Have you ever put so much pressure on yourself that you feel like you should be superman or superwoman? And when you don’t live up to this superhero in your mind you feel frustrated?
I used to do this all the time and I still even catch myself doing it every once in a while. I have learned some important lessons throughout this journey and thought I’d share some of what has worked for me. Maybe these ideas will assist you on your journey, spark another idea that will work for you, or just inspire you to love yourself more!
Most importantly you are not everyone else! Only you know what is right for you. What works for your best friend or brother may not work for you at all. It’s great to try out different things to discover what works for you. One of the first signs I get to understanding what is right for me is how it makes me feel. If it feels like more exhausting work and frustration then I know that it’s not the right choice. However, if a potential solution feels good, puts a smile on my face, or lets some of the tension lift from my shoulders then I know I’m moving in the right direction.
I used to push myself to exercise every day. I was shooting for the recommended ideals of weight lifting and cardio. I did this for a while and sometimes it was great and felt good and other days it felt like torture.  I just generally get bored and feel boxed in at the gym. I realized I’m definitely more of an outdoor, walk and stretch type of woman. I love to be physically active, but not in a gym; doing redundant exercise is boring to me. I enjoy accomplishing something else while I’m physically active. Things like gardening, house work, running errands, etc… I enjoy walking because it’s an activity I do outside and I’m most at peace outside in nature. I’m physically moving, but my mind has time to think about and work through other things I have going on. Or if I need a mental break I just soak in the beautiful scenery and connect with nature. I enjoy yoga from time to time because it is gentle yet I feel stronger and more relaxed when I’m done. It’s a great combo for me. I have learned to let my body show me its limits and its abilities. Sometimes I just love turning on music and dancing around the house!
For me natural states of joy and physical movement are my favorite types of exercise. They don’t feel like work; they feel great. This has become far more important to me than how many minutes I do on the elliptical or how many push-ups I don’t do. I pay attention, to what my body needs that day, how I feel when I’m engaged in an activity and I honor what my body tells me. And you know what? Some days I need to just lay down and rest.
Some people might even call it lazy, but not me! I call it loving and nurturing myself. If I treat my body with respect and love then it will treat me with respect and love. When I didn’t listen to my body, I would push it when it needed rest and you know what?  I was constantly in pain and exhausted. This often resulted in me feeling miserable, the opposite of what I was going for in the first place!
Since I have learned to actually listen to my body and what it is telling me we have built a much more harmonious relationship. I technically do much less formal exercise than before and spend more time loving myself and the results have been worth it. My body has less pain and more energy. Emotionally and mentally I’m much happier. My body and emotions are clearly connected as they are with all of us.
So next time you get the urge or thought to become frustrated and angry with your body because it’s not doing what you want it to I suggest you try a different approach.
Sit quietly and love your body for all that it does do for you. Be grateful for all its beauty and magnificence. Think about times in your life when your body has helped you experience pleasure and happiness. Your body endures a lot…so instead of abusing it with anger and frustration try taking a different viewpoint.
Let go of looking at magazines and television. Let go of comparing yourself to anyone else. YOU are YOU and that’s who the world needs you to be. Love your temple. Think about how freeing it would be to stop comparing yourself to others. What if you took all that energy and just refocused it on loving yourself and your body???
When I did this my body responded in kind. It didn’t matter how healthy what I ate or drank was when I was angry and frustrated with myself and my bodies limitations. I had cellulite, I felt crappy, and I was in pain. But when I started loving myself, it all began to fade away. Not from exercise or diet, but from love!!!! Your most powerful tool is self-love! Let’s be clear… of course exercise and nutrition are important elements to our health, but they are most certainly not the only pieces.
Even nutrition and exercise needs vary from person to person. We are not cookie cutter… we are all unique so why wouldn’t our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs be different too. I encourage you to love yourself a bit more each day, by discovering what works for you. Let go of the burden of being frustrated that you and your body don’t fit someone else’s mode. I get there will be frustrating moments; we all have them, that’s part of being human. But next time it happens,  when you realize it is happening…remember to love yourself as much as possible.
Enjoy discovering what works for you with Love,