One of my favorite Journey songs is entitled “Be Good to Yourself”. As I listened to the lyrics through the warm California air I thought that it seems silly that we should have to tell ourselves to be good to ourselves, yet we routinely ask infinitely more of ourselves than we ever would of anyone else. The song explains that there will always be things in life that pull us away from what is best for us. We are so often “caught in a crossfire” between doing what is best for our health and doing what is urgent or popular. If we give in to the requests of others to the detriment of ourselves we will end up burned out and unable to fulfill our true life purpose. We are responsible for our own actions and we must choose to be good to ourselves.
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that we don’t have time or money to take better care of ourselves. Somehow we have been lead to believe that if we carve out an hour for ourselves each day to exercise or if we buy a few extra pieces of produce each week, that we’re being selfish. Women in particular feel that they need to be the martyr for the family by denying themselves of any investment in themselves believing that it is what is required. Yet the most well-intentioned moms & wives are the ones who ultimately end up with the most health problems, casting burden on the very family they were intending to serve.
We need to denounce the lie that we are being selfish and embrace the investment in our incredibly magnificent & complex God-given bodies by being good to ourselves. You won’t be a help to any one else by sacrificing your health. When I was an EMT one of the first things my partner and I learned in training was to help yourselves first. What this meant was to be sure that the scene was secure of any hazards that may hinder the rescue such as downed power lines, leaking gasoline, or an individual on scene with a weapon. The rescuers are of no help to others if they become injured or are killed while trying to help others. Adopting that same mentality for our health—we must take care of our bodies first if we are to help take care of others—will enable us to be available mentally and physically for those who need us. By choosing to exercise, eat healthy, and get adequate rest we will be a better spouse, a better parent, and a better employee. We will have more energy, more clarity of thought, more strength, more stamina, and more confidence.
I’m often asked questions about how to get a six pack without changing diet, how to fit into a bathing suit in two weeks, or what exercises should be done to tone the arms by a certain wedding date. These questions are all seeking a quick-fix answer with superficial results avoiding the real solution. They are a request for a band-aid for the boo-boo or some cover up for the pimple. They are a sign that you are not being good to yourself. The real question should be “What have I done today to help me lead a healthy and vibrant life so that I can be a more playful parent, a more productive employee, and a less-stressed sexy spouse?”
If we don’t water our garden, it either doesn’t produce quality fruit or it just plain dies. If we don’t get regular service on our car, it will run terrible only to stop running altogether and oftentimes long before it’s time. Why do we think our bodies are any different when we neglect them? Why are we shocked when we do nothing and then gain 10 pounds a year? Why are we disappointed when we feel tired and ill all the time after routinely eating 9-syllable-ingredient foods in crinkly packages?
Our bodies are a brilliant creation capable of performing amazing tasks. Our bodies are meant to be healthy. Our bodies are meant to be mobile, lean, and strong. YOU are meant to be healthy. YOU are meant to be mobile, lean, and strong. Think of all that you could accomplish if you were living a healthy and vibrant lifestyle! It’s an investment worth a lifetime of rewards that pays far more dividends than time invested. Begin your journey—be good to yourself! You’re worth it!