An Insight on LOVING YOURSELF – February 1, 2017
An a little insight on loving yourself and the battle I fight with self-talk.
I was not anticipating writing about love. I didn’t plan on getting hippy dippy lovey dovey on you so quickly! After all, personal trainers don’t talk about love and gushy stuff. They scream about pushing yourself to the edge for another rep and to die trying! But it is February, the love month (is that a real thing..a love month)? So what better time than now to talk about the importance of loving yourself and how practicing self love can help you in your fitness and health journey. We will get back to fitness, burpees, and flexing next month!
Why ‘LOVE’ is my 2017 word.
Four years ago, my sister introduced me to the concept “My One Word” for the year, based on a book written by her local pastor. (http://myoneword.org/pick-your-word/). I didn’t read the book, but I loved the concept. You pick one word and let it be a guide and reminder for you throughout that entire year. Over the past years, my words have been “content,” “surrender,” “simplify,” and “take a step.” I know, I know, “take a step” is not one word! But what can I say, I’m a rebel!
When the end of 2016 rolled around, I began to think about what my 2017 word would be. The year 2016 was one of the best of my life as far as personal growth, happiness and growing my business. It was also one of the hardest years for me in terms of having to learn, practice and implement self-love talk on a daily basis to keep moving forward in my business and not giving up. When you’re an entrepreneur, you need to have confidence and drive to keep moving forward when things suck. You must have a force that is pushing your drive.
Years ago, when something would go wrong or I made a big mistake, it would take me weeks to recover and build myself back up to continue going. I would be locked in a negative loop telling myself how much I had failed and would question myself. But a game changer happened to me in 2016. I got to the point where I would barely skip a beat when I messed up or failed or when something didn’t work. With time, consistency and focusing on what I was trying to achieve in my growth, my turn around time to pick myself up got shorter and shorter. It takes practice and patience to change patterns. When things got rough, I became aware of my self-sabotaging behaviors and selfdoubt. I talked myself through them every time, being gentle and understanding.
I began to see myself as human and as a friend I enjoyed being with on a daily basis. I spent more time focused on my talents and gifts instead of harping on what I didn’t do well. I began to love everything about Anna, good and bad. In time, I fell in love with myself. I fell in love with others. I practiced love and I became love. So I decided my 2017 word would be love. In 2017, I would choose not to be afraid to love, to allow myself to express love, to replace my walls with new opportunities to love, and to be a woman who embraces love.
I am letting my guard down and becoming more loving towards others. This has helped my business and workouts. I want to be more empathetic and listen to others. People with worthier qualities are showing up in my life. My life view from the perspective of love became far better scenery than a view of disappointment or shame. When we tell ourselves hurtful lies like we are unlovable or unworthy or we’ll never be fit and healthy, it keeps the walls up and sinks us deeper into disconnection. Loving ourselves makes us more loving and understanding towards others. I still let myself feel the emotions I am feeling at the time so that emotions aren’t suppressed. Feeling your emotions is healthy. It’s what you do with them next that matters.
Then, shortly after I express the emotion, I present the facts of the situation to myself. Previously, the majority of the time I had exacerbated the situation, painting a picture that was far worse than it really was. Sound familiar? It’s common to do this in our heads, because it helps us justify the emotion we are having.
Have any of these self-sabotaging sentences run rampant in your head, turning into a vicious loop?
“Well of course I’m pissed! I have every right to be! This ALWAYS happens to me!”
“Of course I didn’t lose a pound, I always come up short!”
“I skipped the gym again,…I NEVER follow through with anything, I’m such a quitter.”
“I knew I wouldn’t get the promotion at work because EVERYONE always overlooks me. Everyone is better than me.”
“I didn’t hit my goal weight this week! I even gained weight! Of course I’m going to be sad because look how much my life sucks!”
Being self aware and learning to stop the negative loop before it starts, will make a tremendous improvement in your confidence and in obtaining your health goals. Statements like these are how negative loops are born. By learning to embrace the parts of ourselves we don’t like, just as much as we embrace the parts we love, we are able to speak gently to ourselves with love and compassion instead of verbally abusing ourselves internally. Beating yourself up on a daily basis in your head, hammering in on all the things you do wrong in life and that you can do better, takes you absolutely nowhere except down a dark hole of shame where love does not live.
Why I talk to myself so much.
Our thoughts dictate how we live our lives, how we carry ourselves and how we make our everyday choices.
Are you someone that people reach out to when they need someone to talk to and help them feel better?When friends call you up and say how they have failed at their New Year’s resolution to eat nutritious food, and how they regret eating drive-thru fast food that night, or they tell you how they royally screwed things up with their significant other, do you belittle them? Do you tell them what an idiot they are for their mistakes? Do you tell them, “There you go again. You’re ALWAYS making awful decisions and messing up. You can NEVER stick to anything! You really suck as a person. You’re going to be a loser forever. No one is ever going to love you!”
No! Never! Why not? Because they are your friends and you love them. You feel compassion for them because you know they are human and make mistakes. You know the core of who they are. You have witnessed their amazing qualities over the years and see all the greatness they bring to the table. But most importantly, you know they don’t ALWAYS screw up (unless they really do! That’s a whole other story and blog post).
No instead, you talk to your friends and you bring them light in the midst of their darkness and remind them of all their strengths and accomplishments. You tell them that they can start eating healthy again and not to give up. You tell them you will come up with a plan together to make sure you don’t miss another workout. You let them know that what they did was wrong, but that they can learn from it and grow, so they don’t make the same mistake again. If this is how you treat your friends,then this is the way you need to treat the most important person in your life, YOU!
The next time you find yourself in a negative rant in your head about how incompetent you are, how fat you are, how ugly you are, how you’re doomed to make bad eating decisions forever, that you’ll never make it back in the gym or that you fail at everything you do, take a deep breath and step back. Ask yourself how you would talk to your best friend if he or she was going through what you are going through. Come at yourself from a place of love. It’s amazing how in that one moment, we can stop a negative loop in it’s tracks and begin to feel compassion and empathy for ourselves (and others). And sometimes we are able to give ourselves some good ‘ol tough love! We can look at ourselves in a different light, understanding that we to, are human and can’t be perfect. Because no one is.
We all have a battle, an insecurity, or something we aren’t proud of. How are you going to address your battle? You have a choice to let the negative win and take over or to work with it, working towards change. Are you practicing love so it can grow?
In Brene’ Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” she shares her definition of love, developed based on the data and research she did on vulnerability. Here it is:
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
When you look at her definition of love and interpret it from the eyes of your relationship with yourself, you can see how important it is to love yourself. If you are coming from years of not loving yourself, you will need to heal that relationship with yourself. You can then begin falling in love with your qualities and who you are. And we all know falling in love does not happen overnight! It will take time. You will revert to old patterns, but you will begin to recognize them. This helps you be self-aware and get back on the path you want and try again.
You will have to be kind and respectful to yourself to connect within, seeing you for who you really are, in order to love who you are. No more pretending or trying to fit into a mold you think you SHOULD fit into. You have to be real with yourself and usually that’s really hard because a lot of times we don’t even know who we are anymore. We have been wearing the same mask or personality for so long that it has become ingrained into our being. If we have been negative and disrespecting to ourselves in the past, we have damaged the root of our self-love and it stopped growing.
In order to start loving myself again, I acknowledged my self-sabotaging behaviors and gave myself time to heal. Most importantly, I forgave myself for all the behaviors I developed that held me back for so long. I stopped living in my past and using a victim mentality to justify why I couldn’t think big or be big! I stepped out of the shadows I believed I had to stand in. I let myself shine! And that’s when shit got real! That’s when I began to live and feel alive!
Don’t ever be afraid to have a voice, an opinion. You are allowed to have your own thoughts, beliefs and values. Do not be afraid to break out of that box that you put yourself in. Take a small step to break through one thought that is holding you back from the life you want and the healthy body you desire.
Write one quality you love about yourself or one part of your body you actually like and put that note on your bathroom mirror. Start there. Concentrate on that one thought and watch it grow. Let it grow and have a mind of its own!
When we know we are loved, it becomes easier to be real and let people see us. Although this is true in romantic relationships, think about it in terms of the relationship you have with yourself. When you know you love yourself for you, embracing your strengths and flaws inside and out, the world gets to see that uniqueness and genuine self.
It’s refreshing and inspiring when you know someone is unapologetic for being their true self, setting themselves free and being vulnerable. This isn’t weakness, it’s courage. It doesn’t lower the bar on humanity. It makes us human again. It helps us connect and grow the human race without falling suit to being zombies. It’s terrifying to know we can become robots bored with life, going through the motions, waiting for something to happen. YOU have to ignite that fire you have to live! Otherwise, we risk never feeling the wind against our cheek, never seeing our light shine that we have inside, never feeling empowered, or never experiencing love and connection.
In Seth Godin’s book, “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?” he states, “Without kryptonite, Superman doesn’t matter, as he is without weakness, invulnerable and boring.”
DON’T BE BORING.
By removing our masks, we can connect within ourselves, opening the door to connect and be real with others. We can then respect or accept each other’s individualities, views, personalities, and choices. This unites us as human beings instead of having a they mentality. The minute we use the word they, we separate ourselves. We have to have an open heart and an open mind. And we get there first by loving ourselves.
Take a step to support each other in connecting and let shit get real! You’ll be glad you did.
How do you think practicing self-love can help you with a particular obstacle in your health and fitness goals? Do you feel self-love is too hippy-dippy for you? I want to know your thoughts!
“Vulnerability is not weakness but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection.”
– Brene Brown