As February draws to a close, I’m finishing my series of blogs on love with one about a psychologist called Carl Rogers. He came up with a very simple concept of three ways of being – the roots of which lie in love, for others and for yourself.
The first is empathy: being able to walk in someone else’s shoes, so you can see things from their perspective and understand why they are where they are. Secondly, congruence: being authentic, real, genuine… a sense of human warmth. And thirdly, unconditional positive regard: viewing yourself and others in a positive light, without judgement or criticism.
To be able to offer these three core ways of being to others is one thing, and to be able to do them for yourself is quite another. For me, the core ways of being have to start with yourself before you can offer them to others. It’s about finding ways that you can realise self-regard sincerely and consistently. If you are unable to show these three ways of being to yourself, it may prove difficult to show them towards others. Nothing new here for regular readers of my blog; so perhaps another reminder of how vital it is to take care of, and show love towards, ourselves.
Since I moved to the convenient countryside of South Oxfordshire, I’ve wanted to get a dog, so I can have company on my long walks, but mostly so I can have someone to mirror my enthusiasm and energy, and so when I get home, someone is pleased to see me! So, I did one of those online surveys this week to find out what sort of pet would suit my lifestyle. Turns out, fish are the best match for me. Harsh!
However, I’m determined to see this as a useful message and think about it like this: all the energy and effort that I would put into looking after a dog can now be channelled into looking after myself instead. All the ‘spare love’ I have at my fingertips can be angled towards myself – not in a self-absorbed way, but in a useful way. Rather than run myself ragged with taking on more work, more events, and more social engagements, I can take a step back and do the basics: go for a walk, lie down for a while, snooze, stare into the distance, be neutral… In fact, this sounds much like a dog’s life!
A slight nod to Valentine’s Day this week, with a little bit about hearts and keeping them healthy. It won’t be news to anyone to hear that eating a healthier diet, not smoking and getting some exercise all help; but what about some of the other elements of life that contribute to heart health? They are often inter-connected. For example, stress is not a direct risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it's possible that it may contribute to increased risk levels. It all depends on someone’s coping mechanisms. Some people try to cope with stress by smoking, drinking too much alcohol and overeating. All of these increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but it’s important to remember that they do not necessarily cause it.
So what can you do about it? Well, there is nothing new under the sun and I’m in danger of repeating myself with this…! Perhaps ask yourself why you are smoking, drinking too much alcohol or overeating. What are the reasons behind your behaviour? And maybe there is another way to deal with it. It’s about knowing what triggers your behaviour and what could help instead. I’m not suggesting that a year-long sabbatical from your life is all that will help, as that may be impractical. Yet there are daily steps that we can all take to reduce stress levels: and we go full-circle back to eating a healthier diet, being physically active and looking after yourself. See? Nothing new under the sun!
One of the ways you can look after your heart (seamless!) is at our charity Fitness Fling on Saturday 16th February, any time between 9am and 1pm, at Purley Memorial Hall, Berkshire. Find out more and book your place at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/charity-fitness-fling-tickets-54451111741.
I learnt a new word yesterday: galanthophile, which is a lover or collector of snowdrops. I am a real galanthophile so am properly enjoying going out for walks and seeing carpets of white around me (from snowdrops, not actual snow). I started thinking about all the other things I love, not just about this time of year, but everything tiny that accumulates during the day… the simple things. Once I started, it was difficult to stop:
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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