I’m finally at a point in my life where, for the first time in a long time, I don’t totally hate the way I look. Yes, I’ve put on some weight over the summer, but I don’t glance in the mirror and completely despise what I see. Having said that, I do want to change the way I look, for both fitness and vanity reasons (I can’t tell a lie). But the question is, can I still love myself whilst having these thoughts?
If we rewound to not that long ago, my answer would’ve been a firm and resounding ‘no’. I was mentally very unwell, and that was having a large impact on my physical health, too. By trying to change myself too quickly, I was in the midst of a vicious cycle: I’d hate the way I looked, so I would punish myself with poor eating habits and gruelling exercise, only to be frustrated when my body gave up on me. I won’t delve into the ins and outs of the situation because I stuck it all down here and here, and nobody wants to be bored with the same old sob story. Let’s just say that it was a pretty horrible time of my life, and something that’s taken me a bloody long time to get over (and even then, I still have slip ups).
However. Lately, it’s like someone’s flicked a switch in me and I’m slowly seeing that I can have the best of both worlds: I can want to change the way I look, but I don’t have to beat myself up about my appearance on the way to my goals. To be frank, I think my body is marvellous: it’s bounced back and forgiven me for mistreating it, even when I make it go for a run the morning after I’ve had a night on the gin. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been (something that I proved to the removal men when I helped carry the millions of boxes we seemed to have during our house move); and my body doesn’t give up when I don’t exercise for a while- in fact, it instead relishes in the notion that I’ve finally got off my arse, and pushes me to try harder and go even further.
So yeah, maybe my diet and exercise routine hasn’t been strictly on point at the moment (sunny weather is made for cider and beer gardens), but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed, and it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’m currently trying to watch what I eat, but I’m not restricting myself to the point of being miserable, feeling like I can never leave my house because of all the ‘bad’ foods that’re lurking out there, ready to stick 10lbs on me if I don’t see them coming. I’m enjoying my life with the people I love, and that’s okay.
Although I’ve digressed slightly, I just wanted to write this because I think that self-love is extremely important, and is something that I’m trying really hard to work on. I’m not very good at taking compliments, but I’m having a go at being more gracious in accepting them: if other people can say nice things about me, then why can’t I agree instead of shrugging them off and getting embarrassed? When I talk about self-love, I don’t mean that you should walk around with your head up your arse, but I do think that we don’t give ourselves enough credit/a break every once in a while.
Yes, I can love myself and still want to change, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Thanks for reading,