Loving yourself into well-being

An unknown author said “You can’t punish yourself into change.  You can’t whip yourself into shape.  But you can love yourself into well-being.”

Think about this idea applied to the asana practice.  You can’t punish yourself into a handstand.  Or whip yourself into a wheel pose (at least not without a serious risk of hurting yourself).  But you can love yourself for being on the mat, for moving your body with breath and attention, for doing the work of taking care of yourself.

Now consider this idea in the context of your life.  Have you ever had a pattern or a habit you desperately wanted to break?  I have.  In my 20s I had a serious issue with binge eating.  I would binge, tell myself how weak I was and how much I hated myself, and vow never to overeat again.  The perfect set up to binge again.  And again.  And to hate myself more each time and try to “punish” myself into change.  You can probably guess how well that worked (hint: not at all).

It really was not until I could look at myself and my behavior with love and compassion that I could change.  Only by accepting myself for where I was could I grow.

I believe love in the world and with others starts with love of yourself.  You can love yourself into well-being.  And that love can spread.  It’s a nice way to think about love as we head into the Valentine’s Day weekend.