Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Family Medicine Activist: Self Love- Easier Spoken Than Written

#HAWMC Day 29

I’m participating in WegoHealth’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. This post was written in response to their prompt, “We all know Health Activists are awesome. Share three things you love about yourself, things you’re great at, or just want to share. Don’t undercut or signpost!”

I will look in my mirror daily and say, " In spite of your previous mistakes, I love you."  I admit that if I just say to me in the mirror, "I Love You," I feel uncomfortable.  Using the disclaimer about my previous mistakes makes it doable.

Self love is difficult to write about since it seems to cross a lot of lines in our childhood humility training.  Many religious persons believe what the Bible says about self love:  "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Verses from the Old Testament and New Testament echo the same message.

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV)
18  You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:34 (NKJV)
34  The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Matthew 19:19 (NKJV)
19  'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "

Matthew 22:39 (NKJV)
39  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

Mark 12:31 (NKJV)
31  And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

Luke 10:27 (NKJV)
27  So he answered and said, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' "

Romans 13:9 (NKJV)
9  For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Galatians 5:14 (NKJV)
14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

James 2:8 (NKJV)
8  If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well;

 So why  is it so hard to write about self love.  Wouldn't many religions consider it sinful not to follow the Biblical commandments?

"The meek shall inherit the earth," comes to mind as a subtle threat to those with too much self love.  Let's just go with the central message of, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  How does this manifest in Family Medicine practice?

I assume that my patients are my neighbors.  I should treat them as I would like to be treated by my Family Physician.  I should listen to them as I would like my physician to listen to me.  I should follow the process of the Human Centered Health Home (HCHH): by Respecting, Protecting, Connecting, Detecting, Correcting and Reflecting both the patient and myself.  (Search this blog site for several posts about the HCHH)

That does afford a better balance in the patient-physician dyad, in which we each may fulfill several roles during our encounters and across our relationship.  OK, I love myself and will manifest an equal importance to that I afford my patients.  It will take some reminding and practice.

Are you able to write about self love?  Does it feel uncomfortable?  Does your mirror or your mother know that you admire yourself?

Let's work on our self love together.


  1. Congratulations on completing your 30 day challenge with 'Self Love'! True self love comes from the ability to step outside of your physical being and reflect on the remarkable achievements your soul is making. Looking in the mirror and saying 'I Love You' does feel a bit funny, but giving prayer in thanks seems a bit more natural.

  2. Thanks, Beth for a great and helpful comment. Our soul work is lovable. Thanks again.