Does self-love mean we cannot want change?Nov 13, 2019
Does self-love mean we cannot want change? Some of what we see on-line can make it seem as if self-love and body acceptance are destinations.
You don’t suddenly wake up one day and you’ve made it. You’ve not reached the sweet spot of never having a negative thought about your body again.
It would be great if it was that way but unfortunately, it’s not.
Self-love is a Practice
It’s a practice and an awareness and most of the time I would suggest you actually feel fairly neutral about your body or don’t really think about it.
I like to use the analogy of learning to play an instrument – you learn to play through practice. You don’t get to a level and stop practicing if you want to improve – or even if you want to maintain being able to play at the same level.
self-love takes practice too
I got to grade 8 on the cello – I didn’t get there without practice – even if at times reluctantly🤣. I also know that if I played again now – it’s been gathering dust for around 25 years – I would be nowhere near that standard and able to play the pieces I did back then. I also know if I committed to practicing regularly again, I could get back there.
I can honestly say I have reached a place of acceptance, and any changes I may strive for are from a position of self-love and care.
I went from a place of feeling guilt and shame about my size and what I ate, to a place of accepting myself but also feeling guilty because I still wanted to see some changes.😕😕
Different Priorities at Different Times
This year has been a real mix – in some ways it has been great & exciting and there have been some amazing opportunities and experiences. But in other ways there have been some stressful times, and these have resulted in some weight gain. This hasn’t affected my view of me, changed my involvement in life but I recently decided I wanted to make me, my training, my nutrition a real priority for the latter section of this year.
This is purely for me. I want to feel fitter, have more energy & yes feel more comfortable in my clothes. It’s from a place of love and care for me that my future self will thank me for.
People might say you can’t truly love yourself if you’re wanting to change but I disagree. Loving yourself to me also means striving to be the best I can be – it’s looking after myself holistically – mentally, physically, emotionally.
If this change is not coming from a place of self-loathing, seeking others approval, based on what others think you should do or a refusal to accept your body as it is now, I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to seek change.
Different areas of our lives are our priority at different times
The first half of this year my focus was on family for a variety of reasons & then preparing myself for the transition of moving from a household of 5 (plus entourage) down to a household of 3 (some perks e.g. the washing basket 🧺but it’s so much quieter which has taken some getting used to). And now I have more space and time to focus on me, what I truly want, how I want to feel.
Focus on the Feeling
By focussing on how you want to feel rather than what you must do to make change is a positive step to take. If I already felt as I want to feel, how would I be living on a daily basis? Start living like that and the feelings will be a natural by-product.
It’s refocusing and listening to what my body needs not always in that instant but later too – I know I can eat cake every day if I want to but how will that make me feel in the long term. It won’t make me feel physically great. You get to choose, and whatever you choose is fine – you need to own your choice and for it to be a conscious choice. So, I may choose not to have cake every day, but I may choose for example, to have it at a birthday party, or if my kids have made it or just because I fancy a slice 🍰. But it’s a choice.
I would say, I do believe you need to reach a place of true self-acceptance first – acceptance for where you are, an appreciation for the body you have, a love for who you are. As Mel Wells says, “in order to have the body I love, I need to love the body I have.” I would suggest the acceptance is necessary in order to avoid slipping back into patterns of restriction – we want to stop that yo-yo or pendulum swinging. We want to reach a place where we are relaxed and at peace around food. A place where we are making conscious choices that work for us.
Approaching food from a mindset of abundance i.e. there’s plenty to go around and its not restricted, is an important shift. Just because I don’t eat the cake this time, doesn’t mean I can’t next time. This removes some pressure and enables us to focus on whether we really want to eat it now. How will it make you feel – physically? Am I actually hungry? Do I just want to eat it for enjoyments sake (fine)? It’s all increasing our awareness/intuition and connection to our bodies.
You can be in a place of self-love and still want change
You can be in a place of appreciating, accepting and loving your body while still wanting to change things in your life. Looking after your body is an act of self-love in itself. To look after yourself is wanting to feel the best you can be – only you know what makes you feel good. By listening and paying attention you can learn how to eat, how to move for you.
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