“Once those 10 pounds are off my body, THEN I’ll love myself.”
“I need to get that promotion to prove how valuable I really am.”
“I really need a lazy afternoon, but I have so much to do I can’t justify a few hours off.”
Have you ever caught yourself saying anything similar to the above statements? I definitely have. Far too often.
We live in a world that constantly tells us we aren’t enough.
We aren’t pretty enough.
We aren’t skinny enough.
We aren’t smart enough.
We aren’t productive enough.
Sometimes these messages are subliminal, causing us to think these things without directly telling us we suck.
But other times, the message is clear: who you currently are is not good enough, but if you buy product ABC or adopt tactic XYZ, THEN you might have a chance at reaching that elusive level of “good enough”.
Growing up, I had the same body image issues most young girls have. “Fat” was a word we threw around towards girls we didn’t like. And from spending much of my childhood in dance and figure skating costumes, I was always very aware of how my body looked compared to other girls’.
Up until a few years ago, I found myself choosing foods and workouts based solely on how I thought they would make me look. This was easy with the abundance of “Top Flat Belly Foods!” and “6 Moves for Slimmer Thighs” articles.
Thankfully, my relationship with my body has dramatically improved. But I still find myself falling into the trap of not enough-ness.
Not productive enough. Not creative enough. Not #BossBabe enough.
Again, adopting these beliefs is not challenging. In the business world, the Hustle Harder movement is stronger than ever, and it seems like every time I open my computer I’m getting an email about how I can accomplish EVEN MOAR.
So how in the actual fuck do we learn to accept ourselves in a world that’s constantly telling us to feel otherwise, let alone love ourselves?
As corny as this sounds, it starts with learning who you really are.
Not the labels you hold, like “wife”, “mom”, “teacher”, “student”, etc. The real You. The crazy, fun, loud-but-sometimes-quiet, thoughtful you.
The You beneath the layers you’ve accumulated over the years.
The You that was put here on this planet for no other reason than to simply be.
Because when you start to learn who you really are at your core, you discover what makes you unique. Awesome, even.
And you begin to learn that your worthiness isn’t based on how you look or how much output you produce.
It’s based on the fact that you made it out of millions of tiny sperm, and that you’re living here on a giant rock floating through space, and that those two things alone make you deserving of love, happiness, and acceptance.
When you begin to learn who you really are, you develop a sureness about yourself. An understanding that you aren’t perfect and you’ve got some messy spots, but overall you’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got.
And it’s that sureness that allows you to look at those Flat Tummy Tricks and Get More Meaningless Shit Done articles and think “nope, not for me.”
So the question is – how do you begin the daunting task of learning who you really are? It can be overwhelming, exciting, and scary, all at once.
One of my absolute favourite starting points is journaling. It doesn’t have to be a “Dear Diary…” situation. Simply writing down 5 things you’re grateful for each morning can begin to give you insight into what you truly find meaningful.
Writing “Where am I currently at?” at the top of a page opens the opportunity for you to share your mood, your frustrations, things you’re excited about, and things you’re feeling apprehensive about in a safe and non-judgmental space.
Spending time alone can be equally powerful. And while I know that can be a scary thought for extroverts, it doesn’t mean you have to spend an entire weekend alone in a secluded cabin 😉
Take yourself on a date! Go out for lunch. Go to the spa. Go on a solo hike (just make sure you’re safe and people know where you are!). Even sitting in silence for 10 minutes, free of distractions and drinking in your surroundings, can help you become more connected with the real you.
In a world that promotes changing every single little thing about you, your appearance, and your behaviours, please know that you are allowed to accept yourself. Love yourself, even.
But it’s up to you to make the first move.