Discovering Love from the Inside Out
What exactly is love?
If you ask a scientist, they might describe the physiological impact of love. How hormones like oxytocin and dopamine stimulate a reaction in your body, increasing your heart rate, widening your pupils, and making you feel warm and euphoric.
If you ask a psychologist, they might mention the three necessary components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. How together, they form feelings of attachment, closeness, connection, and make you feel bonded with another person.
And if you ask a friend or a family member, they might describe experiences where they fell in love, felt a spark of something new or lasting, the necessity of being open and vulnerable, of trusting someone with your whole self.
But how often do you use all these things to describe the way you feel about yourself?
Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful holiday that celebrates the relationships we build between ourselves and others. Unfortunately, we rarely consider how important it is to celebrate the idea of loving who we are.
These days, the act of self-love is less an afterthought, and more a ‘forgotten’ thought. We see this often with those struggling to begin their health journey. Although the basis for change is there - the ‘I want to feel better,’ or even ‘I want to feel good,’ - it can be difficult to pinpoint the why.
WHY we want to feel better.
WHY we want a healthier life.
WHY we want to change our lifestyles.
WHY we want to grow and evolve and learn more about our body’s own needs.
That often overlooked ‘WHY’ is actually a revolutionary need to care for one’s self. To love and take care of yourself in a way no other person can. To sustain a body that carries you through life and support it in the various ways it needs. But to do that, it’s important to identify what it needs, including acknowledging its value.
3 Ways to Engage in Self-Love
We believe that there are three primary ways to touch base with yourself: the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. For some, one might be enough. Others might need to be reminded of all three.
1. The physical: Face a mirror and look into your own eyes. Get comfortable with your gaze, and then look over your body and admire how capable it is. Slowly move your fingers and toes, breathe in deeply, and watch your body move.
Mirror work has been used for decades to help individuals learn how to appreciate their own bodies. If you feel uncomfortable and find it difficult to maintain eye contact, it might be a sign that you should practice this more regularly. Our bodies are wonderfully-capable machines. Even the most subtle movements are a miracle.
2. The mental: It can be so easy for us to describe what we love about those people in our lives, but when was the last time you described the qualities you love about yourself?
Taking time to write out what you admire can be a great way to acknowledge and appreciate your strengths. How we talk to ourselves is just as important as how we talk about others. If you wouldn’t be rude to a stranger, much less your closest friend - practice showing yourself the same respect.
3. The spiritual: Close your eyes and try to think about the love you have for someone in your life. Engage with your body and feel your chest tighten and expand, listen to your blood rushing in your ears, feel the warmth of your body. Simply by thinking about it, you become one with yourself and your environment. Now try to do the same thing by imagining the love you have for yourself.
Love is an act of heart and soul. By actively embracing love, you are opening your body to a more spiritual level. Each person is more than the sum of their experiences. We are all made of stardust, after all. Every part of ourselves can be found in every living thing and in the world we live in. That’s what we call a spiritual awakening.
Using Self-Love to Sustain Self-Care
And it becomes a necessity to feel love for ourselves to motivate and sustain that change and feel dedicated to our health journey. In truth, it’s a lifelong journey. One that begins with love for who you are before you start it and not who you might become. Only by loving ourselves with every step, every breakthrough, and every downfall will we be capable of envisioning a real future of good health.
That’s because that scientist, psychologist, or loved one was right about what love was all along, including what love for yourself should be. So this Valentine’s Day, take a moment to appreciate and acknowledge the love you have for yourself and the brilliant journey you have ahead of you.
By understanding your Viome scores, becoming more familiar with your body’s individual needs (like nutrition!), getting more active, and learning how to use your food as medicine, you’re beginning to relearn what it is to love and take care of yourself.
And trust us, you’re worth it all.