I’ve got a confession to make, and it’s not pretty. It’s more like a toadstool, actually. It’s a fungus. Here you go. I’ve got toenail fungus. Gross, right? Of course, that’s the treatment, not the issue. The issue is a lot deeper, I’m afraid.

If we can put off getting fit, the big issues, how easy it becomes to sublimate the smaller issues. But it’s the smaller issues that may hold an important key.

Take a look at the smallest detail of your health and wellness program and ask yourself how am I doing at caring for myself? Am I taking care of the details? See if you stay focused on the bigger issues, like weight loss and blood pressure and eating less sugar, you might miss some of the more insidious issues, the ones that have plagued you for a while, but that you tend to ignore.

Here’s the meta question. How are you taking care of yourself?

As you let the small issues go, in my case a gross big toe, you are giving your body, and your overall self-image a deep and powerful message. “It’s not all that important.” Oh, but it is.

I am learning this all the time. The subtle ways you treat yourself illustrate deeper issues. When you ignore a little problem, like a painful tooth, or an unhealthy toe, you are sending a ton of on-going messages to yourself. I’m not worth it. I don’t have time to take care of myself. It’s not that important. It can wait.

All of these internal sounding boards will undermine your best plans. I’m still not ready to make the call to the laser-empowered doctor above. But why not? Money? Time? Fear? I don’t know, exactly. What I do know, is that this “shame” of mine, that I’ve been carrying around in my shoe for over 10 years, is not going to go away on its own. The creams and over-the-counter remedies are not going to miraculously start working, no matter what the guy in the nail salon says about *his* treatment, for just $21.98.

But the issue is more about me. I discount the problem. I don’t listen to the groans of my daughter when she spots my toe during a summer swim. I don’t hear my body saying, “Hey, we’ve got a problem down here. Are you listening?”

And with every action I take that is not making the appointment and getting my toe treated, is a step away from my own self-care. Why wouldn’t I take care of it?

Get clear, get clean, and get honest with yourself, down to the minor details of the big picture.

It undercuts my work on my overall wellness, I think. Sure, I’m newly focused on the big issues: committing to eating quality “whole” foods, getting more exercise, and helping my body shed some of its *sad* weight. If we can put off getting fit, the big issues, how easy it becomes to sublimate the smaller issues. But it’s the smaller issues that may hold an important key.

If we begin to identify and address even the smallest issue, we are telling ourselves, “Yep, you are worth it. Even to the smallest detail. You are worth being more svelte in your skin, and you are worth having healthy and sparkling toenails.” I continue to try and tell myself it don’t matter. Every thing matters.

So out with the little pains, the little shames, the little issues we choose to ignore. In the same way I am ferreting out the hidden sugar in my life, I’m now going to illuminate the hidden issues that I tend to hide or write off as unimportant. If I am really committed to wellness and self-care, no issue is off the table.

In the morning, I check with this laser dude and see if my insurance will cover any of the treatment.

Get clear, get clean, and get honest with yourself, down to the minor details of the big picture.

I love the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And by the way, it’s all small stuff.” And the corollary is just as true. The details are essential to understanding the whole. Sugar intake is an easy target for improvement. How well I take care of myself and my little issues, is core to unlocking my full sparkling and healthy body.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

Reference: Harvard Family Health Guide on Toenails
Your toenails reveal a lot about your overall health and can provide the first sign of a systemic disease.

In many ways I’m telling myself, “No, you’re not worth it.”

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