There was once a time that if I heard any of the following: "Spirituality, inner peace, vegan, money doesn't buy happiness..." I'd nod my head while rolling my eyes thinking, "Enough of this new-age hippie stuff." I guess like most lessons in life, you don't really absorb information or wisdom until you're ready to be open to it. Often this new openness occurs when a life-changing event happens: a sickness, a loss, a breakup... Or sometimes, maturity is enough of a catalyst.
I've dabbled in health and wellness when it's been convenient. I admit it really hasn't been until my most recent hardship, a devastating heartbreak, that pushed me to get serious about getting healthier -- both physically and spiritually.
I've started to realize that a whole lot of us, including myself, spend a heck of a lot of time, energy and money on making sure we appear impeccable on the outside. We decorate ourselves with designer clothes, diligently craft ourselves to appear of a certain stature and status, and do things against our better judgement to fit in with people who don't even matter in our lives. We create illusions of ourselves to appear more important and special to others, but leave the inside neglected and in some cases, rotting. Of course this isn't the case for everyone. Nor is there anything wrong with putting effort in to your clothes or appearance. The question is, do you spend enough time beautifying the inside as you do the outside?
I don't think a lot of us do. And when your inside is filled with insecurity, fear, a feeling of inferiority, anger and other negative stuff, it eventually leaks out and has the potential to really hurt another. Your inner health affects your body, which affects your mind, which affects your actions, which affect the energy you put out, which affects the people around you. When you don't work on nurturing your body and soul so that you are healthy on the inside, you ultimately end up hurting not just yourself, but the people who love you.
The year 2012 is going to be a big year of change and growth for many of us. At least, I know it will be for me. I am going to explore treating myself better. Not with the typical way I used to do it, by indulging in a lavish pair of shoes or a handbag. (Don't get me wrong, I'll still pick up a pair of Louboutins here or there.) But I will make it a point to put thought and focus on beautifying what's inside, not just my exterior. I will do this by feeding my body food that gives me the nutrients that I need, by being gentle with my heart, acting with kindness and compassion, exercising patience (which is a virtue I do not currently have), exercising and remembering to breathe. With this mindfulness, I set to attract people in my life who share similar values and most importantly, integrity and character. I think applying discipline to creating new habits that will serve me, will also build my own character. Because at the end, isn't that really what matters? I think Eleanor Roosevelt was on to something when she said: "Only a man's character is the real criterion of worth."
Here's to a new year of becoming better, healthier individuals internally, so that we can be beautiful... both inside and out.
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Amy is a relationship and lifestyle columnist. To read more of her blogs visit www.amyfabulous.com