Learning to Love

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Think about the people and the things that you love. Certainly there’s a difference in the type of love you have for people than what you have for objects but every ‘love’ is founded in the relationship you have with the person or thing.

As you think about your ‘loves’ let me share with you a little about mine…

  • I love my God because He is my source of hope
  • I love my husband because we share a friendship and a bond deeper than any other person on Earth
  • I love my children because each of them uniquely challenges me every day to be a better person 
  • I love my friends because they help me to see the world through their eyes

Now for the ‘shallow’ loves in my life:

  • I love my truck – it’s big, it comes in handy and it has seat warmers
  • I love shoes – all kinds, can’t get enough of them
  • I love raspberry gelato – there are very few sweets that tempt me but I have a hard time resisting this one

I think it’s fairly easy to make a list of the things we love and why we love them. But have you considered the love you have for yourself? Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about indulging yourself with greediness or allowing your ego to get the best of you. I’m talking about the kind of self-love that allows you to look past the mistakes you’ve made and the perceived imperfections in the mirror. It’s the kind of love that isn’t tied up in actions or appearances but in the relationship you have with yourself.

Losing weight and improving physical fitness takes a lot of hard work. If your relationship with yourself isn’t founded in love excuses will be easy and perceptions will be difficult to change.

First, if you don’t love yourself you aren’t going to take the time necessary to see changes in your life. Aside from the time you need to exercise you also need to consider the adjustments you may need to make to shopping and food preparation time, as well as a potential increase in sleep and rest time. If you don’t love yourself it will be easy to find excuses to skip workouts, grab fast food or stay up late watching tv. A person with self-love stops putting poor excuses ahead of the quality decisions that will improve their life.

Secondly, without self-love it’s going to be difficult to make weight loss mean anything more than just a number on the scale. Let’s say your goal is to lose 20 pounds because you don’t like what you see in the mirror. Over a period of 3 months you modify your exercise routine and eating habits and you achieve your weight loss goal but you are still disappointed in the reflection in the mirror. While your physical fitness has benefited from the loss, your self-image didn’t improve so now the 20 pound loss isn’t a celebration rather a big let down because you’re still unhappy.

My suggestion is to keep that goal of 20 pounds because there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the goal. But to achieve satisfaction with the reflection in the mirror you will need to look at yourself EVERY DAY and find something you ‘love.’ At the beginning it might start with loving your eyes or hair but as your body begins to transform you will start loving the look of your bare arms or the trimming of your thighs. This exercise is not meant for you to become obsessed with the look of your body rather that you begin to become comfortable with it and you embrace the changes as they are happening.

Lastly, I would suggest that self-love is what will keep you from obsessing about comparing your look to those images promoted in the media. Instead of idealizing yourself through the images of celebrity air-brushed photos you will feel empowered to see the beauty in the uniqueness of your own body. We are all truly blessed with unique shapes and characteristics and I believe the more we learn to embrace them the more beautiful our world becomes.

So take some time today to love who you are now and with each passing day work on growing that love just the same way you find new ways to love the people and things in your life that mean the most.

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