The health of your habits will be in direct proportion to the amount with which you love and value yourself. What? Ok, let me put it this way. The more you love and value yourself, the healthier your habits will be. This seems like a simple concept right? A no brainer. The more I care about myself, the more I will want to actively care for myself. And yet how many of us have habits that we know aren’t healthy and wish we could change, but we feel powerless to do so? This is true at every level. Some of us have paralyzing addictions that keep us from having any sense of clarity and tend to compound poor choices upon more poor choices. We don’t love or value ourselves much, so we don’t put an end to the self-destructive behaviors that we engage. These behaviors are what we are comfortable with and we aren’t sure how to cope in any other fashion. Breaking the gravitational pull of these habits can only be done when we determine that we are more valuable than we previously thought.
And then there are other, more subversive unhealthy habits that we may have formed. Co-dependence, emotional soothing eating patterns, working all the time, searching for validation through social media, and lack of exercising, to name a few. What are some of the habits that you wish you could change? That you feel you really want to change, but haven’t succeeded yet.
I used to think that it was a matter of just really wanting the new habit or really wanting to get rid of the old habit. But habits are simply a by-product of how we view ourselves. You can’t ‘make’ yourself ‘want’ something more than you do. But you can choose to love and value yourself. The more you love and value yourself, the more your ‘want’ for caring for yourself will grow. Love for yourself will break the gravitational pull of any unhealthy habit and will automatically replace the poor habits with healthy ones.
In the past I’ve tried to shame or fear myself into changing the way I lived my life. I need to exercise more. I need to stop smoking. I need to eat better. I need to get more sleep… and so on and so forth. I would literally try to do mental gymnastics to convince myself and attempt to motivate myself to make changes. But the reality is, I was only going to make the changes that I felt I deserved. I was only going to live the life that I valued.
The real kicker is that loving and valuing ourselves is a choice. We can decide to love ourselves. We can determine that we are worth it. It isn’t a matter of convincing ourselves as much as it is a matter of believing the truth that we have value. That we are worth being loved. Making a choice is a powerful thing. To agree on a daily basis that you are worth it, that you do love yourself, will have ramifications that will reach your children's children. And then actually making choices to actively love yourself and value yourself. Instead of playing mental gymnastics, you can put your energy towards making decisions to care for yourself.
Not long ago, these concepts were completely foreign to me and seemed too ‘self-helpy’ or too ‘Stuart Smiley-ish’. But with some age, and a little bit of maturity, I began to realize that there is nothing as valuable as caring for, loving, and valuing myself. In loving myself I’m becoming a better person. In becoming a better person, I make everyone’s life around me better. I'm absolutely still learning how to value myself and love myself. But I'm finding the more I do, the better my choices and habits become.
So how about it? Are you stuck in some unhealthy patterns? Do you beat yourself up for not being the kind of person you ‘want’ to be or think you should be? Why not simply make the decision to determine that you are valuable and choose to love yourself? I dare you to say it out loud with conviction. No seriously, I double dog dare you.
“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I'm not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” ~C. Joybell C.
“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, 'I release the need for this in my life'." ~Dr. Wayne Dyer
"I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don't have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?" ~Shailene Woodley