The Practice of Self-Love

img_0465I’m sure that most of us can recall the saying that we must love ourselves before being able to love others. “A very interesting phylosophy” I used to think, without giving it much thought. At some point in our lives, people ask us if we love ourselves, and I would dare to say that 90 percent of us agree without thinking what it really means to truly love and appreciate who we are. When being asked this question I would always respond, “I’m my own person, and therefore, I must love myself, right?” As many of you, I was tired of these “idealistic perspectives” and would proceed to the most acceptable answer.

Four years ago, I went through one of the most difficult periods of my life… I was drained…surviving, but drained. And after so much stress and being exposed to extreme conditions, I developed a stomach ulcer.

The sensations started with sharp pains in my stomach, especially when I ate. An empty stomach had a burning sensation, but when I ate, I felt as if I were swallowing food into a wound… that’s exactly how I would describe it to friends “an open wound in my stomach.” After days of avoiding certain foods thinking that it was a simple indigestion, I ended up in the emergency room to the news of an ulcer.

At the moment, I couldn’t help but to think how alive my body was, if that makes sense. Just like you may get an open wound on an arm or leg, similarly, we get open wounds inside our bodies. It seems like we spend much time thinking of the outside, of what we show to the world, without the realization that our entire body is alive and it can feel it… just because we can’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it is not there. Sometimes we mistreat ourselves (ex. get blackout drunk) with the notion that everything disappears right when it passes down our throats, when the reality is that our body is alive and it does in fact assimilate everything we do to it – that was the moment when I truly appreciated the concept of self-love.

What can we do to make sure that we love and care for our bodies, and actually consider the ways in which we can make it happy?

After that success, little things such as taking deep breaths, meditating, feeling the sensation in my belly as I fill it with water, feeling my heart beat after a workout, and even listening to a song that makes me happy are simple acts of kindness… acts that our bodies feel and appreciate, because it is alive… it is so alive that it responds back to us with acts such as increased energy, support, health, self-happiness, and self-confidence to make it through the day.

Have you taken the time to love your body?

Seek to understand its needs, seek to understand what makes it happy, and seek to fulfill its needs, both physically and emotionally.