By: Stephanie Horton
We go to sleep each night with goals for tomorrow in mind, and we wake up every morning with expectations of ourselves, both new and familiar. Every day we hope that one thing about our lives will be a little bit better tomorrow. This can be a really healthy thing as long as we are kind to ourselves while creating these goals and expectations.
Last night, I sat across the table from an absolutely beautiful woman who was talking about how she needed to lose 10-15 pounds before a wedding she is attending in 20 days. I asked her, "Why do you feel you need to lose that much weight?" She replied, "Well, it's more so that I haven't been eating well lately. I just don't feel good right now because of it."
This got me thinking...I pointed out "Maybe it's not really that you want the number on the scale to be 10-15 lbs less, but maybe you just want your body to feel like it's in better shape as a result of eating well and exercise."
"Exactly," she said.
"Losing 15 lbs is much different than treating yourself well!" I tried to explain.
"How so?" she asked.
I wish I could just show her herself through my eyes! Then I realized, wow, I wish I could see myself through her eyes too. The path to self love is no well-traveled road with signs and lane dividers. No. It can be dark and spooky at times, bright and scenic at others, but one thing is always true: it's very, very easy to lose your way.
This conversation reminded me of a scene in the popular television show GLEE when Mercedes, the gorgeous, full-bodied, insanely amazing singer is trying to lose weight to be part of the Cheerios Cheerleading team. Things get out of hand for her, and with a little help from an unexpected friend, she comes to the realization that she loves herself for who she is. Check out the clip here.
After a few minutes of conversation with my friend, I finally asked her to try to love herself enough to treat her body with care. Eat well, sleep enough, exercise, but don't demand that your body get rid of 10-15 pounds of itself. Instead of assuming the position of abusive, authoritative dictator over our bodies, we should become loving, understanding partners with our bodies.
It takes courage to love yourself, and it's so much harder than it sounds. Everyone needs to take their own path, and we all hit road bumps during the ride, but the destination remains the same: The point at which we love ourselves enough to treat ourselves with respect and gratitude.
Here are a few tips for the journey:
1. Write yourself a love letter. Write it at night before bed and leave it for yourself to find in the morning. What a great way to wake up!
2. Make a list of 5 things that you will do today that will make you smile.
3. When you look in the mirror for the first time today, find something you love about yourself first before any other thoughts come into mind.
4. Take your time when preparing your meals for the day. Really look at the ingredients you're putting into your body and be thankful for the components of the food that make you strong and alive.
5. Do one thing that takes physical exertion, and surprise yourself with your own strength.
Do you have any tips you'd like to share?
Do you struggle with self-expectation from time to time?
What will you do today to bring you one step closer to self love?