Los Angeles Life and Style Health News
Loving Yourself – A Missing Link to Health
Why is self-love an important missing link for wellness and disease prevention – Most of us live our days in search of love or loving others, including children, partners, family, friends, and pets. We know from a great deal of scientific research, as well as our inner wisdom, that love is essential for good health and that the happiness love brings is healing. People who are in a committed relationship are happier and healthier than people who are not. Those who are integrated into a community for example, a faith community or a big extended family are healthier and happier than those who are not. We seek relationships with a partner and with a community because it is what makes us feel meaning and happiness. Still, there is a missing piece for many of us: all too often, we forget to love ourselves. Looking outward, we often see others as somehow more deserving of love; more innocent, less flawed. Our self-critical inner voices tell us that we are less deserving.
One reason that a child is easy to love is because he or she hasn’t yet realized that they are not the most important person in the world. Children naturally possess the gift of self-love. From that heart-centered place, they can love others unconditionally and passionately. This ability is quickly lost in a culture that instills a sense of lack, of needing material goods, achievements, or other people to complete us to make us worthy of self-love. For so many of us, self-love isn’t even on our radar. We’re just trying to get through the days and to fulfill our responsibilities. But in the end, if we do not turn enough love in on ourselves, we become stingy with the love we give to others. We end up having relationship problems and our health may suffer. Eventually, it becomes necessary to take the time to appreciate, nurture, and care for ourselves just as we do for others in our lives. This is not something that is easy or instantly gratifying. It requires slowing down, finding balance, and basking in one’s own healing presence. Self-love is so different from loving others that the use of the same word for both can be confusing. It is also radically different from the love we crave and expect from others. Each type of love involves different feelings and different results. Loving yourself requires that you accept that you are not a machine, and that you are imperfect. As you focus love in on yourself, unexpected things might happen: you might hurt or feel broken; you might cry or show other emotions that your rational side does not think are acceptable. You might even scream, speak your mind, be angry, and laugh out loud. You may find yourself releasing that innocent child out that got trapped inside when being told to grow up. As you practice self-love, you will find yourself able to love others more deeply, allowing you to find that ‘true love’ most of us desire.