Love is a word that can be extremely sacred, or can be thrown in a hamper like gym socks. The word,LOVE, is a game changer. Love, to some people, can be: God, an exotic trip; diamonds; family and/or friends. Love can be an addictive habit. Love can be a career. Love can be selflessness. Love can be selfish. It can feed the masses. Love can lie. Love can be truth. To me, love is peace of mind. It is the peace of mind that I can be patient with myself, as well as others. To Love is to smile. To Love is to appreciate. Love is to guide, and to listen. Love is God. Love is bravery.
So, if it is all of these things, how come many of us struggle with loving ourselves? I do not mean being egotistical and self-righteous. I mean truly being at peace with oneself.
I have no patience with myself. I, at times, feel a HUGE void between how others perceive me, and how I perceive myself. I wish I could, for one moment, see how beautiful I am through my fiancés eyes, or my mom’s. I wish that I could see the strength that so many people see in me. With all that being said, I realized that this week I am not the only one that feels this way.
I grew up on every diet under the book. I have been on: Jenny Craig; Weight Watchers; Nutri System; Fresh Diet. I have been on diets people have probably never heard of. I did that shady Master Cleanse Beyonce diet with the Lemonade and Paprika or whatever. I did a Bible Diet, that entailed praying when feeling hungry. I have done a beet diet- where you eat beets for three days out of the week. The diet I lost the most weight on was LA Weight Loss. I lost 40 pounds and quickly gained 100 pounds back upon the loss of my father.
All of these “quick fixes” have occurred between the ages of 10-24. The common theme with all of the diets- I always felt stressed out. Most young women and men begin dieting at this age, because of a myriad of reasons. They want to fit in. Their “idols” are fit. They struggle with self esteem. I was always a “pretty” girl to my family, but I did hear A LOT: “She will be so much more beautiful, if she lost a couple pounds.” How many people have heard a phrase like this before?
Now I am not defaming any of these diets, because I have seen them work for close colleagues, friends and family. For me dieting stresses me out. Point, Blank, Period. Between counting, weighing, grilling, scheduling and whatever other (ing) you can add- I cannot diet anymore. I can only be patient with myself and learn to love myself. Love, I am learning, is healthy. It is taking care of you. It is not a quick fix. Love is the journey together. Like a marriage, Love’s journey WILL NOT happen overnight and it can be terrifying. To truly be 100 percent okay with the way I look is scary to me.
I interviewed an incredible human being this week. She is currently training for a triathlon in the next couple of months. She is the mother of three beautiful children and probably one of the most beautiful women I have encountered. She is disciplined, focused and extremely talented. But like many of us, her perception of self is altered. She sees herself as being “big.” With this being said, as a culture, how can we stop seeing ourselves through rose-colored lenses? How can we begin to appreciate OUR beauty for what it is?
There are times I can’t even look at myself undressed, because I begin to laugh at all of my imperfections. I laugh, because I am embarrassed with how big my belly is and how many “chichos” I have on my back. Chichos, by the way, is a term to describe back rolls. Pronounced “CHEECH-O.” I constantly look at my shady halfway double chin and try to pull it back to see how I would like with a “skinny” face.
I challenge you, as well as myself, all this week to undress in the mirror. Terrifying, I know. But, “fear should be written in pencil”- to quote my pastor. Let the fear, and self hate go. Be healthy. Scars are moisturized by love and can only heal that way. Undress not only the outer layer of clothing, but discover how gorgeous YOU are. It is time to re-invent the word LOVE. Love yourself fully and unequivocally. Make a list of all of your “imperfections” and force yourself to find them positively perfect. God did not make you by accident; you are a creation that was crafted with precision and care. Remember that- I know I will.
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