What It Means To Be True To Yourself

The first time I ever ran across a quote about self-acceptance, it was a quote on the web from the website True to Self by a woman named Jessica Valenti. She wrote, “I’ve found the difference between self-acceptance and self-delusion to be critical. Self-acceptance leads to courage, self-delusion to apathy.” I agree with her: self-acceptance is important, and self-delusion is dangerous, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps toward making the leap.

People are scared of taking more proactive steps toward self-care. But I’d argue that doing less is probably a better strategy.

Here are some facts:

1. There is the old-fashioned advice that says all is well if you just make sure to eat right, exercise, eat healthy. That is, you just need to “be you”. 2. Another “old-fashioned” advice has gone viral lately. People say, “Just eat what you can eat”. They imply, correctly or incorrectly, that if you eat a lot, you’ll fill up to the point. But you’ll still be hungry all the time. They imply, correctly or incorrectly, that you could make things better by eating smaller portions, with less variety, or at times in advance. Yet they fail to acknowledge that that’s a far cry from saying, “Just eat healthier”. 3. People have always taken actions toward self-care. The question is, has there been a way to make those actions easier?

The reality is that we take a lot of steps toward self-care. It’s only been in recent history that we have created a culture within society, in which people have taken on the notion of self-care. They have learned to eat better, to be more physically active, to use self-care products, to go to the doctor. Even when people find themselves feeling weak, or at risk of death, they have still gone to the doctor or to the hospital to avoid a more serious health crisis and to prevent an infection from spreading. All of those actions that we take are a way to take more proactive steps toward self-care.

I know that is not a nice way to phrase it, but it is the truth. Our culture has created an environment in which we are taught to take more proactive steps toward self-care, so people aren’t as likely to make mistakes that hurt their health. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps toward self-care. In fact, I want to take steps toward self-care.

And you can too. You just have to stop and think “Self-care?” How many days a week have you taken steps toward self-care? Every day? If so, then you’re already ahead of the pack.

How To Take More Steps Towards Self-Care

1. Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables have been shown to reduce your heart attacks and protect against dementia. They can help keep you feeling better and help prevent any chronic illnesses like asthma or diabetes.

I know that, after I had a heart attack this winter, I started cooking more vegetables. And when I feel sad in the morning, I usually make a salad out of the leftover veggies I brought from the restaurant and make some toast, maybe with peanut butter. I also eat spinach and kale salad in the morning.

What I don’t usually do is have a full meal before bed. Instead, I have one snack like a piece of fruit, or two pieces of low carb bagel with hummus. I have one protein that is usually cooked in oil to make a sandwich. Then I have one vegetable salad and just a pinch of salt. I am often not drinking enough water. As a result, I usually have an extra meal in the evening. After my meal, I’m usually very tired. Sometimes I skip my morning workout because I find I don’t have a motivation to get up. After all, the exercise itself probably makes me feel tired. I just don’t want to take any more steps toward self-care.

2. Exercise More

You probably know that exercising increases overall wellness. Your immune system is better protected. You feel happier. More than that, exercise can increase your self-confidence. There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that self-confidence is one of the most significant predictors of life satisfaction and mental health.

I work out most days of the week. I’m a regular runner and I still eat vegetables. But I’ve been running all day and my body feels more energetic and in better overall health after I’m done. That is a good result. But is my weight less? Yes, but not by much. I still feel tired most of the day and sometimes I feel sluggish. But all things considered, I’m definitely taking steps toward self-care.