I was recently reminded of the sad story of a morbidly overweight woman who died from complications due to her weight.
She had embraced a lifestyle of celebrating fat and unhealthy food for which she was a vocal advocate. She claimed her practice was rooted in radical self-love…
I am not here to open a fat versus skinny debate. What I am more interested in are the sabotaging patteŕns that have us believe that everything we like is good for us even if it leads us to an early grave.
SELF-LOVE OR SELF-INDULGENCE?
As a society we often mistake self-love and self-indulgence.
Self-love is rooted in self-preservation. It often leads to choices that are not comfortable: working out to stay fit, eating healthy to stay … healthy.
Self-indulgence is rooted in self-sabotage. It often leads to doing something destructive because it feels good: having 1 or 2 extra pieces of cake because it tastes so good, skipping the gym because it’s more fun to watch a show on TV.
The problem is: just because something feels good to you, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Our minds and our bodies can trick us.
Take for instance coffee.
So many people cannot imagine a life without it: they love the taste, the smell, the energy kick they get. And they can’t function without it.
What most people are unaware of is that coffee doesn’t give energy, it takes away energy. It’s just an illusion. Coffee is an additive substance that binds itself into our nervous system and makes us crave it. And makes us believe it’s good for us when it actually isn’t.
But it’s not always food that has us fooled.
Sometimes it’s a habit, a mindset or even someone. You know watching that TV show that is making you lose a few neurons each time but is so funny, or getting back with that guy that gives you a creepy feeling of being used but who’s so hot.
YOU OR YOUR PROGRAMMING
Often people will fight for their sabotaging patterns by saying ‘but you don’t understand, this is me. That’s what I do. This is what I want.’.
However the question is: ‘which ‘me’ are they talking about?’
We tend to see ourselves as a very congruent and static unit when actually we are a composite of many influences and voices.
Our conscious self represents only tiny fraction of what we call ‘me’. Most of what we call ‘me’ is actually happening in our subconscious mind which is subject to all sorts of influences from the outside and is a bit like a sponge that records and accepts everything it’s been exposed to.
Grow up with loving parents that constantly reinforce the positive qualities about you, and your subconscious will be full of life-affirming, self-preserving notion and ideas.
If you’ve heard all your life: ‘you’re so smart’, ‘you always make the right choices’, ‘I am proud of you’, your self-image will be associated with success-promoting ideas.
Grow up surrounded by toxic, negative, destructive people who criticize you and your subconscious mind will accumulate negative, sabotaging patterns dictated by what it has heard.
‘You’re so stupid’, ‘you’ll never amount to anything’, ‘you’re so lazy’ are actually commands your mind will try to fulfill. Every time you have to go to the gym, take on a new challenge or try to improve your life, yu will sabotage yourself. You will believe you are lazy without realizing you’re running a program.
Obviously we’re still being programmed each day with tv, the news, music, fashion magazines.
We take on a lot of desires that are not our own: the flashy car, the big tv screen, ‘the beach body’, the ‘long straight blond hair’…
SO WHO IS THE REAL YOU?
I like to say go back to this time when you were 2, 3, 4 years old. And think about the things that made you giggle and smile for no reason.
Go back to times when you are insanely happy in your life: it could be when you are dancing, when you are building stuff, when you’re creative, when you’re solving problems.
It’s this part of you that comes out when you are in the flow and completely blissed out doing something you enjoy.
If you’re thinking: ‘I’ve got to get more cash so I can buy that house to show my neighbor’, you’re in your programming.
If you’re thinking: ‘I love seing the face of people light up when I organize their birthday party’ , you’re in your true self.
‘HATERS GONNA HATE.’ REALLY?!!
Talking about fighting for your sabotaging patterns, I have to mention a huge pet-peeves of mine: the ubiquitous use of ‘hater’ and ‘shamer’ which has taken pandemic proportion in our society and is more often than not a way to deflect any kind of self-reflection.
As a society we have been so intoxicated with the idea that everything should feel good, that when we encounter something/ someone that challenges our views, we attack.
They must wrong because we are always right.
They are haters.
Things are not that simple though.
Obviously, yes, there are people that are full of hate and that will do everything in their power to sabotage you. These people have issues.
However most of the time, the people who get afflicted with the popular ‘hater’, ‘shamer’ labels are the well-meaning friend, boyfriend or family member that tries to get us back on track.
– ‘Baby, easy on the ice cream, you’ve been getting a bit heavy lately. I mean you’ve been complaining about your clothes no longer fitting and your doctor said you need to watch your blood sugar.
– ‘Oh really, I thought you loved me for who I was not just for I how I look. Why do you have to be so shallow and be such a fat-shamer?’
– ‘Girl, you should really cut down on your smoking, you’ve been getting a nasty cough lately’
– ‘Oh, c’mon, we only live once. Why do you have to be such a stuck-up hater?’
What’s really happening here is cognitive dissonance that makes us cling to our values even if they are destructive.
If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self – Napoleon Hill
TRUE SELF LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION OF SUCCESS
Being positive and loving yourself are key foundations of a healthy and successful life. But you must be honest with yourself or self-indulgence, laziness, self-delusion will destroy you and your efforts to create greatness.
Self-love is not always a bed of roses and it certainly is not about enabling your bs stories.
Whatever you desire to create for yourself must be rooted in true self-love.
It is true self-love that will motivate you to reach out for what you truly need even if it means making efforts and sacrifice to get it.
It is true self-love that will allow you to have discernment and see when you are being self-serving or when you are honoring yourself.
It’s work but you deserve it.
So, after all this has been said, I have one question for you: do you really love yourself?
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Photo credit: CC- source / edited by S+B