Self-love & Self-care

Self-love and self-care intertwine. If you desire to be healthier and happier, beginning from a place of self-loathing and punishment usually ends in failure and pain. That’s why so many pieces of home exercise equipment gather dust. That’s why thousands if not millions of dollars are spent in the U.S. on gym memberships but it only looks like that from January 1 to about February 14. That’s why so few pairs of yoga pants ever encounter vinyasa, so few expensive pairs of running shoes ever run. That’s why diet foods and diet books are fab profit centers, perpetual motion machines that never run short of an eager audience.

Yes, self-hatred and self-neglect and outright self-abuse contribute to the obesity epidemic that curses the U.S. and many parts of the industrially developed world. Processed foods in volume have come to spell “comfort” and “ease.” Numbed out on sugar, salt and fat — with maybe nicotine, alcohol and recreational drugs added to the witch’s brew– people dwell in a deep, dark cave that feels too hard to leave. We sit and sit and sit until our muscles weaken, our spines ache and our will to try languishes. Going out hurts. Being seen hurts. “Failing” aches. The problem with numbing out is that pain eventually comes through.

Why not try to begin from a place of love? Just as you are. Move the body that you have. Feel alive in the moment. Listen in on the response. Maybe there will be some discomfort, self-consciousness and trepidation. Keep moving. Inside there, beyond the adult ego, is a child who found it wondrous to toddle across a room. To roll in the grass. To bounce on a bed. To move and groove whenever music came on. That child cried when aching. Howled when ignored. Laughed when delighted. Sighed when content. Slept when tired. Stopped eating when full.

It has been said that love is natural and hate is taught. The same is true of self-love and self-hatred. We all have it in us to return to our essential selves and treat ourselves with the same compassion and care we would someone else whom we cherish and protect. Movement is probably the most direct way to get there. And, given the long history of communal dance in human history, it is also one of the easiest ways to make the journey together.

Right now, today: Try it. Put on music, a favorite song that reaches into your bones and let yourself follow it. Alone in your living room or behind the closed door of your office. With friends or family, in the kitchen or out on the lawn. Amongst strangers in a dance class or club. If you turn off the negative brain chatter for the length of the song, genuine feeling will rise up to meet you. A moment of ease. Comfort. Even joy.

I am delighted to offer LUVMVMT® group and private sessions to assist you in this journey toward improved health and well-being.

Author: DancerAndDasher

Strength and wellness coach. Yoga teacher. Belly dance fitness instructor. Ballroom dancer. The LUVMVMT umbrella covers most of my recent writing. I have also shared my personal dance and yoga journeys on the following blogs: "Diary of a Mad Dancer" is my journey to the competition floor of glamorous dancesport. Yes, it's a tale that probably should have begun with dance-mad parents urging on their darling lass of three, in Europe. Instead: Virginia, suburbia, mid-life. It's a dream come true. Sometimes with all the logic and consistency of a slumbering mind. "Dance of Life Yoga" shares the beauty, peace and awareness that yoga can bring into your life. It transformed mine in ways I never anticipated.

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