keep at it, by keeping close to God and thanking for him for all the positive, I just keep getting better! You might be thinking Well that’s all good for you, but I can’t do that until my body changes. Has criticizing yourself been working? You’ve got the power to stand up for your yourself & your body. You want to love your self & your body? You might as well start now, because you won’t be any closer to it 10 years from now if you don’t start somewhere. Think of it as a Valentine gift to God. Of course I find journaling or writing things down really helps. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Write down/journal about the following (Think of yourself/body in 3rd person if needed)
- Notice everything you do like! Eyes, hair, hands, good cook, good phone skills, etc.
- Notice all the things your body miraculously does on it’s own: Breathing, heart beat, moving your hand by thinking about it, senses, etc
- No ‘Yeah, buts!’ My legs are strong, but they’re covered in cellulite, varicose veins, etc).
- Menu plan & set yourself up for success
- Ask yourself “Am I eating this out of love or fear/doubt/worry/boredom/comfort?”
- The body was meant to move-schedule time to move it!
- How do you like to move it? How does it respond when you move it?
- Thank God for all these things!
Once you start thinking this way, celebrating the positives and making choices from a place of love, the healthier choices will be easier to make. And if you want to eat a piece of pie, then enjoy every bite. Savor it. Thank God for it. Bless it for tickling your taste buds and enhancing your experience. I think the key is to remember who we are and that all we do (including our thoughts) is for God’s glory. Loving and respecting ourselves and our bodies without becoming stuck on ourselves-so we can serve God & others. Balance.
How does loving and respecting yourself/your body influence how you pray, eat and move?
Are you struggling to with your health? Finding it hard to keep those New Year’s resolutions? Are you ready to invest in yourself, your health, your productivity and make positive changes that will have a positive affect on your quality of life for years to come? Wish you had someone who will work with you and your unique situation instead of just telling you what to do? I have a few open coaching spots. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time for a free 30 minute call to learn more. I’d love to help you light up a path to better health and wellness so you can be who you want to be, do what you want to do and enjoy your journey!