Power and Motivation for Change

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

Fear and Self-Sabotage

Have you ever tried to love someone only to find out that there is no way they are going to allow you in?  Do you know someone who seemingly had it all together and then started behaving in ways that destroyed their success? You show me a person who constantly sabotages the relationships that mean the most to them and I will show you a person who doesn’t think they deserve to be loved.  That is lack of love for self.  Oh yes, maybe they are afraid.  Aren’t we all afraid of letting others in?  Afraid of letting others be close to us?  Aren’t we all afraid that if others find out who we really are they will see that we are a fraud?  That we don’t have it all together?  That we’ve made mistakes?  That we’ll make mistakes again?

“Well if they really knew what I was like deep down, they would run as far away from me a possible.”  So we lie.  We deflect.  We never really ‘show up’ and be present with them and allow them to see our true hearts.  Below is an excerpt from an email I received from such a person.  This person came to the realization that they had been putting on a ‘false self’ in order to try to make people happy.  They have given me full permission to use this…

“I care way too much what everyone thinks of me.  I act like I don’t, but I do.  It affects everything that I do from counseling to being counseled.  From my work life to, and especially in, my home life.  With my family and friends and church.  I want people to think well of me and I can’t stand when they don’t.  I wish I cared less, but the monster in me that craves validation and affirmation is usually too hungry.  I do so many things in a way that is rarely “true” and whole hearted.  Usually I’m splitting part of my being up and spending energy on trying to present myself in a way that I’m liked.

I hide so many things from so many people.  Who could I sit down and be honest with without the total fear that they would leave me and no longer love me.  Then I feel as if I’d be ashamed of what everyone thought of me.”

Isn’t that the greatest fear that we all have?  That we aren’t worth being loved and that we will be alone because of it.  Isn’t this what every child fears on the first day of school?  Isn’t this what every middle school child thinks the first time they send that text (or in my day, passed a note)?  Isn’t that what adults think when they close themselves off from the one’s that love them most, engage in sabotaging behavior, and refuse to let love in?

It is hard to show our true selves.  And where do we start?  I think we start by realizing that we are hiding in the first place.  Getting honest with ourselves first.  Asking solid questions like, ‘am I a people pleaser?’  ‘Do I craft my life in a way to present myself to people in order to be liked?’

How do we move past trying to please people in order to soothe the fear that we won’t be liked?  By believing we are worth being loved.  Another way to say that is to love yourself.  Value yourself.  Believe that you truly do deserve to be loved and that you have something to offer other people that no one else can… yourself.  If you love and value yourself, you won’t let yourself hide.  You won’t let yourself sabotage relationships either.  So how about it?  Are you hiding?  Are you sabotaging yourself and your relationships?