I had FULL plans of making this week's blog post all about love, since it is the season for it. *And I promise, next week will focus on that! However, after having the same conversation, with one of my dearest friends, for the billionth time, I knew the direction this post needed to take. I'm still going to talk about love today, and similarly to last week, it's going to focus a bit more on self-care; this week's post is on SELF-LOVE!
As some of you might know, my day-job also involves being a health coach. I work for a company where I have the opportunity to work with individuals from all over the country, who want to become healthier; and I get to do this all from the comfort of my own home. Pretty sweet, huh? Yes, it definitely has its pros and cons! However, I'm not here to talk about my job, per say.
But First, Motivation...
At the beginning of every person's health journey, I ask them to define their motivation, their "why" for joining the program. The thought is that with defining your motivation, you're creating your "purpose statement"; the statement that will be that driving force in keeping you going, throughout the next yearlong journey. Everyone has different statements, however, the majority are all the same: to be healthy.
To be healthy is the best motivator there can be, right? For when we have health, we have everything.
What is Health?
The always-ironic thing to me is the ever-changing definition of health. Everyone seems to view it differently. There is no one definition of health, that's true; however, so often, I see this picture of health only being painted half-way, by most individuals; and in my eyes, this can be detrimental.
My friend, Carrie, and I talk about this regularly. As health coaches for the same company, we see this half-painted picture on the regular. And as regularly as I see this half-painted picture, at work, I see it even more outside of work.
I want you to think about the social media accounts you follow, your friends, your coworkers, society as a whole... the fad-dieters, the exercise-fanatics, the magic pill-users, the foodies, the busy-bodies, the braggers, the negative-nancys... When did we all start to paint this picture of health being one-dimensional?! When did we feel the need to start defining our worth by what we see, on the outside? When did we start to put ourselves on the back-burner? People are constantly running around, like crazy, trying to do this and do that, in order to turn their bodies into some picture-perfect image of health. HEALTH... the one thing everybody's trying to find, yet the one thing everyone seems to be getting further away from.
Happiness is an inside job...
As I scroll through Instagram, and see another post, by another person, sharing their thoughts on being "healthy"; I've started to wonder, "GIRL, but are you HAPPY?!"
Happy as they constantly deprive themselves of treats, or burn themselves (and their physical bodies) out at the gym, call themselves fat, shame themselves, or others, I think to myself, "GIRL, BUT ARE YOU HAPPY?!"
By NO means am I bashing anyone who might do this! Goodness, we're all human; we have this crazy desire and drive to push ourselves to the max, constantly. I struggle with the same thing. However, whenever I see someone pushing themselves to their 'breaking point', I wonder, "Girl, but are you HAPPY?!"
Remember when I talked about Primary Foods, in a previous blog post? The idea that we can't find true health and HAPPINESS without finding a harmonious balance of career, spirituality, exercise, relationships, along with the food we eat? This rings true, more than ever, when it comes to this topic.
Carrie and I love to joke about "vanity pounds"; those five-ten extra pounds you'd really like to lose, just to 'tighten up' or 'look your best'. I'm sure a lot of us can relate to wanting to lose those 'vanity pounds', AMIRIGHT?! Now, I want you to think about how you'd feel after losing those vanity pounds? Would you feel healthier? Happier? Stronger? Prettier? What is the desire to reach this point? What is the desire to reach any 'health destination' you have? Is this the point where you believe you will find something... perhaps happiness? Now what if you changed your mindset; what if, in order to achieve health, you needed to find HAPPINESS first?
Becoming Happy, over Finding Happy
My relationship with my ex-boyfriend wasn't a relationship I'd ever "write home to mom" about; it consisted of a lot of bad, mixed in with a few sprinkles of good/decent. There is one phrase, however, my ex-boyfriend told me once, that I will never forget; a phrase that actually makes a lot of sense, now. We got into a large argument about happiness. *This was about four years ago, when I was working a crap job, stressed to the max, looking for anything to fill my life up with meaning. I told him I was searching for "happiness", and he told me happiness wasn't something to search for; happiness was something to become, to create out of your own life. WOW! Now, again, back then, that statement meant nothing to me; and I think I was more annoyed by the fact that he could easily tell me about my faults in life, and not his own. But now, I realize there was a lot of truth in that statement. Maybe that's because I was able to 'become happy'.
I'll admit, I'm not perfect, nor do I ever plan on being that way. My butt jiggles, jeans are always too tight in the thighs, I bloat every time I eat Chipotle, and I, too, struggle with feelings of self-worth. Some days, I wear the same pants all day long, and don't go workout for days on end. Some days, I cry because I can't pay my bills and don't know when it will change. Some days, I look at myself in the mirror and think, "This could be better". But then I think about all of the good. And this is key, in 'finding happiness'. Instead of constantly focusing on what you COULD change, I want you to think about what you DO have. Create your own happiness.
Nobody's perfect. And seriously, how fun would it be if people were? Can you imagine? It's already difficult enough, I know, scrolling through Instagram and seeing that couple on a super-fun trip, or that girl losing weight and posting pictures of her *already flawless-looking body; it's all super hard on our self-esteem and on our body image. But here's a statement I want you to say to yourself, out loud, whenever you find yourself thinking these thoughts, "Nobody is perfect. Everybody's poop stinks. I'm happy because (fill in the blank)."
The main-point I'm trying to make here is that we can do anything and everything to 'better ourselves', on the inside and on the outside, but until we are happy with ourselves (until we resolve that internal battle), that's really not going to mean anything; we're not going to be HEALTHY.
How to do it...
So, HOW does one "get happy"? Well, that's a beast all its own. But like last week, it focuses on taking a look at your Primary Foods, and your life, as a whole, and asking a couple of questions. What about your life do you love? What about your life do you hate? Where do you spend your time, most days (physically and mentally)?
Your homework this week is all about list-making! I want you to write down what you do, on a daily-basis, and how it feels on your mind and body. Along with what you do, I want you to write down your frequent thoughts, feelings and the relationships you keep. How do these make you feel? Are they GOOD for you? Do they feed you in the ways they should?
What this looks like...
For some of us, maybe we really LOVE going to the gym; getting a good sweat on and releasing endorphins. But I want you to ask yourself this, "How does my body feel, going to the gym, every day?" "Am I going to feel more exhausted after doing this?"
Maybe, for others, we really LOVE going out, every Friday; meeting up with friends, indulging in some beverages. But I want you to ask yourself this, "How does my body feel, when I get home?" "Do I find I'm not able to get as much done, when I do this?"
Maybe things are a bit more psychological. Maybe you, like me a few years ago, find yourself in a dead-end relationship, but you don't know what to do, or how to get out. Maybe you keep pushing on, doing what you can, because you're scared of the 'unknown'. I want you to ask yourself this, "How will staying in this relationship benefit ME?" "Will I be able to be my best self, by staying in this same situation?"
Maybe it's a job you're in, that you wish you weren't. I want you to ask yourself this, "Is this the job I NEED stay in for the time being?" "How would I feel if I wasn't at this job?" "What would I have to do to get out?"
Maybe we're just feeling stuck, in general. The weather. The relationship. The body. The same 'ole situation. Sameness, stagnance can cause feelings of unhappiness, as well. But instead of pushing when we shouldn't push; instead of causing more harm, than help, to your body, I want you to ask yourself how that situation could change; how you could become happy.
Self-Care IS Self-Love
See what I mean about self-care? It's more than bubble baths and pedicures... it's a state of mind; it's self-love. Do yourself a favor and start to put the focus on creating your happiness over creating something else to 'make you happy'. Putting emphasis on one aspect of 'being healthy' isn't going to make you healthy, see? By choosing to "become happy", to feel aligned with your life, and where you are in your life, you are choosing to be healthy. Health and happiness are synonymous. Go out, girl, and BECOME HAPPY!