I have been thinking about this blog post for a while, and I feel like it needs to be said. This topic has been on my mind for a long time and I finally feel like I am in a place where I can share it, because it needs to be shared. Not to be too serious! ;)
I feel like as women, there is an underlying feeling from the very beginning that we need to be PERFECT. As in, you are not allowed to have any physical or outward blemish where anyone else can see it! I have always felt that I was never good enough. Even after I married my amazing husband who always tried to make me feel loved and show his love. I always justified his actions as something that as a husband he feels like he needed to do, it was his duty. I would tell myself that he only married me because I was at the right place at the right time. How sad is that?! I never allowed myself to feel his love. It wasn't that he wasn't trying to love me or he was doing anything wrong. He was doing all the right things! It was me, as his wife, that would not accept what he was giving me. Did I ever even realize this before? Nope! Not in the slightest. I just thought I need to talk myself down because that is what I witnessed from every other woman around me. If you thought that you were great, you were conceited. If I said anything good about myself, it was always a joke.
Then one day, something amazing happened! Reese was about nine months old and I was going into the mother's room at the church to change her diaper. There was another woman in there with her daughter who was around the same age and she started talking about getting a workout group together. I knew I needed to change something because I just wasn't happy with where I was. I was never happy and I thought, "If I could just lose weight and look like all of those skinny girls, I would be happy!" I took her up on her offer and decided to start going, to see where it would take me. At first these workouts were full of "I hate this!" "I can't do that!" "Ha Ha! You're funny if you think I am going to accomplish that!" My set goals for myself were right where I was currently. I couldn't see what greatness I actually held! I started a diet challenge with some of these ladies that were working out with me. My first week my goal was to have a positive attitude during my workouts. Something amazing happened! All of a sudden, I could do 10 push-ups on my toes. I could run farther. I could squat lower. I could do all the things that the skinny girls could do! I WAS STRONG! That week, I lost 6 pounds! That is like biggest loser status people! I was on a roll! In that first diet challenge, I lost 11 pounds! It was a great jump start! I would consistently lose 2-4 pounds a week. I was getting so excited! All of a sudden, my clothes didn't fit anymore! I had to buy smaller sizes. All of a sudden, I could allow my husband to LOVE me! I could love myself! And you know what happened? He liked complimenting me more! I would accept what he had to say! He was more attracted to me, because I allowed him into my "circle", not just because I was skinnier. I could truly see myself as a daughter of God! That I was worth fighting for! I was worth it! I was going to achieve my goals! I was going to become better! I really started to love myself because I saw my potential and ability rather than just looking the mirror and seeing something/everything that was wrong with me. I saw myself the way that my Father in Heaven saw me! Then I decided I wanted to challenge myself and do a race, not just any race, a triathlon!
While training for a race, it can be pretty exhausting to keep your mental capacity where it needs to be. You constantly have to be positive and ready for the next training day. You're often sore and feel 80 years old but after a hard run or workout you feel great! It was worth the pain! I started signing up for a lot of different races. I was doing as many as I could because I loved how it felt! Beating my last score! Keeping the right pace! Passing the person in front of you! (I might be just a little competitive...) It was a fabulous time full of self fulfillment. And as it always goes, life happened. I hit some boulders on my pathway. Some pretty big boulders. All of a sudden, I was back where I started. At least I still had my lifeline of exercise, but mentally, I was right where I started, thinking, "I can't do that!" "This is so hard!" "Why am I out here?!"
One day, my daughter slipped and fell and was crying for mom. As I was comforting her a very disturbing thought came to my mind, "She wouldn't love you if she knew how really awful you are! If she knew all of the evil things you have done, this beautiful girl would run the other way." It shocked me! It terrified me! I HATED that I thought that! Maybe I needed something so vile go through my head to wake me up, but it shook me to the very core! I knew that I had changed! I KNEW that I was different from before! I KNEW I was worthy to be her mother and to be loved! Why would I throw myself away like that?! The next few days were full of a lot of introspection. They were also full of frustration and anger and a VERY difficult 8 mile run! I was tired of those feelings and I needed to remember that I was worth it! I started looking in the mirror and would force myself to only look at the things that I loved about myself. First it was just my eyes, then it was my smile, then it was my shoulders, and as I worked down my body in the mirror, I finally saw the goodness again! It is an amazing feeling to look at myself and LOVE myself! To appreciate all of my imperfections. My body is perfect! Maybe not by the normal "standard", but my body is perfect for me! My body is something given to me by my loving Heavenly Father and it is able to do so many amazing and beautiful things! It can grow and nourish a child! It can love another human. It can be a vehicle for attraction for my marriage! (It's OK to FEEL sexy for your spouse! I know, crazy right?!) It is able to run until my mind tells it to stop! It is so resilient! It has been punished for 24 years of me putting myself down! And it has even made a comeback and will perform with such grace and beauty, like nothing ever happened! This body of mine is such a GIFT! Why do we abuse it so?! Why do I think I NEED that piece of chocolate cake?! (Not that the chocolate cake is always a bad thing...) Why do I think it is OK to put it down and say it isn't so wonderful?!
Have you ever thought about all that your body is capable of?! Think about it! The limits that people on this earth have been able to reach because they just WILL their body to achieve it! And we are still breaking records and still changing the molds. If we just pushed those awful mental blocks to go away and only allowed those strong thoughts and positive meanings to come through, how much stronger would we be?! Your body is PERFECT the way it is right now! You are where you are for a reason! Weather it be to heal from grief or protecting yourself from pain. When you are ready and want to get there, your body will allow you! It is not just calories or workouts. It is often just allowing you to love yourself RIGHT NOW! Right where you are today! Appreciating your imperfections because they have something to teach you too! And you know what, I am still not one of those "skinny" girls like I thought I would be. But I am so much happier where I am now, than if I was starving myself. (because let's me honest I have some very strong legs! ;)) I know I still have a ways to go. I am training for a marathon for crying out loud, but I know that I will get there, because it is time for me to let go of the sad/unmotivated/gross conversation in my head. It is time to push forward! Appreciate what I am today, and work to be better tomorrow!