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The importance of self-love. It’s talked about a lot online, but not as an actual tactic for healthy living. Self-love is more than just accepting your body and feeling beautiful. The importance of self-love goes way beyond body image discusses. Self-love is vital to being healthy.

While I do believe that how we eat, move, and live inside this toxic world is important, (and certainly determines aspects of our health) the most important thing you can do for your health is very simple.

And sometimes very hard.

Be kind.

What does that really mean, though? The dictionary reminds us that being kind is being good, benevolent, considerate, helpful, and humane. Kindness is gentle, loving, and affectionate. Most people believe in kindness but rarely is it talked about in connection to our health.

Most books, sites, and discussion dedicated to health revolve around what we eat, how we move, and a ton of nitty gritty details that generally leave more people convinced that healthy living is some sort of disciplined battle.

You have the fitness junkies who love to show off their before and after pictures, who talk about inches lost, confidence gained, and the secret combination of food and exercise to make it all happen. “Discipline” is their battle cry as far too many forget to listen to their body as they work it into submission.

Then there are the nutrient dogma wars with warriors who rally behind their scientific studies that “prove” the virtues and vices of various foods. Nutrition has become an almost cult-like religion fueled by a fanatic zealousness about what we put in our body.

We are told we have to count every calorie, run a certain number of miles, lift a certain amount of weight, banish certain foods, focus on certain nutrients, etc. All the while we are either motivated or discouraged by the images constantly shoved in our face about how “healthy” should look: Thin, strong, sexy, perfect.

No wonder so many people “give up” and binge on a bag of caramels or give up on their exercise goals. Too many messages about healthy living broadcast the idea that it’s not really enjoyable, and generally not attainable.

To be clear: I’m not suggesting that anyone who cares about working out or eating well is doing something bad. The problem is when we forget to apply the rule of kindness in the process of it all. In reality, health refers to the condition of the body or mind with reference to vigor and vitality.

And quite often it’s directly connected to our happiness.

The importance of self-love is an important tactic for healthy living. Being kind to your body may do more for your health than anything else. Here's why.

The Importance of Self-Love.

When kindness is forgotten we begin sabotaging the essence of a healthy body through self-hate, body shaming, critical judgment, and unrealistic ideals.

In other words, we lose joy. We don’t feel happy.

I don’t care how fit you are, how perfect your diet is… if you aren’t happy you are not healthy. 

The Importance of Self Love: Being kind to your body.

Being kind means letting go of the idea that you have to look a certain way to be worthwhile.

Being kind means listening to your body when it needs nourishment, exercise, or rest.

Being kind means more than just getting rid of toxins in the form of dangerous chemicals. It also means getting rid of toxic behavior, letting go of toxic relationships, and freeing yourself from anything that poisons your life whether literally or figuratively.

Being kind means stopping the comparisons that leave you feeling guilty, bitter, unsatisfied, or weak.

Being kind means enjoying the other aspects of this amazing life, even if they don’t always fall into the “ideal” aspect of nutrition or fitness.

Things like:

Sharing a piece of cake with a best friend who you haven’t seen in ages.
Skipping your workout to play blocks with your two-year-old.
Taking a day off form your workout to enjoy homemade cookies and a good book.

In other words, being kind means balance in all things. Not neglecting your body and its needs, but also not neglecting the other aspects of life, either. There are many things that fuel our body, mind, and spirit. Exercise and diet are only part of the equation.

The Importance of Self Love: Helps you be kind to all bodies.

As someone who believe in the value of “thanking” your own body, I also believe the idea of kindness goes far beyond our own physical being… beyond our own self.

We also need to be kind to each other.

Kindness to the people around us, to the world we live in, to the many creatures that roam the world. This kindness certainly plays a role in our own happiness. We can’t be truly healthy if our body and mind are poisoned by bitterness judgment, comparison, or apathy.

Being kind to others reminds us of our own blessings. It gives us opportunities to serve and be served in return. It can erase lines that once divided and bring peace, clarity, and hope in a world that desperately needs it.

It releases the burden of “perfection” and builds bridges.

It lightens our load, reduces stress, makes us feel good.

And isn’t that the key to health? Isn’t that what we all want: To feel good?

When kindness is forgotten.

In a health world that turns food into religion, exercise into discipline, and the human body into another consumable image, is it any wonder that so many people are struggling to feel truly vibrant? There are countless websites, books, and articles dedicated to making people healthier but very few address our ability to prioritize all of our human needs and desires. They forget that we really are all connected. They forget that we long to feel loved.

When we forget kindness we lose something very powerful. We lose our humanity.

So I urge you… You, the person who wants to be healthy and live a long and happy life…

Please be kind. Be kind to your body. Be kind to those around you. Be kind always. Your health, your happiness, depends on it. The importance of self-love becomes clear as you see your attitude toward your body as the doorway to taking care of that body.