Self-respect is the fruit of discipline... ~Abraham J. Heschel
A few days ago, I was asked the following question:
"On Guiltless, you promote self-love despite a person's perceived shortcomings. Does that mean I can eat cake all day and never exercise again but still be content with myself?"
Interesting thought. Let me explain why self-love does not equal the end self-care.
The root of the message here is actually self-respect. When we respect our bodies, we take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. The self-love we promote is an inner thought process leading to true friendship with oneself. If a dear friend said to you, "I didn't exercise today, so I'm not going to eat dinner," how would you reply? I would tell my friend to allow him/herself to take a break physically and to eat in a way that will nourish his/her skin, muscles, bones, and blood. I would say, "Friend, you are being way too hard on your beautiful self."
Too often do we beat ourselves up over decisions we make according to what our bodies tell us. Sometimes, our bodies will tell us that we are tired and we need a break. Or sometimes, we may want a treat or what we once thought of as a "guilty pleasure." It's the response we have to these desires that tests our self-love. Instead of becoming angry with ourselves and setting out to achieve extreme, unrealistic, and often unhealthy goals, we should be guiltless and mindful and honor the needs of our bodies. But this doesn't mean we should eat cake all day and stop exercising. It means we should nourish our bodies with good food and physically exert ourselves in a way that makes us feel good, while also allowing to break when we need it and indulge in moderation without judgment.
Therefore, once you know what self r-e-s-p-e-c-t means to you, it will be easier to let yourself flow in life. That's why I love yoga so much. During the yoga flow, you never know what thoughts may arise or what aches and pains might come up, but you keep going, striving for inner peace. The yoga flow is just like life in this way. We come across thoughts, emotions, and sore spots throughout life which often create obstacles to our objectives, but like the popular saying goes, "If you fall, get up and try, try again."
How will you honor yourself today?