An Open Love Letter...
Reminder to self (and, maybe, you?):
Do you compare yourself to other people? Do you get frustrated with yourself, your body, or your mind for not being where you’re “supposed to be” … whatever that even means!
I know I do. No matter how many times I tell myself not to.
One of the HARDEST things to do when you first start exercising (and all along the way) is to convince and remind yourself to focus on you and not compare yourself to others.
And it goes both ways - sometimes I compare myself to people who appear more fit and healthy than me, and other times I compare myself to people who aren’t.
But, you know what? I don’t know them. I don’t know their story.
I don’t know what that person has been through, how long they’ve been working out or working on that pose or routine or whatever. I don’t know if they’ve always been healthy or if they lost a bunch of weight. I don’t know if they are recovering from an injury or addiction or… anything. I don’t know their story.
And they don’t know mine.
They don’t know what I’ve been through, what I’m going through now, or what types of challenges I've had along the way. Only I know that.
That’s what I try to remind myself.
Every challenge, every step, every storm has made me the person I am today.
A few years ago I developed a foot injury, and was told by my doctor to stop running and hiking. I ended up needing surgery. Even after I healed and didn’t need crutches anymore, I was still in a lot of pain. Every time I crossed a sidewalk, I would feel annoyed at myself that I couldn’t do the crosswalk shuffle - you know what I’m talking about. I felt like the people in the car waiting for me were thinking “this girl looks in shape, why is she walking so damn slow?”
I got jealous of people running in movies or posting on social media about their beautiful hike. WHAT? Who gets jealous of people running?
Because I couldn’t anymore.
I’m still coming to terms with that. And I hope someday I’ll be able to get back into running. But it really forced me to realize that you can’t compare yourself to others at any stage of your health and fitness journey.
I’ve met some pretty incredible people on my fitness journey.
I’ve met people who are battling autoimmune disorders and chronic illnesses.
I’ve met people who used fitness as a means of fighting alcoholism and drug addiction.
I’ve seen people in their eighties and nineties still going to the gym every day.
I know many people who use exercise as a means of coping with anxiety and depression.
And of course, I’ve met a lot of people who’ve lost weight, and many more who continue to battle with their weight, their relationship to food, and their lifestyle.
I’m one of those people, I’ve won a lot of those battles. I’ve also lost a lot; but with every win and every loss was a step toward being the person I am today. I wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t for those ups and downs.
I might not have become a fitness instructor. I might not have met the incredible people I’ve mentioned above and in past posts. I might not have the incredible community of support and accountability I have today.
I might not have this blog.
I am working hard to learn to love myself. It’s a process. It’s a challenge. Just like weight loss, or a new job, or any big life change. Learning to love myself is a lifelong journey that I have to work at every day.
So every time I get down on myself for not being where I want to be - not being fit enough or healthy enough or whatever enough - I try to remind myself that I am exactly where I need to be.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ― Dr. Seuss
Today, I am me, true as can be. And I’m the best me that there ever could be.