Love Yourself First

State of Wellness

Harrison Pollack, photos by Dahli Durley

[Please hear my voice as someone who truly wishes the best for you.]

“Health is wealth,” right? I think that’s how the adage goes. If you were to be figuratively stripped of all your material possessions, would this statement apply to your current condition?

[Moment for introspection.]

In the department of wellness, when I hear someone say, “I don’t have enough time,” I tend to immediately translate it to, “I haven’t made it a priority, yet.”

Here’s a quick look at the verbiage of your hypothetical calendar:

  • I have to go to this dinner next week
  • I have to pick my friends up at the airport
  • I have to go to this baby shower
  • I have to go to coffee with so-and-so
  • I have to this
  • I have to that

Does that look familiar?  

I’m going to present you with a profound notion: You don’t “have” to do any of those things.

You’re so nice that you’re mean. You’re pathologically thoughtful. You’re a walking example of nice gone wrong. You’re so preoccupied with other people’s issues—trying to take care of their feelings—that you ultimately end up being resentful.

Don’t let your free time get trampled! Every human walking this earth needs time for themselves. Whether it be a walk, a yoga class, a workout, meditation or some beautiful conglomerate of all of these things, they’re all crucial for your vitality.

You don’t have to go through life doing things you don’t want to do. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, the content of your weekly calendar shouldn’t be saturated with obligations that manifest themselves as a burden.  

But don’t go slashing at your calendar or quitting your job just yet. What you define as “obligation” and “burden” has a lot to do with your personal perception of the activity. Ask yourself this simple yet big question: “Do I want to be doing what I’m doing right now?”

Think carefully. You might answer “yes” to surprising things, like your job. You might answer “no” to surprising things, like that bowling league that used to be fun but which you now dread. Asking this question throughout the day will help you be more conscious of how you’re spending your valuable time, empower you to let go of “emotional vampires”—as well as recognize obligations that aren’t really burdensome and flip your attitude toward them.

I say this all in the wake of a tidal wave of individuals who committed to becoming the best versions of themselves at the turn of the calendar year. Don’t let pseudo-commitments eat up your path to betterment.

Keep it up! I’m cheering for all of you from afar! I want nothing but health and happiness for each and every one of you!  

Love yourself first. Once you love yourself, you can love your neighbor [Revised Golden Rule].