For years all I wanted was for someone to tell me, “Adele your body is ok exactly the way it is.” I think in my quest for the perfect body, I was seeking some sort of outward acceptance that I was ok. Ironically I did have it from friends and family, without even asking for it. But they were suppose to tell me that I am ok just the way I am. So it didn’t count, right?
And as long as I was killing myself in the gym and restricting my food in the kitchen, I was good. Because I was working towards a better me (so I thought) the only way I knew how to do it. And if I had that body that others could love, I too could love myself.
I couldn’t be content because being content somehow indicated that I wasn’t doing enough. Somehow loving myself meant that I didn’t want to get better improve or grow and that I was just satisfied with what I had and wouldn’t be motivated to try anymore.
What I have learned over the years is it is possible to love yourself and get better at the same time. You don’t have to hate your way to success and self love does not indicate giving up.
But what about when it does?
With the self love phenomena exploding, to love your self in any shape or size, my heart is happy. But too often I see people using this concept of self love without one crucial component. Responsibility. And I get it. Because I use to feel that loving myself and accepting myself meant leaving responsibility behind. But it doesn’t. It means taking MORE responsibility in your life and your choices.
And I’m talking crazy responsibility.
I see self acceptance being used in form of excuses and as justification that because we are good enough right where we are, we don’t need to work to improve. And while I believe in this moment we are perfect exactly where we are, and as we are, I also believe that is not an excuse to not grow, improve or get better, in this case with our health.
Because accepting yourself in your current state does not have to be the same as resignation, giving up, or not working towards where you want to be. Loving your curves does not mean you can’t strive to be healthy. Loving what is given to you does not mean that you can’t make good food choices. And loving yourself doesn’t mean your journey ends here. You just do your best and try not to be attached to the outcome.
Self love is not an excuse for why you can’t do more. And there is actually a place for this perspective.
It’s called active acceptance.
Active acceptance says that you don’t have to hate yourself to reach your goals. It says that you don’t have to give up either. You can improve, grow, learn and get better while loving and appreciating your body and everything it does for you.Because the idea that you can only love yourself or be happy when you reach a certain point is insane. You can and should love yourself right in this very moment, no matter what.
It is possible to be content and at peace with your body but not satisfied. Because a healthy body is not an ultimate goal. It is not like running a marathon. You don’t get to cross the line and get to be done. You have to constantly work at it, for life.
And by taking responsibility, we GET to create a journey of health and well being. We may not always have control and we will most definitely go with the ebb and flow of life and be in phases of working out more or less, our appetite will change, our bodies will change, days with change, goals will change and that is all ok.
Just don’t give up your power.
Often we blame, judge and excuse what we do. We fight with the reality of our situation and claim we have no control over it. And I get it, I’ve done it before. But guess what? It takes away our power to cultivate healthier habits and make progress and puts the work out of our hands.
Its just the way I am.
My body will never change.
It’s too hard.
I have tried it before.
Telling yourself this story keeps you caught in this story. And any story where we limit ourselves is detrimental to our emotional and physical health. The beauty is we can change our story!
Yes, we can change our story!
I have potential.
I can love myself and still want to make change.
It can be hard.
It is a journey that I am embracing.
Somethings are in our control and something our not, but our responsibility lies in our efforts, not the outcomes.
Stressing over macro nutrients and calories. Avoiding favorite foods. Exercising yourself into the ground. This isn’t healthy.But neither is skipping exercise or movement. Neither is making poor choices just because we give into accepting our health or current condition the way it is.
Accept your body right now as it is, in it’s shape and size and self perceived imperfections, but nurture it, take care of it and appreciate it for what it does. Love your body but don’t let your love be an excuse to not take care of it.