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Path to Health - Day 10: The Paradox of Being and Doing

Yesterday, I wrote on how to reverse limiting beliefs. I sincerely hope you took the proper time to ingest it. If not, please go do so now. Today, I want to expand on that, continuing to address the impact emotions have on our behavior (as discussed in Day 3), by talking about what I see from so many people as being the Number One limiting belief when it comes to weight loss: "That'll never be me."

There's this idea so many of us hold onto where we see an end goal we think is utterly unattainable because of how far off it is from our own lives. You know the picture I'm talking about: some smokin' hot body in a skimpy swimsuit, bathing in the sun on the beach, looking youthful, happy, and having the time of his/her life. It doesn't help that we may see our friends on Facebook or Instagram sharing photos of all the awesome things they're doing, making us feel both jealous and inadequate for not being able to do such awesome things ourselves. The funny thing about social media is that it acts as our own personal filter where we get to plaster up the highlights of our lives without necessarily exposing all the boring, mundane things we're doing or thinking throughout most of our day-to-day lives. And yet, when we see other people posting their own highlights, those feelings of jealousy crop up before we stop to consider just how much mundane activity their lives must also be filled with when they're not posting vacation pictures or weight loss results or awesome projects or whatnot.

The rapidly available and overly abundant media in our lives continually reminds us of all those awesome things currently going on in the world that we're not a part of, all the achievements other people are making that outshine our uneventful days, and it has a tendency to make us feel depressed about our own lives. But as I said way back on Day 1: You cannot hate yourself to health; you can only love yourself to health.

So we need a way to start loving ourselves today, as we are, right now. And there's a practice that is surprisingly simple yet has the power to be enormously effective: positive self affirmations. Every morning and evening, as I use the restroom after I wake up and before I lie down to sleep, I look in the mirror and repeat the following sentence at least three times: "I love and accept myself 100% exactly as I am right now." You can vary it just a little, but the point is to tell yourself that you are perfect just the way you are, even including your imperfections.

Unconditional love of the self is the way to start treating yourself correctly. Your brain is going to resist at first--probably for about a month--and that's natural. You are working to recode your brain so that you are comfortable with who you are at any given point in your life. You don't need to see your current state as "bad" or "wrong," because those thoughts only perpetuate to harm yourself. Some people exude a false sense of self-love, which we often pick up on as being too outrageous; we generally label this as egotism or narcissism, and it's a false love because it's trying to mask a subconscious fear of inadequacy. But when you practice healthy, positive self-affirmations over a long enough time, you can reprogram your subconscious to eliminate those fears, those self-doubts and self-loathing. It may be painful; it may cause you to confront deep-seated issues that you've been neglecting for a long time, but this is good because then you can practice what I wrote about yesterday on reversing limiting beliefs.

"But wait!" I hear some of you saying. "If I accept myself as perfect right now, then why lose the weight? Won't I just grow so comfortable with myself that I quit trying to lose weight? Don't I need to see the flaws to fix them?" Accepting yourself doesn't mean you turn a blind eye to your flaws--that's what the egotist or narcissist does. Accepting yourself actually necessitates that you consciously recognize your flaws, and loving yourself necessitates that you do everything you can to treat yourself as best as you know how. This level of acceptance and love simply means you don't get DOWN on yourself over your flaws. It frees you from the inner critic that's constantly berating you for "not being good enough." Instead, it allows you to accept where you are right now; to give you the strength to do the right things for your life; and to trust that while life is awesome for you right now, it has the potential to be even more awesome in the future. But the ironic thing is that while part of you looks forward to the future, you are still able to be completely content right now because you aren't putting ALL your emotional stock into some vision of a future that "must be" for you to be happy. You accept happiness right now in your life, and accept that whatever future comes should be pretty dang awesome as well, even though you don't exactly know what that's going to be yet.

This is the paradox of being and doing. You accept your current state with full, unconditional love, and that love allows you to address the right things to move you forward towards even greater experiences for the future.  It's learning to love the journey itself instead of just the results.