Love Your Body, Love Your Life
5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently
By Sarah Maria
Eating Disorders. Steroids. Plastic Surgery.
We’ll do anything to look better — and yet we still feel bad about how we look. Self-loathing has reached epidemic proportions. But there is a way to end self-destructive thoughts and behavior. In Love Your Body, Love Your Life, noted body-image expert Sarah Maria presents her proven five-step plan anyone can use to overcome negative body obsession (NBO). She helps you:
- Commit to change
- Identify and detach from negative thoughts
- Discover who you really are
- Befriend your body
- Find your purpose
- Love your body, love your life
Complete with exercises, case studies, and testimonials, you can learn how to stop obsessing over food and your body and achieve permanent peace with both.
Go Ahead and Pamper Yourself
By Sarah Maria
Gone are the days when self-pampering was considered overly-indulgent, self-aggrandizing or narcissistic, right? Well, if those days aren’t quite gone for you, hopefully they will be gone by the time you finish reading this post. Here we go:
Many of us have been raised with what I call delusional thought patterns. These are any thoughts that prevent us from knowing and experiencing ourselves as the inherently beautiful, perfect, glorious beings that we are and always have been. These are the thoughts that make us think we shouldn’t pamper ourselves. Maybe we don’t quite deserve it; maybe we haven’t worked hard enough. Maybe we will do it after we have finished this project; perhaps after we take care of everyone else. Maybe then we will pamper ourselves . . .
Here are some of the stories you might be telling yourself:
“Pampering myself is too expensive.”
“I should be working instead of playing.”
“I should be taking care of the kids.”
“I don’t really need whatever I think I need.”
“I don’t deserve to give myself what I really want.”
“I should be exercising.”
“I should be doing something productive.”
Pampering, love, affection, adoration, as if any of this had anything to do with merit! It does not. You don’t deserve to be pampered because you have earned it any more than a baby deserves to be fed, clothed, and changed. Consider a baby — would you ever say “Okay, I am going to feed you because you have been a good baby.” You would consider this parent to be completely deluded. You feed a baby simply because that is what should be done when a baby is hungry.
And yet this is the way we think we should love ourselves — that love and pampering should somehow be based on merit. We think that somehow we should only pamper ourselves when we have done something to deserve it. Wrong! There is no deserving of pampering — there is simply love longing to be realized. In the same way you would feed a hungry baby, so too should you give yourself what you need and honor the brilliance that you are. Love and pampering should be given to yourself with unlimited abandon — joyously, endlessly.
And how do you pamper yourself? Give yourself what you need in each moment — moment by moment. Do you need rest? Plan for rest. Do you need inspiration? Read the books that feed your soul. Do you need relaxation? Get a massage. Do you need clarity? Spend time in silence. Do you need support? Reach out to friends and loved ones. In each moment, life will tell you what you need. Listen. Listen and follow the guidance, the inner-wisdom that is always at your disposal. In every single moment, you have everything you need to give yourself what you need in that moment.
There is nothing more important than your well-being. The better you feel the more you can live the life you want to live. You cannot climb a summit if you are feeling depleted — you cannot conquer your inner-demons with a fragile and exhausted mind. The most effective people are not those who have been denied love, either by themselves or by others. Study after study demonstrates that the healthiest, most effective people are those who love with abandon. Deserving to be loved, pampered, and cherished doesn’t end when we become adults.
Consider this quote from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who has influenced me most profoundly and whom you will see me quote often, since his wisdom is worth hearing again and again:
The unlimited is already perfect. You are perfect, only you don’t know it. Learn to know yourself and you will discover wonders. All you need is already within you; only you must approach yourself with reverence and love. Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors. Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of the love you bear yourself; all I plead with you is this: make love of yourself perfect. Deny yourself nothing — give yourself infinity and eternity and discover that you do not need them; you are beyond.
You are love yearning for the perfectly lovable, and you, yourself, are the perfectly lovable that you long to experience. Give to yourself with unlimited abandon and you will discover that what you once considered selfish turns out to be the epitome of selflessness, for when you know yourself as love, you love everyone, unconditionally, unboundedly, eternally. You will discover that there never was anyone more deserving of love than you, no one more perfect than you, and no one to love other than yourself. Perfect your love of yourself and you will love everyone and no one perfectly.
©2009 Sarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life: 5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently.