Monday, March 14, 2005

Hug the Dragon

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos - the trees, the clouds, everything.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

I was just reminded of how great Laura Moncur's fitness blog is. Head on over to Starling Fitness and check it out. I read every article in the Motivation section. As I read about her internal struggles- the thoughts, the self-sabotage, I thought, there is no point in trying to trick myself into exercising because, until I wholly love and accept myself, there will always be some part of me that self-sabotages. Now I also remember that besides telling myself that I love myself, another way for me to understand that I am worthy of love and care is to show myself. One way to show myself that I love and care about myself is to eat healthy foods and do healthy exercise.

More tips for treating yourself like you are worthy of love and care:
  • Buck societal trends: Reward yourself for what you do, not how you look. In fitness goals that translates to: consider yourself a success when you take actions towards your fitness goals, whatever the result on the scale.
  • Be kind to yourself in little ways. Are you sitting in an uncomfortable position? Shift your body now, stretch, breathe deeply. Let yourself feel comfortable physically.
  • Remember what activities you enjoy. Make doing activities you enjoy a priority in your life! If you love painting and think you don't have time for the full blown hobby, take some time today to do a small sketch. Even giving yourself a little of what you love is a kindness. It’s better to give yourself something today than to withhold from yourself until you can have it perfectly.
  • Don’t wait until you think you deserve love to be kind to yourself. Has anyone ever loved you unconditionally before? It's time someone does. You can be that someone.
  • If you have trouble unconditionally loving yourself... don't get down on yourself for that! You can always step out one level from your current thoughts and acknowledge your thoughts or behavior and say "ok, I acknowledge that." Sometimes it's not the thought or behavior itself that hurts, but the meta-thought you have about it. For example, if you feel depressed just notice how you feel and avoid adding an additional layer of hatred, blame or guilt for what you are feeling. If you feel fat, just notice that, love yourself anyway and avoid adding an additional layer of anger or guilt or self-hatred. I think that is part of what "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" means.
Didn’t I start this entry by talking about fitness motivation? What does all this self-love talk have to do with that? Well, if you want to get fit, and then you create a plan, and then you follow that plan, probably nothing. BUT if you want to get fit, and then create a plan, and then you… try to do it and sometimes do it, but sometimes buy yourself donuts (or potato chips or…) even as another part of you is screaming ”NO!!”, or some part of you refuses to go running even though you know you‘d feel better if you did, or you lose weight and then freak out when someone gives you a compliment then… you may have a little self-sabotage going on. One way to deal with the self-sabatoger is to love the little bugger. Hug the dragon. As all of you is loved (by you,) you (all of you) will want what is best for you, because you will know/feel you are worthy of the best.

So, practice unconditionally loving yourself so you can be of one accord, want to be healthy, create a healthy plan, and simply follow it. In the meantime, use some of Laura's motivation suggestions and gently drag yourself out to excercise. Be a good parent to yourself, and with all the kindness and compassion you can muster tell yourself, "I'm doing this because I love you, you'll thank me when you're older."

For another look at positive self-talk,check out Norm Ephraim's article.

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