There is only one guaranteed life-long relationship – your relationship with yourself. One lifetime love affair – and it can be harmonious or horrid, sweet or sour, positive or paralysing.
Loving yourself can be a real challenge for us all and yet it's a really important stepping stone on the road to successful weight loss.
Loving yourself means accepting yourself as you are, respecting yourself for who you are, forgiving yourself for your mistakes and wanting yourself to be happy.
That's what being in a loving relationship means.
As Buddha said:
"You, yourself, as much as anyone in the universe universe, deserve your love and affection."
The thing is that when you've been trying to lose weight for years and "failing," loving yourself seems to be doubly hard.
You see yourself as a "failure"
You "hate" your body image
You think you're "ugly"
You judge yourself harshly
You constantly criticize yourself
You treat yourself with no respect and little compassion
I'm not sure that many relationships would last through that kind of behavior!
Yet you have no choice. You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
You can not separate, you can not walk out, you can not divorce.
You're stuck with you for the rest of your life, so you may as well make the relationship as good as possible!
The other interesting thing about self-loathing and self-love is that those feelings are radiated outwards.
If you judge yourself harshly, you will naturally judge others harshly; If you constantly criticize yourself, you are much more likely to criticize others.
You are operating from that negative space, no matter who you're dealing with.
Conversely, if you accept your own imperfections, you are more easily able to accept other peoples' imperfectons; and if you are kind and compassionate to yourself, it's much easier to be kind and compassionate to others.
So, if you struggle to hold down a loving relationship or have not had a relationship in years, it's not because you're overweight. It's not because you're ugly on the outside. It's because you've become unattractive on the inside. You've become sooner to negativity, disrespect and self-loathing.
Not a nice space for you and certainly not a space that anyone else wants to share!
Now I know not all of you feel that way (thank goodness!), But many of you will be somewhere on that path.
Very few of you will love yourselves unconditionally as you love your children, or treat yourself as you would your best friend, which is actually how it could be.
"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance" (Oscar Wilde)
So, in this Valentine's week 2011, I'm beseeching you to turn this around.
"I'll love myself when I'm thinner"
"I'll love myself when I stop being such a failure"
And start to say:
"I'll love myself right now"
You are a wonderful unique human being with loads to offer the world.
When you start to recognize this and accept it, you will suddenly feel full of life, excited and positive about the future – just like you do when you're in love!
You will feel on top of the world, confident that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and secure in the knowledge that you deserve to achieve your weight loss goals.