Friday, 12 October 2012

Why don't we do what's good for us?

Stepping stones across the waterThere are all kinds of things we can do to look after ourselves. We can try to have a healthy diet, take exercise, get enough sleep, do things we feel are worthwhile and good for our wellbeing...We all know this but sometimes we just don't do it.....
Looking care of ourselves is an obvious thing to do. What stops us? There may be a variety of reasons why this is the case, and some beyond our control. We may not have much money. We may have busy and demanding lives. It may therefore seem that there is nothing we can do..... Perhaps though there are some things that are in our control or could be.

I'm thinking about our attitude towards ourselves. How much we value and care for ourselves, or how little. In our society, we are taught to think of others and that's great, but we are important too. In looking after ourselves, we can be good role models for our children and others around us. Setting a good example seems to have more effect than saying 'do what I say, not what I do'. It also seems much more authentic!

This is still however about the welfare of others. What about valuing ourselves for our own sake? We can sometimes find this so difficult. I feel this in itself can stop us from eating the 'five-a day' or taking exercise or getting round to giving up smoking, or whatever else we know would be good for us. We need to think we're worth it.

When we can believe that we are worth it, we will take care of ourselves, eat healthier, exercise etc. It won't be a problem then. We've known all along that those are good things. It's just that perhaps we couldn't apply them to us. Having a good opinion of ourselves or 'good enough' opinion can make such a difference.

Of course it's not easy. We can't just flick a switch and change our attitudes. However we can begin to challenge them. We may feel it's the right thing to do to challenge attitudes in society that are judgemental, overly critical and discriminating. Yet as long as we continue to devalue ourselves, these judgemental attitudes remain and are perpetuated in our culture.

No human being is perfect. We may all have things that we think of as our 'faults' , but does this make us unworthy of compassion? Valuing ourselves, having compassion for ourselves, being just plain kinder to ourselves, don't we all deserve this as human beings? If we would want this for others, perhaps we can learn to want it for ourselves.

Lin Travis Counselling Services

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