For some of us, choosing health requires a lot of work. It means facing painful issues, giving up negative habits, developing positive ones, and changing perspectives. It seems obvious that it would be worth it – and it is worth it – but the strength and commitment required to achieve health should not be underestimated.
Facing Painful Issues
Health and denial don’t go together. If we want to be healthy, we have to face those issues that persist in keeping us in an unhealthy state of mind. As I’ve said before, I have a lot going on in my life which means I have choices to make. I can face the issues in my life or I can bury myself in chocolate chip cookies but if I don’t do the first I WILL do the second. Facing doesn’t just mean acknowledging the pain in my life it means feeling the pain, grieving the pain, and working through the pain to get to the other side. Denial is way easier but denial doesn’t get us to a healthy place.
Giving Up Negative Habits
When I say giving up negative habits I don’t just mean the chocolate chip cookies, I mean giving up the negatives in our lives that hold us back and tear us down. That can be food, drugs, or people. Some of those negatives are hard for us to give up but easy for others to tell us to give them up. Others are the reverse. If your mom shows love by showering you with sweets, she’s not going to be as supportive as she might otherwise be in your efforts to give up sweets. And if it’s people you need to give up – negative people that bring out the worst instead of the best in you – they can fight to keep you in their negative world.
There was a time in my life when negative people ruled my world. I was so desperate for love and friendship I took whatever I could get. People that didn’t believe in me or my potential. People so caught up in their own negativity they couldn’t bring out any positivity in others. It’s taken time but slowly I’ve let the negativity go and let the positivity in. I’ve watched this process play out in loved ones lives and, while it can be a very painful process to lose people we’ve come to care about, the benefits of having positive, healthy people in our lives makes it well worth it.
Developing Positive Habits
It’s not enough to take away negative coping strategies, we must replace them with positive ones. Healthy eating habits need to replace destructive ones. Sedentary lifestyles need to be replaced with activity and exercise. Negative people need to be purged from our lives but if we don’t replace them with positive influences, the vacuum will simply refill with unhealthy people again.
Perspectives, priorities, and outlooks need to change. I need to want health more than chocolate. I need to be willing to spend my time and energy exercising and meditating instead of watching TV and complaining. My priority of ME needs to be important too. I’m not saying become a selfish person that only thinks about themselves, exercises compulsively, and cuts everyone out of their lives that doesn’t do something for them, I’m saying make you and your health a priority. Getting yourself healthy benefits everyone.
Making the choice to be healthy and doing the work to get yourself there is hard, soul-baring work but I'll say it again, it’s so worth it. I see my daughter, clean and sober for more than 2 years, living a life I thought I would only dream for her because of the choices to be healthy that she’s made. I see my closest friend gain victory over an eating compulsion because she’s willing to do the work to move herself towards health. I look at my own life and I know what’s at the end of the road that leads to health and I know what's at the end of the road that leads to self-destruction and while the healthy road is rough and bumpy the benefits of the destination makes it worth the journey.