A few years back, I read an article about love and care-giving. It really stuck with me because the results of the study were opposite to common belief. We usually assume we love first, and care for those we love. While this may be the foundation for some, the psychology is stronger the other way – we love who (or what) we care for. Care happens first.
This may explain why so many empaths find themselves hopelessly in love with narcissists. The narcissist always expects to be cared for, which the empath does, thus increasing their attachment. Caring for people (or a pet, or a garden) naturally increases our love for them. It’s natural for humans to love more with the investment of caring. It also points out the need for boundaries, on the part of the care-giver, especially in a romantic relationship.
This also gives a glimpse into our fragmented relationship with our bodies. So many people consider their body as “themselves”, and for one reason or another, they don’t think very highly of themselves. How we collectively treat our bodies is reflected, in this holographic reality, as how we collectively treat the Earth. Not pretty. Yet the concepts of self-love and self-care are so foreign, we don’t even know where to begin.
Start here: We love what we care for, not the other way around. Start with care, and it naturally becomes love.
I have always felt I inhabit this body, not that I am this body. It has always been an issue of being a good steward, and a good guest. I care for this little animal as best I can, and I trust that it will support me, as best it can. The body has its own wisdom, and always strives for health. Yes, disease and death happen, but the body does its best for as long as possible.
Not to say I haven’t had my moments. Every relationship has trials, even the one with the body. When I was diagnosed with Ataxia, I felt amazingly betrayed by my body. It took a couple years to mend that rift. If you have had challenges in your body relationship, forgive yourself and move on. The issue is only in the stories you have built and cling to. Your body doesn’t hold a grudge. It loves and supports you no matter what. Until death do you part.
So, can you change your dynamic with your body? Can you see it as its own entity? Can you care for this physical being as a care-giver? You may be surprised how it changes your whole life. As health increases with care, it becomes easier to live in this physical existence. As care turns to love, it opens doors to happiness you never knew existed. As this self-love is reflected in the outer world, the Earth heals. It’s worth it.
Happiness and love may be rooted in gut health. Yet another reason to care for the body. There are three brains, or control centers in the body: the brain, the heart, and the gut. As science learns more about gut health, we find that it effects mood, as much as the immune system. Caring for the body offers great rewards. It is not only a sacred duty, it’s terribly practical, as well.
Most of us know taking out our emotional distress on others is never a good idea, and it doesn’t solve the underlying issues. Only personal shadow work can address what’s really going on. If we have a bad day, most of us avoid yelling at the kids, kicking the dog, or beating the spouse. Yet somehow, we feel perfectly fine having a couple of drinks to unwind. We have no concern for abusing our own bodies. Alcohol is poison. Cigarettes are poison. Overeating is taxing, with obesity linked to cancer. Don’t let your mental issues steal your physical health. Always ask yourself, “Is this what’s best for the body I’m caring for?”
As with anything, changing habits takes time. Also, remember results take time. It took me two years to rebuild my gut health. It was worth every minute of that time. I am sure my consistent level of optimism and happiness is tied directly to that commitment. Be gentle with yourself, but also totally dedicated to changing your body relationship. This includes inner dialog, as well as actions. Your body is listening to everything you think. Say the good stuff out loud, just to help you raise your own awareness.
Thank you, Body, for always being so resilient! I dedicate myself to your care.
And so it is.
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