I don’t think a day goes by where I do not say things like, “I want to lose 20 more pounds…then I will be happy.” “If my waist was a little more snatched, I could wear that dress.” Anyone else?
I have been struggling with this for what feels like forever–always wanting to change something about myself. I keep telling myself that once I hit this goal, or accomplish that change, I will finally be happy. Now, I have hit many of my goals, but honestly, I felt nothing most of the time after I did. I was making it to the goal and not feeling any happier…but why?!
Eventually, I managed to completely confuse myself. I went from starving myself, to eating my feelings, back to starving myself in order to soothe that “unhappy ache”. It worked alright. I saw my weight go crazy and managed to cause some damage to my health. If I wasn’t obsessed with counting calories, I was obsessed with wings!!! Every single day! When I hit my goals and heard the compliments, I still could not shake the feeling that I was not enough. Still saw myself as unattractive and ugly.
In the past couple of years, I have been listening to podcasts and reading a lot. I wanted to find tools to build myself up and encourage me to keep dreaming and reaching for my goals….I honestly got fed up with myself and decided NO MORE! I needed to heal my emotions because I was acting out of my feelings and that is dangerous. I have been really digging in to find what works for me and how to put boundaries up where they needed to be. That is definitely still a struggle for me. I am happy to say that I really have been digging in and confronting my issues, meaning the eating, yes, but also some deep-seeded feelings like anger, and hurt, along with the body issues. I now journal heavily and meditate daily and found out where they were coming from and boy has that made a difference in my life. Addressing my emotions was a lot of work and I have made a tremendous amount of progress. One thing that has changed everything for me was learning that happiness is internal, not external. When you believe that you can be happy because of something external, you get into a bad cycle of desiring external validation, and you will feel up and down so you will continuously depend on achieving and receiving validation externally. Even when you do receive it, you will not feel any different, nor will you feel any more fulfilled….you will continue to search for more.
We just have to learn to accept ourselves….TODAY! Just the way we are…just like this. With that head of hair, that belly, those lips, that education. Just like this. If you don’t, it becomes impossible for us to accept ourselves when things change. If you do lose the weight or get the boob job, you will still be the “you” that you were on the inside. If you weren’t happy then, you will not be any happier when the change comes. You making more money? Still you. If you learn to accept the “today” you, you will be able to have better outcomes and create lasting change for yourself.
When we accept ourselves……..
- Happiness–this is what we all want. If we are always thinking about what we need to change, it is kind of a challenge to actually ever feel happy. Happiness is an experience, not a destination. Attempt to let go of all of the things you feel you need to change, and just enjoy you. Just as you are today. There are so many beautiful, funny, quirky, wonderful things to love about you today. Guess what? There is no amount of money, no certain weight or body type, particular car or house, that is going to make you happier. Look at the recent celebrity suicides that have occurred. They could buy any of those things and still didn’t find themselves “happy”.
- Freedom. Accepting yourself helps you to find peace with who you are and where you are in your journey. You are free from the suffocation of self-judgement and public expectations. There will still be things that you want to change, but you have made peace with yourself and you can assess whether those changes are things you really want to improve or not.
- Empowerment. Knowing who you are and accepting that person is your first step to self-empowerment. We are unique, yes! Knowing that stops the comparisons and you free yourself up to make changes that last and equip yourself with the power to do it.
So what have I been working on to get to true acceptance?
- Let go! You have to let go of anything that does not serve your highest good. Every habit, relationship, friendships….all of it! Get rid of anything that doesn’t help you grow. You may feel lonely at times afterwards, but that feeling will subside. Replace the people and the habits with good/better people and habits.
- Mindfulness. Living in the present moment and appreciating it…that is mindfulness. A lot of times, we are so focused on the future and how things will be then, we missed focusing on what we have and do now.
- Gratitude. We have to be grateful for what we have. We must also be grateful for our abilities. We do ourselves a favor when we stop focusing on our shortcomings and be grateful for what we can do and what we do have. This will help us move closer to our goals.
- Control that inner voice. You hear him\her telling you that you are not good enough, that you won’t succeed, or that you suck. You need to reel that in and replace what is being said with positive words. “As a man thinketh….” Change your thinking! It is not simple, you have to be consistent, but it is possible for sure.
- Surround yourself with good….good people, good things….DO things that you enjoy, find joy! My grandma, recently, told me that I should not be around people who just like me. That I should be around people who love me, accept me just as I am. The more I get that, the more I will see….YOU will see that you don’t have to change to be happy with yourself at all.