Your love, support, kind words, and validation about yesterday’s post have blown me away.
As I took a few moments to scroll through some of your comments after my yoga class this morning, I was overcome with emotions.
That’s all I’ve ever wanted to feel.
Accepted. Enough. Worthy. Loved. Supported.
I’ve been so touched that I’ve been brought to tears several times today.
Tears that warm my face and my heart.
Tears that give me permission to let go of what has happened and look forward to what is to come.
Tears that remind me how every single step of my journey has been necessary to get me to this place.
As I wrote in my previous post, it was difficult for me to reconcile that the picture of health I saw when I looked in the mirror and the picture that validated my career and identity for several years was not a picture of health at all.
But I now know that I had to go through that journey to get to where I am today, to have this perspective.
Listening to my body and sharing my story is one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.
When we care enough about ourselves to look beyond who our careers want us to be, who our families need us to be, or who society expects to see when we put ourselves out into the world, that’s when we’re being real and when self-discovery begins.
As I’ve heeded my body’s wisdom over the past two years to regulate certain systems that weren’t working, I’ve also moved my body less than ever before, as the nature of my job requires me to spend more time traveling and sitting.
Although some of my weight gain has been due to moving less, I’m not going to “punish” my body for losing its physical strength and tone.
I could choose to feel how I’ve felt in the past:
But I’m not.
I can’t. Not anymore.
Not after all my body has done for me and what is has been for me.
Does this mean I’m “settling” with where I am and how my body is right now?
Have I “given up” or stopped “trying”?
Not even close.
I’m just giving up fighting myself and my body.
I’m committing to moving in ways that bring me joy and make me feel good – NIA, yoga, Zumba, walking, hiking, barre, and group exercise classes with fun instructors who inspire me.
If I want to go for a run, try spinning again, or move in any other way, I’ll be doing it because I WANT to, not because I’m punishing myself or because I HAVE to.
But I haven’t given up.
It hasn’t been a perfect year in this body.
But it didn’t have to be.
Through my imperfections, I’ve learned to be grateful for all my body HAS done for me.
This is the body that has brought me through the most transformational and exciting year of my career. I feel more purposeful and intentional than I’ve ever felt in the work that I do. I know I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing.
I’ve felt radiant, alive, and inspired.
I’ve received national recognition for my work and reached more people in the past year than ever before.
I’ve traveled to dozens of companies to speak to leadership teams, human resources professionals, and employee groups about what it means to be well.
I’ve stretched myself by teaching group cooking classes for the first time ever.
I’ve spoken at a women’s retreat.
I’ve even been invited to speak at a national conference in April.
And I’ve started writing my first book.
In those moments when I lose sight of how far I’ve come and creep back to my old ways of thinking about my body, I remind myself again of my nutritionist’s wisdom:
Your body is doing its best for you. It always has.
Yours is, too.
As we enter 2016, can we promise to be kinder, gentler and more compassionate with ourselves and each other and with our bodies?
Can we stop fighting with ourselves and shaming our bodies and start listening to our body’s inherent wisdom and giving it what it needs?
Can we begin to value our overall health, well-being, energy, and vitality rather than define our success solely by the number on the scale?
Can we pledge to move in ways that make us feel alive, playful and strong and move away from what feels like punishment?
Can we honor our bodies enough to nourish and heal them with whole, real, from-the-earth food rather than numbing our feelings with pseudo-food?
Can we make a conscious effort to authentically connect with other people in real life, not just through texts, emails and social media?
Can we focus less on what we don’t have and more on how we can give to other people and bring goodness and kindness into the world?
Can we create space for other people to be vulnerable and safe to share their struggles and their stories?
In her book, Stones of Remembrance, Lois Evans captures the significance of sharing our stories:
“Remembering our own stories helps us; and when we tell our stories, others know they are not alone […] Our stories give others permission to be imperfect, permission to struggle, permission to question their own unknown futures.”
I don’t know what your story is or what you’re struggling with right now, but I know all of us have fears around telling our story, about letting the TRUTH about ourselves be known.
I’m giving you permission to do it.
To tell your story.
To remind you that you’re not alone.
To encourage you that you don’t have to be perfect.
Brene Brown, whose book, The Gift of Imperfection, resonated with my heart earlier this week, inspired me to close out the year with these words:
Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.
Here’s to 2016.
Here’s to being Kind
Here’s to owning our story and loving ourselves.