Over the years working as a physiotherapist I have given countless exercise programs, advice for injury prevention and have provided things for people to do to promote an environment conducive to healing. During my initial years of practising as a physio I became confused and frustrated with the amount of times that people didn’t follow through with what I had asked of them. I wondered why they didn’t do the very things that would help them out of the situation they were in. Along the way on my own healing journey, I realised that in different scenarios I too was much the same. I found it difficult to maintain a regular meditation practice and strengthening program in the mornings, the very things that I knew would really benefit my health.
It has only been recently that I’ve started to ponder why we as humans find it hard to do things that are good for us. Then I heard about the “I am not enough” epidemic. Have you heard of this?
Therapist and behaviour expert Marisa Peer talks about an “I am not enough” epidemic that starts at a very young age. From infancy to age 3 we can do absolutely anything and still feel unconditional love from our caretakers. We can break expensive pieces of furniture, throw our entire plate of dinner on the ground, spill milk and we still will always receive unconditional love. However beyond the age of three we start a process where we need to ‘do things’ to get positive reinforcement and praise, which sets up a thought process where we feel that we need to do something external to be loved. We need to put toys back in the toy box and then we get love, we need to get a sticker on our homework then we will be loved, we need to excel at school and get good grades then, we will be loved. Peer talks about how these messages can be translated into core beliefs about ourselves and as adults we may feel that we are not enough until others say we are enough.
When you really think about it, feeling that you are enough is a feeling of self love and acceptance. If we don’t have this basic self acceptance and self love it would be difficult to conjour the motivation and energy to do the very things that we know are good for us. If you don’t feel that strong sense of self love there may be a lot of resistance to doing nice things for yourself.
I have realised that there is no use in feeling frustrated or lecturing people about what they need to do… but rather, to simply help support them and encourage a space where they can cultivate this self love and acceptance themselves. Inevitably they will become the the loving parent, the encouraging teacher, and their own greatest fan. When we live from a place of such high self worth, doing even just a little self care in the morning becomes easy. Once we are at the top of our own priority list, those things we need to do for ourselves become easier to get done.
So in honour of loving ourselves I share this poem written by Charlie Chaplin, written the day he turned 70! It is said he discovered that self-love puts everything in a different perspective and makes life light and more beautiful.
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens exactly at the right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!”
― Charlie Chaplin