As a human being, you have immense value. Just existing. There's nothing needed to qualify. You're just as valuable when you're up 10 lbs, just rolled out of bed, or having an off day. Nothing you can do can take away from your innate value.
This is why when we talk about our wellness and fitness, it's important we don't mistakenly place our personal value in results and numbers. It's important that the focus is on the value we can add to our life and having that life we most want to live through our choices; enjoying less stress, more freedom, fewer mood swings, less obsessing, less indigestion, being strong, nailing that backbend, finishing that race, throwing on anything in your closet, chasing your kids - the things that really matter to us; Things you only recognize when you turn off the many other voices and messages and tune in to who you are, what you need, and what you want.
How we look can absolutely be a part of those things that matter most to us in a healthy way. We can't pretend our physical form isn't a large part of what we present to the world and plays a role in important physical relationships. But it's crucial that we look at the whole picture of our life first. Our life should not revolve around serving our physical form. So we have to make the distinction. Our life should serve the whole body so that our body serves a full, beautiful life.
It's vital that we separate being fit/well from looking fit/skinny. We want to be. We want to actually be the mindful, fit, connected person that also enjoys all the benefits of being. Being (wherever you happen to be on the scale) as you strive to care, nurture, and challenge yourself whilst living a full life is honest. Looking skinny but being depleted physically, emotionally, or mentally is a lie.
We lie to ourselves to both comfort ourselves or to punish ourselves. Neither of which serve us in the long run. We can refuse to see the truth (totally disconnect from our body) or play games that twist the truth. We do these in a hundred ways, big and small. Whether it's food we know makes us feel terrible or what we see when we look in the mirror. It's usually easier to lie to ourselves about the little things that accumulate to a way of life.
Often when we hear about innate value, it's coupled with an argument for your body being perfect just how it is. This argument is the perfect example of twisting the truth. You absolutely can be beautiful at any size or shape and have immense value as a human regardless. But none of those things indicate health, fitness, or a mindful, connect being. In the effort to resist traditional physical standards, the argument totally misses the mark and plays right into the lie of appearance being the gauge of health/fitness by never addressing actual health/fitness.
On the flip side, we are bombarded with ads and products telling us how to "get in shape", burn, and tone. And what's their biggest selling tactic? Before and after photos. You see side by side what someone looked like before and after, reinforcing appearance-based fitness and the idea of less value before and more value after. Have you noticed how they always look so sad before, and happy after? And what does it tell us? “I will be worthy of feeling fantastic after I lose ten pounds”. “I deserve to feel carefree after I fit into that new dress”. It reinforces the idea of holding out on our own happiness until we’ve achieved an arbitrary standard. And again, none of these things indicate health, fitness, or a mindful, connected being.
let’s get honest.
Our inner voice becomes the only one that matters.
Thoughts that make us feel really good, that aren't true don't serve us. And thoughts that make us feel really terrible that aren't true don't serve us. Have you ever thought something really terrible about yourself because you thought you deserved it? Have you ever turned something around to reassign blame in order to avoid facing something you didn’t want to deal with?
Honest thoughts, whether they sting or make us feel like a million dollars, are what bring more consciousness and provide opportunities for growth. Only honesty can take us to the life and body we truly desire. The lies keep us from it. I’ve worked very closely with many women in the studio for a decade and a half, many of whom were always trying a new way to “trick” themself into being skinny. Essentially what happens when we do that is we turn off and confuse our natural mind-body connection. Tricks are counterproductive and shut down our innate awareness.
Being aware means being honest; Honest when we've made a mistake, when it's our responsibility, when we've failed but done our best, and honest when we've succeeded. Honest about cause and reaction. Honest about the choices we make and the consequences.
WHAT ARE WE GETTING HONEST ABOUT?
1 | Get honest about what your goals actually are.
EXAMPLE | Maybe you don’t really care about being a size 2, maybe you do really care about nailing your handstand in yoga and having more toned arms. Now you can focus your energy where it counts.
2 | Get honest about how your choices align with your goals.
EXAMPLE | You love staying up late - but your mood, skin, energy, and food choices are always off when you do. If you are honest with yourself, you know your choice to stay up late affects literally all your wellness goals. So does the goal need adjusting or the plan of action? How can you get more sleep and commit to something sustainable? What would need to change for you to value your sleep more? Now you can find a way to make your life and body work together. Can you rework your evening routine to make bedtime easier? Can you start with just 15 minutes earlier and take a 15 minute nap?
3 | Get honest about how your thoughts affect your choices.
EXAMPLE | You have a habit of needing a treat after every meal. You know it’s probably the main thing from keeping you from feeling like you want to. As you get honest about your thoughts, you realize how attached you are to this habit. Emotionally it feels difficult to change. As you explore it, you realize you feel incapable of living without regular treats throughout the day. Your response is “I can’t”. You eventually recognize that it stems from a lack of confidence in yourself and feeling incapable after a history of failed diets. Being honest about this allows you to change both your approach and your self-talk to something that nurtures your mind-body relationship and changes your habits over time. Now you can get to the root of the thing that was holding you back.