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If you read my blogs regularly, you know how adamantly I warn against using directives like should, need to, must, ought, have to and am supposed to. Unfortunately, you’ve probably been using them for years thinking that they’re going to get you to change your eating, exercises or other behaviors. And yet, here you are reading my blogs. These words are external motivators that get you exactly nowhere. There is another way.
It’s called self-love. Think about what it would be like to have a love affair with yourself. Here’s how it would change your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
to urge you to do so. You do it automatically straight from the heart. You notice and value all the wonderful things they say and do. You can’t help it because you think they’re special. You minimize their faults because you think of them as overwhelmingly wonderful. Some might say that you view them with rose-colored glasses.
them and simply being in their presence gives you a special feeling. How lucky you are! You’re always trying to deepen the bond you have with them and there is a oneness and wholeness when you’re with them. Ah, you sigh, all is well.
love doing for them—taking them to the doctor when they’re sick, encouraging them to get a flu shot, gently reminding them to exercise, planning meals with them, ensuring that they get the best of everything. This desire springs naturally from you.
keep them out of harm’s way. You raise their awareness of damaging consequences to their actions and help them consider the best options for the future. You do your best to shift them out of denial, rationalizing and intellectualizing to make sure they’re facing life squarely and honestly. Your deepest desire is for them to thrive, thrive, thrive.
berate or harshly criticize them. Love makes you want to be honest but also to soften any blows. You’re careful what you say around them to avoid injuring their feelings. You don’t want the person you love to hurt because it makes you hurt too.
compassion and will do almost anything to make them feel better. You try humor and distraction. You explain over and over again why they’ll be okay and reassure them that you’ll love them no matter what.
Is this not love? So why can’t you think and act the same way toward yourself? If you do all of the above, I guarantee—yes, guarantee—that your eating and your life will change for the better. Self-love: there is no better (or other) path.
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