How Love Affects Your Health
We all love someone or something. Whether it’s our significant other, family, friends, pets, or even our material things, including money (whether we have it or not). We use the word “love” in casual conversation. “Hey! I love ya!” We even proclaim love where no love exists. Perhaps we do this because we believe that it makes us look good in the eyes of others since many put more weight on words than on actions. Or perhaps this is our attempt at reaching for what our hearts yearn for most in a material-driven world.
What we consider love can spark a myriad of other emotions, including those that lie on the darkest side of ourselves. Wars have been fought in the name of love, whether the love of another person or the love of our God over your God. This sparks a profound question—is it possible that true love in its purest form can spawn opposite emotions which in turn can drive us to kill, in the name of love?
How is it possible that those who we proclaim to “love” are the ones we can hurt the most? Can this truly be love?
And mind you, there is no evidence, other than how we feel, that love even exists, even though this immense power that we call love can drive all of our actions.
Love is not a tangible thing that we can just set aside whenever we choose, though many of us surely try hard to do so. We often convince ourselves that we must follow our heads rather than our hearts because we all know the heart is rarely practical.
We deny our hearts with excuses revolving around our careers, convincing ourselves that other “priorities” must take precedence, or we use the worst excuse for abandoning love – money.
We are then left with a void that we have willingly created, and ironically we attempt to fill it with other things we say we “love”, such as material objects, comfort food, alcohol or perhaps even meaningless romantic interludes. We may even angrily lash out at the very people we have shut out, despite our heart’s desires. Anything to dull the immediate pain, only to later regret our actions when it is inevitably too late to take them back, only compounding our emptiness and sadness.
I believe that “love” is the most inappropriately used word, and has been diluted so dramatically that the very core of its meaning has been largely lost.
Interestingly though, despite all the accolades of love, there is one extremely important person who is often left out… and that person is you.
Many people find it very difficult to say these few simple words, “I love myself.”
This is likely because they simply do not feel it, or because they feel that to say “I love myself” actually denotes a negative connotation suggesting an egotistical, selfish, or worse, narcissistic nature. Yet willingly accepting the opposite would suggest a lack of self-esteem, self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-confidence. All of which equals a lack of self-love.
Why are these negative characteristics so easily accepted in our society—so easily accepted by you?
This generally occurs when we are not in line with our authentic self, our true selves who lie underneath the personas that were created in order to satisfy our environment and those in it who we wish to impress or gain acceptance. Though this seems like a solution to “fit in”, in reality, it is a path doomed to the type of unhappiness that leads to depression and/or anxiety.
And when we deny our true selves, or our authentic selves, on a subconscious level we are moving away from our true beliefs and passions. And since there can be no peace in living this way, we try to fill this intangible void with what is considered to be acceptable standards in other people’s eyes, and in the process, we deny ourselves honesty and forego the search for real love in lieu of the illusion of love.
The illusion of love has many faces. Again, it can be a material thing, or the quest to find another person to love, and who will love us back. It is the belief that when you find the “perfect” items or the “right” person you will then be happy.
Let’s briefly talk about the latter.
Many times love is mistaken for the euphoria of a brand new relationship, and then we are often shocked when the illusion of love wears off and we are left with the same issues that we had prior to entering the relationship. For this reason, many people move from relationship to relationship in hopes that somehow, somewhere, they will find someone who will make them feel loved and who will fill the void.
In the end, you are always left with yourself – and only your authentic self can fill the void.
Don’t get me wrong it’s nice to have new things and to be free of the stress that comes with money issues, and the birth of a new romance can be amazing. However, it becomes complicated when despite acquiring new things or meeting the right people, unhappiness remains underneath the illusion of happiness. Eventually, the illusion wears off and again you are left with yourself. As the saying goes, “No matter where you go there you are”.
Now, this certainly isn’t a new concept. Yet many still deny this truth and try to comfort themselves by blaming their unhappiness on other people or their lack material belongings.
Many times I found myself living out both of these scenarios, especially the blaming of others. Until one day it felt as though I was living my life in a perpetual déjà vu. I found that even when I had all of the material things I thought I needed to be happy, in the end…there I was sitting amongst all of my possessions still feeling empty and alone. Gone were the people my heart would have chosen, and surrounding me were all of the people who I did choose, along with their so-called support, and not surprisingly they were not filling the void either. So much for the choices made solely from my head! There must be another answer.
And indeed there was.
I needed to examine my perception of not just those around me, but also, and most importantly, my perception of myself. It seemed my heart was right all along. I just needed to make some adjustments within my head, in my thought process.
I realized that I was lacking self-love, and drowning in a pool of self-criticism.
I found it interesting that the works of people like Louise Hays, Candace Pert, Bruce Lipton, and other New Age pioneers of thought and health seemed to have come up with the same conclusions—your body is listening and responding to the deepest thoughts and beliefs that reside within your subconscious. The energetic frequency of your body will always be obedient to those thoughts and beliefs, and if you compound this with poor nutrition and a lack of physical exercise necessary for your body to eliminate accumulated toxins, the manifestation of disease is likely to occur.
The many works of Louise Hays continue to reinforce what science is now proving, that people who have a high sense of self-condemnation are the most likely to manifest an autoimmune disease, including cancer.
Think about it.
Most of us go through life purposely avoiding our own image in the mirror, or avoiding the camera out of fear of how we will look in a photograph, denying ourselves pleasures because we are always condemning ourselves for what we consider to be unresolved faults such as being too fat, too skinny, or any other unfavorable self-observed deformity that we may have cast upon ourselves.
Anxiety, for example, is most prevalent among those who would be classified as Type A personalities, perfectionists, because they set unrealistic standards that they themselves can’t live up to, and sadly, they ultimately condemn those around them who also cannot live up to those standards!
That was me.
Feeling as though I was never good enough, nor were the people around me, this was the perfect storm for the illness I ultimately experienced. Furthermore, those around me were quick to pass judgments about me based on their assumptions. Have you ever been guilty of this? I know I was.
Take a moment and play this game.
Just sit on a bench and people watch. Take notice of how quickly you make assumptions as to why that woman “looks like that”. Or why that man “looks mean”. Or why that child is “out-of-control”.
Now, look closer. Beyond what you “think” you know as “truth”. Is it possible that there is more than what you see? Well, of course, there is! And in most cases, your initial assumptions couldn’t be farther from the truth!
We never truly know what someone else is going through. So why is it so easy for us to make assumptions about them?
I often find myself in situations in which I am waiting for a group fitness class to begin, attending a social gathering, or even a family event, and because I am now more observant of concepts such as perception, assumption, and judgment I see how often we incorrectly assess a particular person or situation. Oh, how we love to gossip! The juicier the better – it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not, because that is irrelevant.
There have been many studies trying to prove that this phenomenon is nothing more than our brains sussing out potential competitors and finding ways to satisfy the need to feel superior, the basic primal concept of the survival of the fittest. Some even feel these are fundamental characteristics embedded within our genes to ensure the best possible outcome.
I may have once believed that this is a plausible possibility, but I no longer believe it to be true. Why?
Because our perceptions can change in an instant.
Don’t believe me? What about a simple smile?
No matter how bad you believe your day to be, a genuine smile can instantly change everything!
It has long been known that simply smiling improves your mood, increases blood circulation to your face and head, and strengthens your facial muscles allowing for a more youthful look, and the overall positive energy that this brings about boosts your immune system. Think about it this way…when was the last time you heard someone say “I was so happy and laughed so hard that I got a cold?” Yet how often do you come in contact with someone who is grieving or is chronically angry who suffers from a lowered immune system, and hence comes down with a cold?
And this means that we can take control of our lives. But first, we need to investigate how we perceive ourselves, as this is vital to obtaining a sense of true peace and a feeling of true love.
By changing perceptions and judgments that we have placed on others and upon ourselves, we can begin the process of loving who we are—our authentic selves.
And once we do that, the changes that occur from the inside out (i.e. our health) will instantly become apparent as we begin to heal, regenerate and thrive!