Love Trumps Hate

May 9, 2016

I recently mentioned in my video blog that I am my own worst hater.  For a long time, like so many of us, I would look in the mirror and only focus on the negative.  I hated the way my stomach looked after having two kids, my thighs were too doughy, my waist too wide, the complaints were endless.

Then something strange happened 2 months ago.  I looked in the mirror and started to like what I see.  My stomach seemed flatter, and my thighs has less cellulite, even my mid-section was slimmer.  I actually looked myself in the face and thought, I look pretty.

It was bizarre!

I figured, “Oh that was a fluke!” Blaming the “skinny mirror” or the fact that I was in a good mood that day.  It couldn’t possibly be that I was finally, after 34 years, coming to accept my body for what it is (and what it isn’t).

Next time I got dressed to go out, I went to the mirror and again it happened.  “I look good!”  “This outfit looks nice on me!’  Maybe it had to do with my recent closet edit where I purged all the items that don’t work for me and learned how to dress to accentuate the postitives of my body (instead of hiding the negatives).  I was happy when I looked in the mirror and that was something very new for me.

For so long, my health journey has been fueled by hating what I saw in the mirror.  Every lowest point of my life when the pain was great enough for me to say, “I’ve got to make a change” was built on the hate that I had for my body (myself) and never on love. In fact it was some really embarrassing photos of me back in 2008 on Superbowl Sunday that finally sent me to Weight Watchers.  I couldn’t stand the sight of myself and the worst part was that they were on Facebook for all the world to see! My motivation was always what disgusted me about my body and how I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore.

Once I realized that, I became very sad thinking I’ve misunderstood what this whole journey was about.  In 2013, I started learning about health and how to help others and the whole time I wasn’t loving myself, I was hating myself.  Fueling my workouts and my healthy cooking with hatred the entire time!  Thinking, “If I eat that donut I’m gonna look terrible in pictures on Facebook” instead of “Donuts are empty calories that I don’t need.” I’m ashamed to think I’ve been coaching others with this undercurrent of hate just beneath the surface.  I’m always telling my clients to “practice self-care” and “love yourself first”, but like, have I done that?

I’ll take the occasional afternoon off for a mani/pedi or to get a massage thinking I was “loving myself” and “practicing self care” but this is only the tip of the ice berg.  Truly loving yourself when you look in the mirror goes way beyond the superficial surface of hair and nail maintenance.  It’s actually liking what you see and not immediately following it up with the negatives.  I got a compliment just yesterday from my husband saying I looked good and I immediately said, “Thank you…but I wish my stomach looked flatter.”  It’s like, MARIE SHUT UP, just say THANK YOU and move on!

I’m sure the last two years of personal development (which includes dozens of Saturdays spent at training events, private coaching, and many podcasts on repeat) is what has allowed me to reach this new level of love for myself.  I’m really proud that I’ve at least gotten to this point, because it means there’s growth happening here.  Sustainable growth can only be found once you begin to love the new habit.  It’s like what people always say about the gym.  “You know once you start to love it is when you’ll actually make it a habit.”  That’s so true!

Anyone can hate themselves enough to lose a couple of pounds, but the real growth is when you start to love yourself enough to transform your life.

March 2015 (left), May 2016 (right) with love

 

 

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