As a 44 year old registered dietitian with many years in the community setting, I thought I would have had wellness figured out by now. It turns out I’m still learning. Plus I’m not your typical dietitian. I don’t own a scale and I enjoy Caesar salad without the lettuce.
Diet and activity are well known contributors to health. Lesser known but significant elements include early childhood development, housing and income. Life expectancy is lower in poorer neighbourhoods. A social network and feeling included in society determines health as well.
But in academic models and diagrams depicting what shapes health, there is something missing. As a whole we’re not getting healthier. There is a worldwide epidemic of substance use. Mental and physical wellbeing have deteriorated even though there have been breakthroughs.
Some technological advances have been made over the years such as the internet and cellphones. However, human consciousness hasn’t evolved much. The proof is in the news.
My clarity didn’t come from research studies and books. My epiphany came from my own personal experience. The most important factor to wellbeing is not even found out in the world somewhere.
The missing piece of the wellness puzzle is our own Self love.
A strong foundation of Self love precludes any meaningful long term health change – or at least it coincides with the change. I discovered that as my Self love grew so did my desire to truly honour myself physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually and spiritually.
The path to Self love is building a relationship with ourselves.
It’s recognized that having relationships with family and friends improves quality of life. However it’s difficult to be connected with others if we’re disconnected from ourselves.
Connecting with myself was imperative on my path to Self love.
I became more self aware of my feelings, thoughts and actions. I allowed myself to feel my feelings and release them. I grew to accept every part of myself.
I now wholeheartedly accept my fumbles, follies and quirks. I’ve accepted that I’m predominantly introverted with cyclic spurts of extroversion. Currently I’m in a deep introversion phase, even more profound that I have ever been in my life. This is part of my healing journey.
Self love means giving undivided attention to ourselves.
Our world is in distraction derailment overdrive. A distraction derailment is anything that takes us away from focusing on ourselves. It can be gossiping, blaming others, criticizing, shopping, gambling, sex, food, substances or social media.
On my path to Self love I took stock of my own distractions. My distraction was overachievement. I brought the focus to my own healing and growth. I let go what no longer served me – hence the reason why I call myself a recovering activist. I now truly relish being alone in my own company.
My metamorphosis was not easy. It was uncomfortable, painful at times and a lot of inner work. Marches and rallies didn’t bring me peace. Self love brought me peace. Imagine our world if we all had Self love.