Finding the balance between self-acceptance and lifestyle change
Learn to Celebrate Who You Are Today & Look Forward to an Even Better You Tomorrow
Life is all about balance. It’s about learning when to stop fruitlessly chasing the eternal carrot, without giving up on the hopes and dreams you have for your life. It’s about knowing how to love yourself, even when you’re working to improve. It’s about knowing that today, this very minute, you are more than enough, even as you work for a tomorrow in which you are even better.
Read on to learn the best strategies for celebrating your present self, even as you cultivate your best future self!
Starting at the Core
It’s not only okay to want to improve yourself… it’s great! After all, what’s the point of being alive if we’re not going to strive to make every day just a little bit better than the day before? But striving for a better you does not, should not, and indeed must not include rejecting who you are today.
Far too many women, especially young women, have been taught from their earliest childhood that they’re simply not enough: that they’re not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not hot enough to compete with other girls or to warrant the attention, admiration, or respect of others.
So the first step in improving yourself for tomorrow is learning to love yourself today. For most of us, that begins with learning to love and accept our bodies. It means learning to recognize and celebrate all that is beautiful about you, including the supposed “flaws,” all the dimples, ripples, rolls, and splotches that make you gloriously, gorgeously, and irreplaceably you.
A great place to start is to replace all the negative self-talk — from your own critical inner dialogue to the self-deprecating comments you make to friends and family — with positive, self-loving and self-celebrating affirmations of the delicious strength of your body, the unique beauty of your face.
Break Out of the Mold
One of the biggest obstacles to self-acceptance is the simple fact that we just don’t have enough diversity in the media. For all the rhetoric celebrating inclusiveness and condemning “fat-shaming” in recent years, the fact is that images of women in the media still don’t match what real women in America look like.
Learning to love and accept yourself starts with learning to love and accept your body so, as unacceptably difficult as they may be to find, keep a careful watch for films, television series, and print and online publications featuring women who truly do represent the reality of women today. Surround yourself with images that are familiar and inspiring.
Support media that produces content that represents, speaks to and uplifts women of all body shapes and sizes, of all skin tones and hair textures, of all gender identities, all body types, and all bodily abilities.
Find Your People
Whether you are a student still constructing your image of a dream career or an established professional charting your path toward your future, engagement is key to self-acceptance. Students, especially, can benefit from the support of peer learning communities, those in which you can find support, encouragement, and acceptance from people who are at a similar life stage and on a similar life path, people who are facing the same challenges, obstacles, uncertainties — and opportunities — as you are.
Surrounding yourself with friends and colleagues who are similar to you can give you a wonderful pool of support and validation from which to draw and provides you with the same chance to offer that support in return.
Seeing yourself through their eyes, and watching them grapple with the same challenges you are facing, gives you the opportunity to see yourself more objectively, to see in yourself what others see in you—a powerful, extraordinary, and beautiful woman whose presence makes the world a better place!
Figure Out What You Want— And Go After It!
Learning to celebrate yourself as you are doesn’t mean you have to be complacent about your life. You can still love yourself and want to make yourself, and your life, even better. The key is to begin from a place of self-love and self-care and to pursue change, not as some desperate attempt to make yourself feel okay or worthy because you already are.
However, if you pursue change as a gift to yourself, as a kind of self-care, then the end result won’t be a band-aid applied to a broken spirit but a megaphone proclaiming that you are worthy, that you deserve to live the life you want.
But it’s important to go about it the right way. If you dream of getting fit and healthy, then you have to be careful not to fall prey to the fantasy of quick fixes, magic pills, and fad diets Loving yourself means nourishing yourself. And that means prioritizing your health over your jeans’ size.
Learning to love yourself isn’t easy. It takes time and it takes effort. However, attaining true self-love and self-acceptance doesn’t mean you have to settle for a life that really doesn’t make you happy.
You can learn to be kind and appreciative of your body and still strive for greater health and fitness. You can still celebrate who you are today and look forward to an even better you tomorrow.