A lot of people try to start their journey to wellness after something negative happens. Maybe it's a record-high number on the scale. Maybe it's a bad report at the doctor's office. Or, maybe it's a personal situation that makes them feel less than. So many of us have been there. I heard one of my clients say, "I've hated myself to getting skinny a few times, but I've never loved myself to getting fit." Who can't relate to that?
The truth is, a journey to true wellness can never be fueled by self hate. If it isn't driven by self love, it won't be sustainable. It won't be effective. And, it won't be impervious to the instant gratification things like eating junk food, or sleeping through your scheduled workout, or practicing the self care you need and deserve.
I've shared my belief that wellness requires healthfulness in mind, body and spirit. If you're plagued with self doubt and negative feelings about who you are and what you look like, you may still reach your goals for your body. But, your mind and spirit will probably suffer in the process.
Here is what I want to say to the woman who cringed when she looked in the mirror in the morning, the woman who groaned when she saw the number on the scale, the woman who woke up regretting everything she ate yesterday and hated herself for it, the woman who skipped the gym because she didn't want to feel like a failure, the woman who keeps her head down when she walks past others because she doesn't want attention, the woman who has been betrayed and abandoned and broken, the woman who feels like her life would be better if she were someone or something else:
"YOU ARE SO VERY LOVED AND SO VERY VALUED AS YOU ARE RIGHT THIS MINUTE. AND YOU DESERVE... WITHOUT A DOUBT... TO ENJOY THE FULLNESS OF THIS LIFE. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU WEIGH. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT SIZE YOU ARE. WHAT MATTERS IS WHAT'S INSIDE YOU AND I KNOW THAT IT'S BEAUTIFUL. GOD MADE YOU AND HE IS UNABLE TO MAKE ANYTHING THAT'S NOT WONDERFUL. NOW, YOU NEED TO SEE YOURSELF THROUGH MY EYES- THROUGH HIS EYES- SO EVERYTHING YOU DO GOING FORWARD IS ABOUT LOVING YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE AND NOT HATING YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU AREN'T."
My sweet warrior, this has never ever been about what you look like. This has never ever been about trying to keep up with others. This has never ever been about fulfilling unreasonable expectations that you place on yourself or that others place on you. This is about YOU... who you are deep inside, who you are when you feel happy and capable and strong, and who you are when love and light are pouring through you.
You may think this is silly, but I'm going to ask you to do these things and try to make them a habitual part of your life:
- Ask God to help you see yourself through His eyes and to want for yourself what He wants for you.
- Refuse to look at yourself through a "superficial" lens. Eliminate words like "skinny" or "fat" or "pretty" or "ugly" from your self talk. Instead, tell yourself how strong you are. Look in the mirror and say, "You are so strong. You have been through (fill in the blank). And, look at you. You are here. You are so strong." Say it over and over again. Multiple times a day if you need to. Your strength is the truth you need to embrace.
- Refuse to beat yourself up for any reason. Instead, celebrate successes... no matter how small. Did you eat something healthy? Did you walk around the block? Did you pray before you started your day? What good things did you do to love and take care of yourself? Focus on those things. Not on the shortfalls.
- Move. Walk. Dance. Whatever. Just get that body in motion. God designed our bodies to release endorphins and all kinds of good things when we move. When we least feel like moving is usually when we need it most! So, push yourself to DO SOMETHING. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes in so many aspects of your life.
Warrior, we are all a work in progress. None of us have reached the finish line until we're standing next to Jesus. So, be kind to yourself. Practice the tips above to start feeling better about yourself. Recklessly pursue love for yourself. Everything else falls into place when our minds and spirits are whole and healthy.
Most of all, remember you are loved. Even when it may not seem like it. You are loved and cherished and here for a reason. You are worthy of all good things. Embrace that and move forward with love for yourself.