Unconditional Self Acceptance

So, it’s mid-February now. You may remember that I wrote a post here encouraging everyone to give up on New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight. Not because it’s “bad,” of course. Getting in shape is never a bad thing. The reason behind my proposition was simply to encourage everyone to cultivate more self-love rather than more judgment about what we eat and what we see in the mirror.

So how are you doing? If you made a resolution to lose weight, have you been able to accept what you look like right now? Are you giving yourself lots and lots and lots of love? If you didn’t make a resolution about your weight/body, are you loving who you are right now?

Part of the reason why I’m writing this is because we know how to play this game – the “I love myself plenty but secretly wish I was a little thinner” game. Honestly, I think many of us play the game so well that we don’t even realize that we are playing at all. We truly believe that we love ourselves enough and that the desire to lose the extra weight is simply a natural desire to be more healthy. Now, this may be true for some, of course – but not always. Sometimes we really need to examine our reasons behind our desire to lose weight because all too often, it is because we want to feel prettier – and that means defining ourselves by society’s standard of feminine beauty (i.e. being thin).

I truly believe that weight issues will ultimately resolve themselves when it is the right time. Now I’m not saying that being extremely overweight is healthy and that you shouldn’t try to change that – I’m just talking about an “extra” 10-50 pounds here. Obviously, obesity is a health issue that must be taken seriously, though self-acceptance is still a vital part of the weight loss journey. But for those of us who are just carrying a bit of extra weight (“extra” being defined by medical charts)…what if we had no restraints? No limits? No obsessions about food, our appearance, our jeans that don’t fit…nothing.

I mentioned my overindulgence in dairy and sugar over the holiday season and how tempted I was to use the turning of the calendar to motivate me to cut way back on both so I could lose my holiday weight. In fact, I was scared to see what would happen if I DIDN’T make a goal to stop eating so unhealthily. But you know what? I didn’t do it – I resisted the temptation to set that goal. And just as I had hoped, around the end of January, my body simply said: Enough. It asked for mushrooms, miso, tahini and hummus (not all together, of course). Carrots, celery, onions and broccoli. Soups, salads and veggie loaves. When I wanted a sweet, most of the time, I felt satisfied with just one bite of chocolate.

The weather warmed up a bit for a time, and I started biking again whenever I could. I have remained committed to my yoga practice and am maintaining my strength.

No, I haven’t lost 10 pounds or anything like that. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight at all because I refuse to weigh myself. My clothes are a bit looser and I feel good. And that’s that.

Now once again, do you really, truly accept yourself exactly the way you are? Right now? In the body you have in this moment?

Just for a moment, compare your feelings about your body to two of the delightful women of Glee: Ashley Fink (Lauren) and Amber Riley (Mercedes). They wear the clothes they want to wear without fear of showing off their curves. They stand up and demand their fair share of attention. They believe they are beautiful and they don’t waste their time on people who don’t share that belief.

Amber Riley (Mercedes)

Ashley Fink (Lauren)

What if you could accept yourself THAT MUCH? Imagine going through your day and never having a thought that you need to fix this one thing about yourself before you can be happy. Imagine not worrying what other people think of you. Imagine feeling good about yourself whenever you look in the mirror. Now what’s stopping you?