I had a discussion with a client the other day about loving ourselves, right where we are, while also
working towards our goals. My client had the mindset of “I’ll love myself when I lose the weight.” I must admit I’m guilty of this myself. Self-love is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. As a very young girl, and well into my 20’s, I honestly bordered on hatred of myself… hatred of how I looked, hatred of my body, hatred of how I acted, hatred of how I showed up in this world. It was a terrible place to be. I was constantlly trying to obtain ‘something’ that was always out of my reach…whether it was a number of the scale, or people pleasing, or whatever… even when I would reach that number on the scale I still wasn’t happy… I needed more.
It has been a long, arduous process spanning nearly four decades, but I can honestly say I have learned to stop hating myself, and I’m learning how to replace it with love and compassion for myself… even though now I’m older, heavier, more of all of the “flaws” I saw in myself for all of those years, now I see a one-of-a-kind, perfectly imperfect masterpiece – me. It’s been so freeing, and life is much better now. Now, I know my story is nothing out of the ordinary… I could find you thousands, or even millions, of examples of people who have learned to love themselves over time. So, why am I sharing this? Because of the perspective I’ve developed going through this journey over the years…. I said to my client that we need to love ourselves, right now, in order to be successful in reaching our goals. We can’t wait to love ourselves only AFTER we reach our goals, as some sort of “self-love” reward. No. Here’s why… transformation is hard. Whether it’s weight loss, developing new habits, learning something new, etc… any successful transformation comes from consistently doing the work that it takes to get from where we are... to where we want to be. That’s it. WORK + CONSISTENCY = SUCCESS. So, think about this… when we love someone or something, such as a child/spouse/friend/pet/etc., we want to take care of them, we want to support them, we are willing to sacrifice and do the work that it takes to ensure their well-being, happiness, and success. Right? But, when we do things out of obligation, because it’s something we’re “supposed to do” or we “have to do” for someone we don’t even like, we resent them, and the work that we do. We will either quit completely, or if we do fulfill our obligations, we do the bare minimum needed to finish… and then we stop. In weight loss attempts this equates to either never actually losing the weight, or just putting our heads down and barreling through to lose the weight, to immediately gain it all back once we lose motivation to keep working so hard for someone we don’t even like – ourselves. Compassion and self-love is critical for our success DURING our journey to ensure we do the work it takes to be successful.
I am a constant work in progress. I have many goals that I want to strive for in this lifetime, so I’m not saying I just accept where I am and that this is where I will always be. No, I want to continue to grow and improve in every aspect of my life. But, the difference now from where I came from is 1) I have learned to have compassion for who I used to be – I didn’t know any better, and I was doing the best I could with what I knew at the time… and 2) it’s really the same for today. I am older and wiser, and I have a lot more life experience under my belt, but I screw up all the time. For real, A LOT. lol 😉 But, I know I’m doing the best I can with the knowledge and experience I have right now… and that’s the best I can do/be. Back in the days of self-hatred, when I would “srew up”, I would stay there and continue to beat myself up for not being “perfect” all of the time… Now, when things don’t work out as I planned, having compassion and self-love allows me to pick myself up, brush myself off, and start moving forward towards my goals much quicker… because of this I am much more successful in everything I do in life now. I can tell you that learning to love myself has made the work it takes to reach my goals so much more enjoyable now. I am much more consistent in doing what it takes to be successful. Now I WANT to take care of myself, instead of viewing it as something I HAVE to do. It really takes the willpower out of avoiding things that are bad for me, whether it’s unhealthy food, toxic relationships, bad habits, etc. Instead, now I feel like I’m constantly rewarding myself by eating healthy food, exercising my body, doing things that are good for me – body, mind, and spirit… because I feel I am worthy of those things.
So, try this. If you want THIS time to be the time you FINALLY reach your goal – whether it’s weight loss or anything else – try loving yourself. Right now. As is. Each time you steer off course, instead of scolding yourself for not being perfect, realize that it is okay, you are doing the best you can with where you are, and then immediately re-direct attention to the steps it takes to reach your goal. What you focus your energy on is what will manifest… so focus on the positive things you do, and those will be the things that continue to grow and improve, and eventually lead you to your goal. Love yourself in every phase and every stage, because then you will WANT to continue to do the work, and your chance of success will increase dramatically…. and even if you don’t hit that number on the scale… life will be good. 😉
Let me know how it goes!