Archived Story

Column: Loving yourself proves good for everybody

Published 12:00am Saturday, February 24, 2007

By David Larson, Power or Living

Over 40 years ago, Norman Cousins first demonstrated to the Western World the healing energy of positive emotions by his unorthodox recovery from a usually fatal collagen disease.

He did so by laughing a lot.

He began watching Candid Camera and old Marx Brothers films and reading humorous books.

The more he laughed, the more his disease receded.

Later, he experienced another remarkable healing using similar means to recover from a heart attack.

Through his experiences and his willingness to share them, Cousins became one of our first mentors in understanding the healing power of thought and emotion.

The power of the mind to heal has been further demonstrated by the works of physicians Dr. Bernie Siegel (Love, Medicine and Miracles), Dr. Deepak Chopra (Quantum Healing), Dr. Hunter (Patch) Adams (Gesundheit! Institute), and Dr. Marasu

Emoto (Messages From Water), not to mention the quantifiable healing results of energy workers in the fields of Reiki, Healing Touch, and Springforest Qigong.

Of the various mood energies such as joy, peace, hope, and gratitude, one of the most effective is love.

Fortunately, love is not something we have to wait around for to show up in our lives; it’s something we can give ourselves.

Many people think loving one’s self is selfish.

However, self-love is not about grabbing for one’s self everything we can get at the expense of others’ loss.

Self love is about self respect.

Self love is realizing we’re no better or no worse than anyone else.

Its understanding that amidst the rather troublesome chaos of our world, life does have meaning, and each of us is an important part of it.

Instead of assuming the position of believing we are better than others, when we love ourselves, we acknowledge our equivalent splendor with those around us, and join in joyous realization that we belong in the human family of equals.

If this is a new concept to you, or don’t know where to start, here are three places to begin your journey of self-care.

Appreciate Your Body

Take a few minutes today to close your eyes and thank the various parts of your body for all that they do for you.

Some of you will want to thank God here, and that is great.

And thanking your body parts themselves for their splendid functioning creates an enhanced appreciation.

Try it!

Thank your heart for how it pumps blood to every cell in your body.

Thank your eyes for helping you see the bright sunshine, the colors of creation, and the smile of a loved one.

Thank your lungs for their tireless effort at bringing oxygen into your body day and night to keep you alive.

Thank your fingers for helping you pick up things and for allowing you to write with a pencil, or pick up a glass of juice or a telephone.

You get the idea&8230;.

Treat Yourself Nicely.

Think of someone you like very much and ask yourself how you treat him or her?

Do you say nice things to this person?

Do you enjoy letting them know how much they mean to you?

Do you say thank you in appreciation?

Take them someplace special?

Buy them something they’d like?

Encourage them when they’re down?

Treat yourself as kindly as you would treat your best friend.

You are just as lovable as they are, so don’t hold out on yourself!

Use that same kind voice you use to encourage your friend, and direct it toward yourself!

Learn to Forgive Yourself.

Although we may sometimes forget it, none of us have ever done anything that is unforgivable.

We may have regrets about how we’ve treated others in ways that have been hurtful, and it is common for us to feel sad, as well as appropriate to make amends for our actions.

However, withholding pardon from ourselves is only self-punishment, and self-punishment is not helpful.

If you have trouble with this, see a counselor, a clergy-person, or a professional life coach for extra support and strategies to let go of this emotional trap.

It’s time to let yourself off the hook.

Have fun!

David Larson, M.S., C.P.C.C., is founder of the Institute For Wellness.

His column appears on alternate Sundays. He can be contacted at 507-373-7913, or at his website,