A few days ago, I participated in a webinar and was interviewed by the owner of a great organic company Miessence (www.miessence.com/theoliveparent), Narelle Chenery. She asked me one of the best questions, I’ve ever been asked about creating health. She asked me, “What one thing would you recommend people do to improve their health?”
A stream of thoughts flowed into my mind. That’s a tough one, since there are so many things we can do to. Is it diet, exercise, sleep? How about the best supplement?
What is the answer? In a split second, I responded, “Narelle, that is a really good question, as there are so many things we can do to improve our health, and well-being. But if you want only one answer, I would say, loving yourself is the most important thing you can ever do for your health.”
In fact, I believe love, is the greatest gift you and the most important supernutrient you can ever give yourself. Why our essence, your essence, my essence is love. And if we don’t love ourselves, or feel worthy of love, we are always, looking for love in all of the wrong places. And with the wrong expectations. Nothing replaces our fundamental need and requirement of self-love, after we depart infancy.
Why is love so important? When I was in college I learned that orphaned baby animals, including humans, that don’t receive love die. Even plants respond to love. It is an essential element of life.
How to Love Yourself
I believe that the most significant and important relationship we have in our life is often overlooked. It’s the one we have with ourselves and the Divine that resides within us. Ultimately, superhealing is loving ourselves with total self-acceptance: being fine with who we are just the way we are. When we get that right, we are right with the world. Self-love is flexible, kind, giving, compassionate, and understanding. It is the basis for all the love we give to and share with others. When we love ourselves, our minds, bodies, and spirits are in harmony and express a high-functioning physiology, both physically and emotionally.
Yet many of us were born into families that did not know how to help us develop our awareness of all the love that dwells inside us. As children, we are often encouraged to become externally focused and to disregard our internal messages, dialogue, and guidance. That leads to the fear and self-doubt that ultimately results in self-disregard. I also believe it is difficult to love ourselves in the vacuum created by not relating love to our spirituality.
How do we set that right? I’ve heard patients ask, “How do I begin to love myself? What do you mean? I feel so unworthy! I’ve known how to love others, but not myself. Where do I start?”
True self-love is always present; we only need to remove the disharmony that is preventing its expression. Nothing has to be different for us to be whole. It is a matter of changing our perspectives and perceptions. Self-love, which is activated by attention, awareness, and acceptance and appreciated; and the health benefits of altruism, gratitude, and forgiveness.
One of the easiest ways to begin is to start to pay attention to yourself. Attention is the act of applying the mind to something with awareness—you, in this case. Listen to your inner voice and to what you are saying to yourself. We often speak more negatively to ourselves than we ever would to anyone else. Usually, we criticize ourselves more than we praise ourselves.
Some in our culture would argue that to focus on and nurture ourselves is to be selfish. Self-love is often confused with narcissism. Narcissism, or self-centeredness, is the opposite of self-love. It is demanding, immature, and unrelenting. Narcissists are compensating for a falsely perceived sense of their own inferiority. Arrogance and selfishness are outward manifestations of fear and insecurity. Narcissism seeks to soothe our pain, but it is a poor and incapable substitute for self-love. It tries to gain from the outer world something that only the inner world can provide. A secure soul, in contrast to a narcissistic one, is open and loving.
Learning to love yourself, however, doesn’t mean that from then on everything will always come up roses. Difficulties will persist, and sometimes they become even greater. The sign of our growth is not the absence of difficulties but the way we handle them. The healing and health that comes from loving ourselves softens our negativity, loosening its grasp. We take responsibility. We make conscious and unconscious choices of how to respond to any situation.
Self-love is the portal to health, which comes not from us but through us. That portal leads to a pathway with no ultimate destination, since there is no endpoint to your optimal health and well-being. Like a blossoming flower, it continuously unfolds from the center of your being and occurs in its own way and own time.
Why Forgiveness is Critical
What about the past? How does everything that we have done before now affect the present? The past is over. Let it go. There is no need for guilt or blame, only for understanding and healing. Forgiveness is another important aspect of healing. One day, perhaps even sooner than you can imagine now, you will become more appreciative of the lessons that past events afforded you, as difficult and challenging as they might have been at the time.
The pathway of self-love guides us to our primary and inseparable wholeness, the core of our being. Peace of mind, self-acceptance, and knowledge of one’s true nature comes from living in tune with one’s inner self and experiencing the spirit within. To be whole is to be complete, yet ever unfolding to the beauty and true nature of your being, which restores your mind, and allows your body to function optimally. I believe optimal health and well-being is impossible to achieve without self-love.