Loving our bodies, loving ourselves!

Ahem.

via SIZZLE

Last week I wrote this blog post and shared it on my page with an attention-grabbing/obnoxious preface. My intention was to bring attention to the post and to the point I was trying to make.

I admit that I did it for selfish reasons.

That morning, I was getting ready to bring my girlfriend to work, and to get myself to a local entrepreneurs’ meeting and networking event. I was excited to wear a new suit – flattering pants, a blouse I’ve always felt comfortable wearing, and my SUPER awesome black duster jacket. However, when I got out of the shower, the top and the pants were snug. At first I blamed my clothes for shrinking, but then objectivity kicked in and I realized that my clothes didn’t shrink. I grew.

This isn’t shocking. I put on “happy weight”, something that is totally normal for couples. My girlfriend and I have been enjoying each other’s company with good food, dates, companionship, and ice cream. We’ve both been over 100 pounds overweight in the past, and we’ve both lost over 100 pounds. The up-and-down isn’t new to either of us.

I wrote the beginning of that post because I was disappointed that I can’t both eat A LOT of whatever I want AND stay a size 8. Even though I know this, I was indirectly asking for someone to please remind me of that. I was also frustrated with experiencing sadness and the inability to control people, situations, and things. Someone I had sponsored is struggling in their life and their recovery. They are still with the same significant other that introduced them to crack. I wish I could stop it. Another person can’t stop drinking. They’re losing EVERYTHING. I’m watching friends suffer in abusive and toxic relationships. I wish I could rescue them all.

It’s maddening that I can’t do anything directly to stop these things from happening. I can’t save them.

I can only save myself, and be a beacon of light, strength and hope for those suffering.

That post had a good intention – to empower ourselves and the people in our lives to speak up when we’re fucking up. I stand by the quote from the post:
A good friend is kind
A great friend is honest.
An amazing friend loves us enough to be intolerant to our bullshit.

In 2012, I embarked on a lifestyle transition and set an intention to lose 100 pounds. Two and a half years after the project began, I did it. When I did that, I documented the journey, wrote my book and launched my podcast. I truly thought I wanted to help people get healthy and fit.

Over time, I learned that there’s something deeper and profoundly important. It’s the foundation of my health, my recovery, my relationships, my businesses, and my platform.

ACCEPTANCE. 

Self-acceptance is something that I speak, teach, coach and write about, because it’s something that I strive for on a DAILY basis. I have the humility today to admit that.

We typically don’t become experts at the things that we are innately good at. We become experts because we’re lifelong students. We teach something spectacularly because we had to learn and implement the lessons we’ve learned. We’ve put in the work.

Acceptance isn’t something that comes easily and naturally for most people. Some folks believe that they’ll get there if they “fake it ’til (they) make it”. I’m not going to bash that, because if it works for them, then they should DO IT. I love the idea of “acting as if”. Another way to phrase this is to “show up BIG.” To me, this means that I  inherently know that I am a bad ass and can do anything I put my mind to. I know I’m a spiritually fit, loving, wealthy, kind, generous, healthy, strong, brilliant and beautiful woman. I know this, so despite how I feel, I still show up as my best, most confident, fully amazing self.

We don’t need to be slender in order to be beautiful. We don’t need to be rich to know that we have value. We don’t need a partner to know that we are worthy of love.

When we accept ourselves, we see that we are beautiful, valuable, and lovable. When we see that in ourselves, we project it. That draws MORE things into our lives that remind us that we are amazing.

Let’s stop letting diet ads tell us that we need their products to feel beautiful. Let’s stop doubting our ability to make more money, even if we’re in debt, struggling, and feeling afraid. We KNOW we have value. Let’s CLAIM our fortune! If we’re in a toxic relationship, let’s drop that abusive jerk and get the hell out of there. If we’re struggling with substances and/or our recovery, let’s love ourselves and get HELP.

Let’s stop letting other things determine our worthiness. When we are content and fulfilled, we don’t need validation, quick-fixes, or another person’s approval. We learn this truth – everything we need is already within us, and anything we want is within our grasp because we’re capable of earning it.

And if you need a boost, then hold this in your heart and mindT – I believe in you, because we’re all made of the same stuff. I believe in you because I believe in myself, and we’re the same. And I love you, dear one ♥

Shine on, rock star! You’re stellar 🙂
– Karen

(P.S. here are some resources that are super useful for anyone struggling with body image, self acceptance, and working on embracing body positivity:

Losing weight is not your life’s purpose, a wonderful article on Huffington Post
Dances With Fat , Ragen Chastain’s blog about fitness, body positivity, and Health At Every Size
Body Positive Yoga, an Body Image Specialist’s Instagram account
This Hamplanet T-shirt, designed by an artist to empower athletes of every size to combat a fat-shaming blog

I will work on keeping this list updated with more resources as I come across them ♥ – K)

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