Before & AfterRead Now
The other night I was surfing Instagram and noticed so many before and after pictures for people who have lost weight or overcome eating disorders. I thought to myself, how cool would it be if you could take a before and after picture of your mind? Don't get me wrong, celebrating your success over both of the above is amazing, but you cannot take a picture that shows what you have overcome inside yourself.
It would be pretty amazing if we could share a before and after of overcoming self-loathing and body hate. If we could show people what we looked like internally before and after learning to love ourselves just how we are. If we could say look at how much I have changed internally.
If we could show the world that emotional and mental health are also important. That the before and after of learning to love yourself matters. Express that overcoming our own minds is also extremely important and totally worth celebrating. The problem is that so many people only believe that can be seen physically. That you have only succeeded at something positive if you can show the before and after on social media. If they can see that you lost or gained weight they say that is amazing, congratulations, you look beautiful. It would be just as wonderful if you could express those emotional and mental changes in an image.
It would be even more beautiful if people could look at what we have done inside ourselves. That we no longer wake up daily and say yuck I am disgusting and I hate myself. If people could see that we have this amazing love for ourselves, our life, and the world in general. That one day we decided we were enough. It would be extraordinary.
Event though we cannot portray these changes in an image, we can show this change is by sharing our voices and experience with others. That is why I started this blog. I wanted to be able to share my growth and success with self-love and body positivity. I want to help someone else realize how amazing and worth-it they are.
That their bodies are beautiful because they allow you to live, love and enjoy life. That the standard society has set for us is not the standard we are required to live with. The only standard we are required to meet is our own. The love we allow ourselves to give ourselves. That you are allowed to love your body no matter what someone else thinks about it. Yes, you can choose to make your body different or better if that is what you want, but you only have to do that because you want to do that not because someone else thinks that is what you should be doing.
I am not saying to be unhealthy, I am simply saying to love yourself exactly as you are and if you want to make a change, lose some weight, dye your hair pink, gain some weight, do nothing but be how you currently are. Do that. Do what you believe is best for you because in the end, you are the only person who knows what is best for you. Loving yourself does not mean that you never do anything to be better or different, it just means that you allow yourself to be happy regardless of what the world is saying.
I recently had a conversation with one of my really good friends. We were discussing not liking our bodies and the feelings that we carry around daily. As you all know, I have spent years feeling like this. I have also spent years working to change those feelings.
I decided to work on helping her realize that she is still beautiful and amazing regardless of how her body looks. That she is still worthy and deserving regardless of what society says. That you can be stick thin and be unhealthy. I say this because it has become a perfectly normal thing, in our society, for women to hate what they look like or believe the negative self-talk. Being healthy does not simply come from what we look like, it also comes from how we think and feel about ourselves.
Regardless of your pant size or your blood pressure, I want you all to look in the mirror and say to yourselves I AM FREAKING AMAZING! I also want you to believe those words. You are wonderful just the way you are. I am not saying you can never change yourself or work to be a better version of yourself. I am saying that you should love yourself at all of the stages of your life. Love yourself now, love yourself through the changes, love yourself when you meet your goal. There is zero reason to not love who we are at this exact moment.
I can honestly say that feeling bad about how I look never inspired me to look differently. The only thing it did was create a constant battle with myself and make me dread waking up in the morning, having to pick out clothes to wear, and it created an unhealthy relationship with food. Not in the sense that I ate all the time but more in the sense that I no longer cared about food at all. Learning to love myself has changed so many of these things for me.
Yes, it takes work to learn to love yourself exactly how you are. I have days where I don't like how I look, but when I go to bed at night I still love who I am. I spend less time worrying what other people think about how I look and more time enjoying my life. If I want fries, I eat fries. Life is about balance and some days that means I drink a whole bottle of wine and have fries. Some days that means I work out and have salad. It is all allowed. You dictate what your life is, no one else.
Finding a Place of PeaceRead Now
Things in our country and around the world have been a little stressful recently. Our social media feeds are filled up with all of the things that are happening. Friends and family members are fighting with each other. The negativity is overwhelming.
I believe in standing up for what you believe and having open conversation with one another about the problems in the world. I myself have shared many things that I am passionate about on social media. I am exhausted from the unbelievable anger that I am seeing daily. People saying women aren't real because they don't wear a military uniform, people fighting about the actions of #45, and people fighting for absolutely no reason other than to fight.
With all of this being said, I have been working really hard to balance the positive stuff I share on social media. I have been working to find a place of peace for myself. Creating a space where I do not constantly have the negative shoved down my throat and can breath and focus on something other than what is happening in our country. I am not saying to turn a blind eye or stop talking about what is happening. I am saying to make time in your day to focus on the good and appreciate what you have.
For me, sometimes that peace is sitting on my couch alone in the early morning hours with nothing but the silence. Other days it is soaking in a bubble bath for 30 minutes listening to meditation music. Each of us needs to find this place. We need those moments of positive peace so that we can keep working together. Find that peace so that we can speak with one another instead of fighting.
With everything that is happening just make sure you find that positive peace and keep putting that love into the world.
Erin is a Spiritual Life Coach and Reiki Master Teacher. She started this blog as a way to share her self-love and body acceptance journey. Over the past 5 years it has become her business, her passion, and her purpose. She has created coaching programs to help other women find their truth, love their bodies, and embody their power and purpose.