Here is the thing about me (and I bet it is about you as well): In the area of taking care of and loving myself, I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl.
If I start my day off eating sugary cereal "because goddammit -- it is Halloween" and talking like a pirate "Argh, I cannot lives without me Boo Berry Crunch."
Then, for the rest of the day, I am all like: "Fuck it. Not going to Yoga -- I ate Boo Berry Crunch. You know what? Screw brushing my teeth, I am going to let the flavor linger! Hey! Pass me those s'mores -- I need a Boo-berry Crunch chaser."
Seriously, all it takes is one wrong turn and suddenly I'm Forrest Gump runnin' down the road to Unwellsville.
This compulsive disregard for my health is clearly among the stupidest things I do (and there is a tough competition brewing for that number-one spot).
So why would I, a girl who normally acts with thoughtful intent, do this to myself? If my kids said to me: "It's okay Mom, I can have Cheez-Its -- I already drank a Coke!" I would be all swivel-headed-finger waving: "Oh no you didn't just say that to me!" There is no way I would support any kind of thinking that leaves you powerless to turn yourself around and get it together.
I do this to myself. We do this to ourselves. We give up on taking the best care of ourselves and totally let go. Why? How can we stop? Look, I don't know! If I knew, I wouldn't have such a Boo-berry Crunch problem!
But, I do know one thing: If you don't like yourself, you won't take care of yourself.
Think about it, when you are driving a new car, all fresh and exciting, you love it. You clean it all the time, you buy scented car organizers, you get a custom brush and spray for polishing the dash.
But when you are driving your 10-year-old minivan with the massive scrapes on the side caused by your 16-year-old "emerging driver," with a worn vinyl interior that has long since given up, you just decide to eat like a cookie monster in that thing. Crumbs everywhere? You don't care! Driving down the road with a megaphone, shouting: "You really wanna test me, huh? You really wanna go? Hit me! I dare you! Gimme cookie!"
You don't take care of what you don't like.
And conversely, if you like something, it is natural for you to take care of it. When you are loving yourself and feeling good about yourself, you make wise choices. Start the day with exercise or checking things off your list, and you'll continue to honor and be kind to yourself throughout the day.
Think about it: it is easier to motivate yourself to clean house when it is already essentially clean. When you walk in to your kitchen and find evidence the Tasmanian Devil has wrestled with a Slurpy machine, and lost, you are more likely to throw your bags on the counter, contribute to the mess, and ignore it a while longer. It's hard to show TLC to a kitchen when your feet are sticking to the floor. On the other hand, when you have been loving and taking care of your kitchen, you walk in, put everything away, maybe wipe down the counter again just to see it sparkle -- you treat THAT kitchen like a precious gem.
So, this self-bashing thing we do? Counter productive. When you are hating on yourself, saying: "Boo Berry Crunch? Really? What are you, 6 years old? Forget it! You can't even take care of yourself!!!" (I know this seems like excessive breakfast conversation -- but, trust me, it can happen). When you are all straight-up meanie pants to yourself -- then of course you are not going to dote on yourself. You are kind of pissed at you. Why should you care what you do?
Drink tequila! Don't buckle up! Yolo!
So, my friends, if you are not liking yourself -- fake it. Brush and floss. Spend time making your hair look great. Take a long walk in a gorgeous place. Start taking really good care of yourself and you will start to love yourself -- as if you were that scrappy little orphan kitten you nursed when it was a baby. Oh, how could you not love little Scrappy? It was up to you to care for him -- and we always love what we take care of.
In the space between taking care of yourself and hating yourself, when you are teetering between all or nothing -- always go for the all. If you can't do that, something is better than nothing, even faking it.