Note: This was originally written before I started my “transformation journey”. I had periods in my life prior to that where I had glimpses of where I was headed and this was written during one of the periods. But it still fully applies to where I am now, so I am publishing this on my blog because it is as true today as it was when I wrote it several years ago.
Self acceptance. Some argue it’s the key to happiness, and from my own personal experiences, the lack of it can certainly lead to a lot of misery and frustration. I have spent years learning to accept myself for who I am, and I have finally reached some success in that regard. But what I have found along the way, is that it is a slippery slope from self acceptance to complacency, and with complacency comes stagnation -in some cases even regression. It’s a very fine balancing act to accept who/where I am and yet stay motivated to become better. It is difficult to not mistake desire to get better/improve in any area with self dissatisfaction/self hate. If there is complete self embrace, it is difficult to channel desire/motivation to get better. For me, my struggle is with body weight and fitness level. I find myself having to balance being ok with the extra weight or the slow bike time and yet maintain the drive it takes to stay motivated over the long haul to achieve results in these areas. The ultimate self love would seem to just say you are perfect the way you are, in which case there would be no need to watch the diet or exercise. The ultimate self hate would seem to say that you are very imperfect and will never be any in which case there is no need to diet or exercise. The balance is to accept the now but strive for better.
I think there are two keys to this balance act. They are confidence and patience.
It is easier to accept where you are if you are both confident in where you are ultimately going and have the patience to allow yourself the time and grace to get there. If either one of these is lacking, then that balance slips to one side or the other of the beam.
Having the confidence of self allows you to know that whatever or wherever the goal is, you can and will achieve it. For me, I have struggled with my weight my entire life. It is only when I learned to accept where I was but KNOW that I had the power to and eventually would lose weight that I was able to actually achieve it. The self acceptance moves beyond the frustration of the now and enters into a place where you feel empowered and at peace knowing that the “now” is going to change.
Most things, losing weight and becoming fit included, take considerable time. Not much happens overnight. I tend to be an instant gratification type person and well, when weight loss didn’t happen dramatically overnight I became frustrated and dissatisfied with myself in my efforts and was less able to accept the now. It was when I learned that it is a process and allowed myself the grace and time needed that I was able to succeed. Patience here refers to not only temporal patience but also patience with yourself. Not all days are good, and some will seem like setbacks or disappointments in terms of the ultimate goal. However, when you are patient with yourself, there is room for mistakes and even failure. In patience, these setbacks don’t reflect on the person in the now – only delay the inevitable success.
With the confidence and patience needed, I can accept who I am because I know that I will always strive for and ultimately get better and I have the patience to allow myself however long it takes to get there.