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It is hard to believe that loving your body could have such a dramatic effect on the way that it feels, looks and is perceived by others. I am here to express to you personally, that IT DOES! You can radically alter all aspects of the way your body feels and looks, by engaging in deep, loving gratitude towards your body.
I speak from personal experience. I have transformed the health of my body by indulging in a regular practice of self love and care rituals. Like you, I had no idea how much this could improve all aspects of my well-being. Like most people, I had a love-hate relationship with my body. I was also very confused about what self love is. I was under the impression that loving yourself was liking the way that you looked in the mirror, and making other people happy, so that I could be happy with myself.
Au contraire, I have exposed these beliefs as being super surface level, as I have begun to dig so much deeper into what these terms mean, and have discovered GOLD!
Often times we do not want to believe that we don't like ourselves. We spend the majority of our time trying to ignore that voice and prove that we are good enough and worth loving by seeking it outside of ourselves. I too am guilty of this.
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of six. Thus, began a lifelong belief of victimization, along with the labels that my body was diseased, handicapped and limited. I secretly hated my body for feeling so stiff and so trapped in it, longing for a different body that performed well. I agonized over why this happened to me, and it was all-consuming. After years of being heavily medicated and still having so much pain, AND suffering from the numerous side effects of the drugs, I started a personal crusade to find a natural cure.
I intuitively knew it just didn't make sense for your body to “attack” itself like the doctors told me, and that deep down that my body was healthy.
To make a very long story short, my cure was surrender and embrace. So grateful that a natural doctor FINALLY gave me the gift at age 30 of asking me, “ Have you ever thought that maybe the pain just wants LOVE?”
Just wants love? I was dumbfounded. I could not believe I had never thought of this before! She told me to surrender, that my fight against the pain was actually causing it. She told me that this was my gift! I left her office, wondering how on earth do you give pain love?
I hated the pain, I resisted it, I looked for it, I judged it, I expected it…AHHHH I created it!
Finally owning up to the role that I played in exacerbating it, gave me my power back. I swallowed the responsibility pill and began the radical journey towards self-love and practicing self-care. I was given the gift of learning a very powerful Hawaiian chant called Ho o’ pono pono, a beautiful forgiveness chant, known the world over and has many different interpretations, the one that I was taught:
I am so sorry
Please forgive me
I forgive you
I thank you
I love you
This chant can be used on others and most importantly, YOURSELF.
Forgiveness is the cure for EVERYTHING, and is absolution for the law of love. After doing this chant for days and asking my body for forgiveness for how mean I had been to her, I suddenly saw her in a different light. She was this warrioress that had survived all of my judgments, criticism and hatred and she was so beautiful. Suddenly I didn't see my swollen joints, and gnarled fingers, which I had always looked down at with disgust before. My body literally changed before my eyes, as my perception had changed.
I share this with you, as so many of us are unaware of the subtle judgements we have towards our bodies every single day, all day long! Whether it's towards your thighs, or your booty, or your wrinkles or your grey hair, you would be shocked at how mean you are to your body, very subtly!
Self-love is telling yourself the truth about the way that you treat yourself. Acknowledging the voice in the mind and asking, would I speak that way to another?
The most significant lesson I have learned throughout this is that the way you treat yourself is how your outside world shows up to treat you. Truly loving yourself is being a vigilante in regards to being on your own side and telling yourself the truth about the way that you talk to yourself.
Ask yourself, would I treat another person that way and say those things to them?
Self LOVE 101 starts with this.
The words self love and self care are used so much now and they seem to be synonymous. However loving yourself is totally different than caring for yourself. Loving yourself is on a deep emotional level, fully accepting yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly! You are perfect and can make no mistakes. You picked the vessel you are riding around in and are re-creating it in every moment. Loving it is MAGIC and has profound results on your well-being; spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally!
Self care will enhance your opportunities to love yourself. I started to perform body loving rituals with the chocolate body scrub we hand-blend here on Maui. Slathering my body in this luxurious chocolate scrub every couple of days, feels like heaven and gives me the opportunity to treat myself like a queen, as the scrub was inspired by Cleopatra herself. She regularly bathed in chocolate for its beauty benefits, and spared no expense in adorning herself with the absolute best elements from the earth.
Beginning a regular practice of self care is imperative. Before learning the art of these practices I only exfoliated for vanity's sake, not knowing the power I possessed in being able to heal my own body with gratitude and love.
Now I take the opportunity to do some introspection along with the beautification. Symbolically allowing for the exfoliation to scrub away old layers of my skin as well as my soul. Asking what am I ready to let go of? What am I holding on to? The answer will appear and as you indulge in a self care ritual like this with intention, you have the opportunity for a re-birth!
When I have a realization or a powerful revelation I scrub that old part of myself away to make room for the NEW.
REFLECT * RELEASE * RINSE * REPEAT
Our bodies and our cells are in a beautiful continuum of birth, repair, regeneration and death. Layer by layer you will unveil the beauty in your heart. I encourage you to excavate your emotions as they are subconsciously running the show. As you acknowledge each of them, and honor the lessons you have learned, you can then release them, and accept yourself completely.