Is It Ok To Love All Of Me?

Tree in the shape of heart, valentines day background,
Self-love; most of us have heard this concept, but what is it really? You must love yourself before you can truly love someone else. How many times have you heard that one? But, what is this whole self-love thing? Does it mean that you should always praise, adore and shower yourself with gifts? Does it mean you think everything you do and say is wonderful? What connotations come to your mind when you think of self-love?

Here are some things I do know. We are not perfect. We are all human which means we all have human frailties. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the way we learn. So, self-love is not about being perfect or performing perfectly. Self-love is more about accepting our imperfections and being compassionate about the fact of that we can and do make mistakes. Acknowledging that even though we make mistakes we are still ‘good’ is essential. The more you can accept that you are imperfect and yet still good, the more you will feel love and compassion towards yourself.

Self-love is about grasping that your essence is good. It is accepting that you are light, even though sometimes you feel dark. Accepting the ‘whole’ of you is a part of spiritual maturity. Learning to be gracious towards yourself in your non-perfect form is essential. Self-love is a consistent commitment to remembering who your authentic self is: good. Not perfect, but good. Your acknowledgement of your light and attention to your good is what helps to manage the dark.

For many this concept of being ‘good’ in essence is difficult to accept. It is during our very young formative years that our self-concept is formed. Our primary caretakers and other important people in our young lives lay the foundation of our beliefs about our self. At these young vulnerable years we are innocent to this indoctrination. If your caretakers mirrored negative, harmful, critical messages, then those are what you took on as true; whether consciously or unconsciously.

If you have trouble absorbing the concept of you being essentially ‘good’ then maybe your younger learning’s were more negative and are subconsciously still controlling your beliefs about yourself. The good news is that you weren’t born with these negative opinions. You can learn to bring these negative messages to your conscious mind and begin to correct them. It is an involved process that requires being very intentional. However, you can change your beliefs about yourself and slowly, consistently learn to belief the truth: that at your core you are good!

Is It Time To Remodel Something In Your Life?

We are currently in the beginning phases of doing our first major remodeling in our home. It happens to be our kitchen. It has been interesting to watch as they completely tore apart what was there and now there is an empty shell waiting to be rebuilt. And I was thinking of the parallel of this in each of our lives. Of the concept of remodeling; of tarring down what isn’t working and rebuilding; assessing what parts of our lives need to be completely tore apart and built anew; what parts possible need some resurfacing or some upgrades.

So I invite you to think of this concept of remodeling, rebuilding, making anew; and how this applies to you in your life. Are there areas in your life that you think need a complete overhaul? Or perhaps there are areas that you would just like to freshen up and make anew. This could have to do with your career and work life. It could be as extreme as wanting to start a whole new career. That may involve additional education or certifications. It could mean starting at a lower end position. This could be an area you want a complete overhaul.

Or possibly the area that needs attention is your relationships. It could be your love relationship that you think you may want to change some old patterns of relating that are not working and explore new ways of relating to your partner that would be more productive. It could be your parenting. Maybe it’s time to consider “Perhaps my ways of attempting to parent are out dated.” Possibly I ought to research some of the better ways to deal with my child or teenager. Maybe it is time to be open to new suggestion and avenues in dealing with your children or child.

A common area that people need some upgrades is with their physical health. This includes diet, exercise etc. Often one needs to do a very mindful assessment of your eating and exercise habits. Perhaps it’s time to start watching your cholesterol and change your food choices to help control this. Maybe you need to cut back on your sweets. Becoming more contentious overall about what you are putting in your mouth. Possibly it’s time to create a new ritual with exercise.

So as I watch our kitchen be torn apart and now looks like nothing attractive at all, with the anticipation of what will come, it brings to light the encouragement we each can use about what we need to remodel in our own lives. And I believe it would be wise if every six months you do an assessment of how you think you are doing in the core areas of your life. And that is the primary purpose of the book I have written, “Be Happy Now! Become The Active Director of Your Life.” It helps you to evaluate your emotional, mental, physical, financial and relational health. Every six months use this book as a tool to help you determine if you are being the active director of your life or if you need to make some proactive choices to claim that position.

Are You A Compulsive Overeater?

sugar foods
We hear a lot these days about food and weight. If it’s not an ad for a weight-loss program, then it’s an ad about food. Obviously, Americans’ like food! Food is an everyday part of life. However, for some of us food has taken on a different meaning. Instead of viewing food as a way to meet our daily nutritional needs; as a way to fuel our bodies with energy; compulsive eaters (also known as binge eaters) use food for different purposes.

Many people occasionally eat when they’re not hungry, or when they’re down or to celebrate a special occasion. Some people just really enjoy food. When these people recognize that they have a few pounds to lose to be healthier they can initiate changes in their eating patterns to achieve their goal. These people can establish control with food fairly simply.

Not so with the compulsive eater. While the severity of compulsive eaters is broad, most feel as though the food often has more power over them than they do over it! While many may try to change their eating habits, eventually they find themselves back where they started, and often with an even more intense binge eating disorder.

Whatever the severity of the compulsive eater’s problem, the experience of feeling out of control with food is very lonely and frustrating. Many binge eaters don’t even know “why” they are eating. Sometimes it is because they are bored, lonely, angry, depressed, confused, tired or sick. Many compulsive eaters binge eat as a way to celebrate a positive achievement or event. I have heard many compulsive eaters say “I don’t know why I ate it; it was just there; I had to have it.”

Problems with compulsive eating can range from eating portions that are too large, grazing on food all day long or eating too much at desert time. If you are at this stage this is a good time to take a look at your eating habits. Be intentional and observes if you are eating because you are hungry or for reasons other than providing for your nutritional needs. If you take time to get help at this stage it is often easier to correct your overeating habits.

Then there are individuals who regularly participate in what we call “binging.” In general a binge is when you consume large portions of food in a short period of time. Often individuals plan secret binges. The person may sneak food and eat it away from the sight of family or friends. She may make special trips to the store to accommodate her binge needs or wake-up in the middle of the night and binge. Some of the common binge foods are sweets and other carbohydrates.

Many binge eaters have been trying for years to overcome their problem. Often he has tried many diet programs only to eventually succumb to his cravings. If he did lose weight he usually will return to his original weight or more. Compulsive eaters have lived misunderstood for years. It is only of recent that binge eating is being recognized as a true “disorder” and meriting special attention.

Does Your Life Reflect Your Values?

There are many aspects that are important in helping you achieve the happiest, healthiest life possible. Identifying your values and goals is essential to having a more satisfying life. How can you attain the life you want if you are not clear about what is most important to you? Just going through the motions of daily life is living passively. As I state in my book, “one is often so busy doing life that it is easy to avoid evaluating whether you are putting your energy in the directions you value most.” Taking time to gain clarity about what is important to you is imperative. As you are more aware of what you value, then you create goals that will adhere to and reinforce these values. Goal setting is a way of assuring that you are progressing in a manner that aligns with your values.

One simple way to begin evaluating if you’re living in alignment with what you value most is to write down what you do in your average 24-hour workday, and then again write down how you typically spend a weekend day. It is easy to get so busy that you don’t realize how little energy you are putting towards what is important to you. I realize most of us have to work and that takes a large portion of our time. However, how are you using your time when you’re not working? I encourage you to use this exercise as a tool to help direct you in ways you can adjust your energies so that you are more in harmony with what is most important to you.

If you recognize areas that need to be adjusted, then make small goals to begin changing them. Maybe you notice that you spend two-hour from 8-10pm watching TV. You may make it your goal to spend only one-hour watching TV and the other hour exercising, working on a personal project, spending time with your children or putting your energy into something else that is very important to you. It is easy to let time get the best of you! Better to make the best of your time!