Thursday, June 13, 2013

When you love yourself first, everything else makes sense

An average large bag of dog food weighs about 40 pounds...I've lost that amount of weight plus a bit more in two years.  No, book publishers are not going to contact me for my massive weight loss, I'm not going to get free subs for life from a chain restaurant, and I probably won't inspire a movement of people to lose weight. To me, none of that matters though.

Two years ago I was unhappy, for many different reasons. Two years ago, I was scared.  Two years ago, I was a different person.  The fact is like I have said many times before, this journey was never about weight loss. This journey has always been about finding that voice inside of me that says, "You're amazing, you're doing what you should be doing, and you're perfect just the way you are."  I don't mean to sound like a One Direction song, but if I don't believe those things why is anyone else going to?

A favorite quote of mine is a Mister Rogers quote. I grew up watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and learned many life lessons from watching his puppets and his neighbors interact in the Land of Make Believe.  Several years ago I received a daily calendar with a new quote of his every day.  Some were insightful, some silly, and some spoke volumes to me. Even though Mister Rogers taught children, his life lessons can translate to just about any age. So one day, when I tore off the previous day on the calendar and read his daily insight I knew I had to remind myself of it every day.  I tore the day off of the calendar immediately, cut out the quote, and taped it to my laptop so I could read it everyday.  There it remained, until 2010 when that computer died and the quote was throw out with the computer.  The fact is I don't need to look at it everyday to remember what it said.  But having it there, and seeing it daily when I would check email, write papers, update Facebook, and surf the internet helped me to live it.  I'm sure by now you're wondering what these amazing, life altering words were...

"You can't really love someone else, unless you love yourself first."

Does the name of my blog make a bit more sense now?  It's a simple concept, if you like yourself it will show and others will be more comfortable with you and like you too.  A simple concept that is often difficult to follow.  Two years ago had you asked me I probably would have said I hated many things happening in my life, and I was unhappy with who I was.  This translated to my weight primarily, but it also crossed into other aspects of my life as well.  Two years ago, had you told me I'd only lost 42 pounds by now I would have been upset, disappointed, and maybe even angry with myself.  Two years ago though I didn't understand that happiness isn't a result of an outward appearance, or financial gain, or number of degrees on the wall.  Happiness, and love, are somethings you have to find within yourself before any of the other things matter.  This by no means, means that outward appearance, financial stability, education, and other things aren't important. You just have to know that those are not the things that make your happiness, they just add to the happiness.

The woman who began this blog two years ago would not have had the guts to move to Colorado without a plan. Not to mention that woman would have freaked out at the thought of things not going according to that plan.  The same woman now, knows that moving here made me the happiest I've been in a long time. And even though things keep changing so there is never much of a plan, things have a way of just getting better.  Part of loving yourself, is putting aside the fear to be yourself.

So when I began reflecting on the fact that I've lost over 40 pounds, I realized that the weight was the smallest accomplishment I've achieved in the past two years.  Learning to love my life, my choices, my past, my future, and letting go of the fears I've allowed to hold me back really are the the biggest things I could have ever gained.  For the first time in my 30 years, I'm truly learning what loving myself for who I am honestly means, and no number on a scale will ever diminish the importance of discovering that accomplishment first.

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