Yourself First

It is so cliche to say, but I really had to love myself before I could start focusing on my physical health journey.

I tried to just get really mean with myself before. Force myself to do better but with a lot of self-hatred.

And it just doesn’t work. Everything in us resists that. Honestly I think even Spirit resists that for us. Because this isn’t about punishment or condemnation. This isn’t even about discipline.

Remember falling in love with someone? It’s like a superpower. All of a sudden the will to do almost anything overcomes you and you are unstoppable. Well, what if you felt that way about yourself? What if instead of redirecting all that energy towards someone else, what if you loved yourself to that extent?

And by loved, well… I know the superficial religious folks have their panties already in a bunch to even consider such an audacious suggestion. And I don’t want to try to put new wine in old wineskins.

In addition to the limits of our language also contributing to the problem. Because how can you say you love pizza, love the beach, love watching NYPD SVU… but then say to love yourself? What does love in that context even mean?

Probably a lot of things. But a few for me:

Loving myself as in accepting myself as I am, where I am. I.e. not being mean to myself. Accept that I am just a kid, God’s kid, plopped down in the middle of some crazy awesome universe in the middle of space with no instruction manual. So yeah, I am finally going to give myself grace. I don’t use that as an excuse to hurt other people, so I am doing my best.

And loving myself as in giving myself permission to reduce the stress in my life. Because that is a huge contributor to physical health or specifically the lack thereof. No more am I taking on other people’s problems. Especially if they won’t take them on for themselves. And no more am I tolerating people who are full of drama and not working towards being a better person; like, did you not learn anything from 2020?!

Those are just two examples, but there are so many more.

Loving myself is really an expression of gratitude and worship. As in being excited to participate in this human experience I have been gifted. Now that I finally realize it’s not a pass or fail exam. That we are completely safe.

Believing that God wants to heal us. Jesus being the example. Remember all the stories? It was the religious leaders who thought it was their God-given duty to prance around and make a big ridiculous show out of shaming people by focusing on how they didn’t measure up to the laws the religious leaders loved and worshipped. But Jesus, God’s human representative for us, to see how much we are Loved, – what did He do? Constantly healed people. Saw their pain and brought them relief.

So why would God see me differently? Why wouldn’t God want me to feel relief? Want me to feel better physically?

That encourages me so much. To know that my wildest dreams are still possible because God is always in my corner. So, dream big. And even bigger.

Which for me involves embracing returning to my body. Not at all so someone or anyone will accept me. No, that ship has sailed and pretty much sunk to the bottom of the ocean. See, I don’t need your acceptance anymore because I accept myself and I know God accepts me. As I am. And if you want to look down on me and treat me differently because my physical appearance makes you uncomfortable or isn’t to your liking, then you are the one missing out.

I am finally doing this for me. So the outside will match the inside. In terms of life and energy. There are so many more things I want to do. Things I’ve always wanted to do. Like learn to surf and snowboard. Or get back to rollerblading. Which I used to love! Things that would be much better enjoyed with more physical fitness. More physical energy.

In a much better place these days. And so thankful for that!

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