Loving Yourself May Be the Best Medicine

Suzanne Marlatt Stewart

Our emotional health can have a serious effect on our physical health, according to vast scientific literature. Being angry all the time, as well as feeling constantly anxious, can make us susceptible to a variety of illnesses, including stroke, heart disease, and even diabetes.

Every day we make choices—what to wear, what to do, and, of course, what to eat. Beyond the physical choices of daily life, we are constantly making other choices. In simple terms, a lot of choices are made from a feeling of love or fear.

The late Dr. Gerald Jamploski wrote many books, including one of my favorites, Love is Letting Go of Fear. He stated, “The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day… I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. So, it is with all of us.”

I have learned over the years that there is very little I have control over. Basically, my reaction to external events is my choice. Recently, my computer was hacked, and my first reaction was anger and feeling very violated, and then my feelings turned to fear, fear of my accounts being exposed. I started receiving lots of text messages and phone calls from friends stating they had received an email from me needing money and wanted to make sure I knew my email had been compromised. I realized that I was connecting with many friends who I had not heard from in months. I enjoyed talking with these people and realized how many people took the time to share their concern. I shifted to feeling very loved. I realized that what is most important to me is my connections to others. Then I felt a shift in my breathing, feeling very relaxed.

Bernie Siegel is an American writer and retired pediatric surgeon who writes on the relationship between the patient and the healing process. He is known for his best-selling book Love, Medicine and Miracles. I had been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and decided to opt out of traditional treatment and started attending a holistic cancer support group. He came to Seattle to interview several of the attendees of this group. I learned many valuable insights attending this group for five years and feel my success in healing was in a large part due to the love I gave and received in that group. I am grateful for the experience.

Look within, acknowledge your feelings, and find healthy ways to release that which is not best serving who you are. Wake up each morning with the goal in mind to bring more love into your life. Start by loving yourself first.

Rev. Suzanne, a resident of SaddleBrooke, is an independent writer and speaker. She was ordained non-denominational in 1988, representing all faiths; her focus is inclusive. You can email her at [email protected].