For years I believed that being a size two would make me happy. I thought that once I achieved this magic number all my problems would go away and I would find my happily ever after. So, I ate a very strict diet, often jumping from one to the next. No carbs ,no fat, low fat, high protein and I complement that with hours of running on a treadmill or double up on spin classes and lifting weights.
Eventually I did reach that "perfect" number but what came with it wasn't happiness but a deeper disdain for myself and a huge amount of pressure to maintain that magic number.
It took me years to realize that life is about so much more then wasting it consumed on something so superficial as what I looked like on the outside. True, I want to feel my best and at the time being single, wanted to attract a mate, but the amount of time and energy I put into obtaining what I thought would get me it was ridiculous.
We've all heard by now that true happiness comes from deep inside. It isn't something you can buy but rather, something that you find when you finally stop and really live in the present moment.
Easier said then done, right? Well, not really. It's actually quite easy to find that happiness button within. Anytime you feel real joy, you are immersed in happiness. Take a moment to stop and bring awareness to what it is you are doing.
In the meantime, here are three ways I've learned to love my body and be happy right now. Try them on for size, see how they feel and how much happiness you experience in your body.
1. Move in a way that resonates within you
I would dread going to the gym because deep down inside I knew I was wasting valuable time on something rather unimportant. Not that moving your body isn't important, there is great value in exercising, sweating and challenging your muscles , but the amount of time I was doing so was.
It was about the time that I discovered yoga in 2009 I realized that they're were other ways to move my body that made me feel happier and healthy and I gave up the expectations I had placed on myself to be a gym rat. I began moving my body on the mat, played around with Pilates and Barre classes and found deeper connection to myself and what made me feel good in my body.
I run if I feel like running and for a much shorter amount of time and on days that I just want to walk, I do so, soaking up the beauty around me.
When you really ask yourself how you want to move your body and do it, you are giving yourself permission to trust that you have your own best interests at heart.
2. Say no to things that do not scream YES!
I know it's easy to feel like we HAVE to do certain things but the truth is, we really don't. Often when we commit to something that doesn't feel good within our body it has a funny way of presenting itself to us later, like when we double dip our hand into that bag of chocolate chip cookies when we've already had several.
When we say no to the things that don't feel right within us like a project or maybe a friendship that has run it's course, we are putting our needs first, once again, nurturing and loving ourselves.
It's amazing how when we start to say yes to the things that make us feel alive, we actually start to feel just that, ALIVE.
3. Think like a Kid and play
Hands down my favorite piece of advice. I love watching my little nephew play with his toy trains. He has a deep passion for Thomas and his choo choo chugging gang. He gets so much joy out of moving those engines along his wooden train track and can spend hours doing so, fully immersed in his imaginative world.
This got me thinking, when was the last time I really just lost myself in something? Why, as adults, do we feel like we need to put those things aside for ones that hold more responsibility? At the very least, why don't carve out the time to play, even just a little?
A few years back I discovered my love of getting my hands dirty in the world of DIY. I painted the walls of our house, put old wood planks on a wall in my husbands office, bought old furniture and made it new and completely lost myself (in the good way) doing so. I wasn't stressed about when I was going to fit in a workout and I definitely wasn't judging the size of my thighs or what I ate. I was so happy creating and tapping into a part of me I had long ago buried that all that other stuff just didn't matter.
Ask yourself this; what is something you loved doing as a child but no longer let yourself do? Then just do it. Carve out the time and give yourself permission to play.
Loving your body and finding happiness really aren't hard. However, giving ourselves permission to do so can be. What will it take for you to give yourself permission?
Like what you read here? Then you will love my debut 10 day program, Release + Remove + Rebuild -- A Permission Slip to Build Your Best Life. Give yourself permission to start loving your body and your life and finding true, unwavering happiness everyday.
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