This has come up a lot lately, so I wanted to explore the topic and write a blog about it and to get you to think a bit more about what it means to be good to oneself.

What does it mean to love yourself or be good to yourself? Are you good to yourself and love yourself?  I have had several recent conversations with patients, and friends, about loving oneself. In particular, one patient said her goal for herself is to be “nice” to herself. I wondered what she meant by this because as an outsider I see that she is nice to herself. I even brought to her attention how she has been buying new clothes, bags, etc. and that is one way of being “nice” to oneself, by treating yourself to nice things. Another way of being good to ourselves is by eating healthy, exercising, etc, which this patient also does, but what about what goes on in the inside that others do not see? What about those thoughts that we all have?

Our brains are very powerful and our thoughts can literally change the way we feel and act. There IS a direct connection between the mind and body. There IS a relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. I will give you an example. If you deviated from your plan and perhaps ate something that you typically don’t and say “I should not have….” How does that make you feel? A “should have” statement is a statement that typically leads to a negative emotion. Of course none of us feel good after saying/thinking you “should have” done something else. Perhaps in that situation you will start to feel bad about yourself and then call yourself a failure. This negative self-talk leads to bad feelings and turns into a vicious cycle that can then turn into negative behaviors (i.e. eating more of the cake) and then you feel even worse. This is an example of NOT being good to yourself. The key is to stop these negative automatic thoughts before they get out of hand and change them to be more proactive. For instance, in this situation you can ACCEPT the behavior and say something like “what can I do in a similar situation next time.” This is forward thinking and allows you to come up with a plan to prevent the behavior from happening in the future. Also, how do you feel after that statement? This type of thinking does not lead to negative emotions or behaviors. If we can accept it and not feeling guilty, then it does not turn into a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

The key is to be good to yourself, and this means emotionally as well. We love some of the nicer things in life (ie handbags, jewelry, car) and enjoy showing them off to others, but what does that mean if you don’t love yourself and you are not nice to yourself on the inside? I always say small changes lead to lasting changes. So, how about being proud of yourself, proud of your health, fitness level, weight loss, etc. and be good or nice to yourself in other ways? Help train your brain and body to be nicer to you, you deserve it and if you are not, who will be?

For immediate results and to be able to change something NOW (since it is harder to change the way we think), think about what you CAN do now that is nice to yourself. Do something you love and that makes you feel good! Most of you know what that is for me….running or cko! What is it for you? Post a comment letting me know what you do that makes you feel good.

I’m going to end with some lyrics of a song from one of my favorite bands, Journey-

Be good to yourself when, nobody else will
Oh be good to yourself
You’re walkin’ a high wire, caught in a cross fire
Oh be good to yourself
Be good to yourself when, nobody else will

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