Why is it so difficult for us to love ourselves, yet so easy for us to give love to others? Have you ever thought about how easily we can point out things we love about other people, yet when asked what we love about ourselves, we struggle with what to say?
I often ask my clients to tell me something they love about themselves, and there is always a lengthy pause while they try to think of something. One of them thought for more than 24 hours before finally saying with confidence that she loves her hands; another eventually told me she “liked” her hair – which had just been styled. What would you say if I asked you what you loved about yourself; or if I asked if you love all of yourself?
Don’t worry–I struggled with this, too. It’s natural, but it’s something that needs to change, especially if you want to care enough about yourself to improve your health and fitness. It’s easy to find flaws—and I still find them myself. But I also have some great things I love about myself: my hair, my very shapely legs that show the muscles, and that I barely get winded when walking or hiking. I am a positive, compassionate, empathetic person who is quick to laugh. And, the thing I’m most proud of: I can do anything I want, once I set my mind on it.
Our outlook and perception of ourselves and our abilities is HUGE. It has enormous impact on everything we do. If you tell yourself you don’t have time, you won’t have time; if you tell yourself you can’t, you’re right; if you tell yourself you’re fat, you’ll remain overweight; if you tell yourself nothing can change, nothing will change.
The question is, how can you turn this negative self-talk around and fill yourself with love instead? It’s important to start with loving yourself and putting yourself first. You need to make sure your cup is full before you can draw from that cup to do things for others. From that starting point, here are some ideas to increase your self-love and attach that focus to your fitness goals.
Take the Time:
Remind yourself that a little time is better than no time, and take even just 15 minutes to work some movement and exercise into your day. Nothing has to be a marathon—even a bit of time can make a huge difference. You can apply this same idea to add some “you time” into your day. Grab a quick 15 minutes to do some reading, meditating, work on a hobby or have a chat with someone you love.
Turn “Can’t” Into “Try:”
If you replace “I can’t” with “I’ll try,” you allow yourself the opportunity to attempt something without judgement or expectation. If you consider that you haven’t done something before, but you may be able to do whatever it is better than you thought, or increase your ability with a bit of practice, you may just surprise yourself when you see what you can do.
Appreciate Your Body:
Realize how far your body has brought you, and how much farther you would like it to take you. Your answer may require a review and change of your current habits. (But realize it will be a change for the better, not a negative change that will cause stress.)
Understand that you may need to learn new things. You learn both from what you are taught and from what you live. I needed to learn a new way to cook and a new way to think about food, and I even learned to listen to my body for signs of what it needed or what I was doing that it didn’t like.
Find three things you’re grateful for each day. Some people think this is silly, but you will be amazed at how your outlook will change when you do this consistently.
Once you set aside the excuses and truly start to focus on yourself from a loving and positive place, you’ll start to notice positive changes happening. From a health perspective, you’ll be less stressed, have better sleep, be more nourished and if you’re getting some exercise in, you’ll notice your body feels and moves better. If you put all of this together with some healthy eating practices, it will be easier than ever to reach your goals.
If you’re not sure how you can do this on your own, that’s where someone like me, a coach, can help you learn how to eat well, even with your busy lifestyle. You’ll learn how to understand what your body needs to function optimally, and how to put yourself first. You could have me in your corner every step of the way to listen and guide you at your own pace, to help you over any stumbling blocks, and to celebrate your achievements.