I’m going to guess we’ve all seen this or heard this somewhere before:
I think I’m starting to realize that the path to any goal, success or otherwise, is NEVER a straight line. For me, that goal is body acceptance and my path has been all over the map.
I have talked about body image/self-esteem struggles many times. It’s something that I’m constantly working on and writing about it and being open tends to help. It’s scary and nerve wracking and anxiety-inducing, but in the long run, it helps to get my thoughts and feelings out there. No matter if anyone reads them or not.
And lately, I’ve been doing really well at it. I’ve been focusing less on what I look like, realizing that I’m not a mannequin and my body will change. Sometimes daily. I’ve been feeling stronger, both in workouts and daily life. I’m putting fewer rules and restrictions on myself and just living my life. Overall, major progress.
When Adam and I decided to go to the beach.
And I put on my bathing suit for the first time in awhile.
All that confidence? All those good thoughts? All that WORK I put into feeling better in my own skin? Gone in a second.
I immediately started picking at my body and beating myself up. If only you had followed more rules. If only you had cut back on treats. If only you worked out harder. If only you started working out more. If only you were just BETTER. You wouldn’t feel this way right now.
It was like I was back at square one and no matter the number of positive thoughts I tried to come up with, all I could see was one big blob of failure staring back at me. One failure, stuffed into a bathing suit. And I was mad and hurt and frustrated and sad.
At that point, I had two options. I could immediately take off the suit, burn it, and retreat into myself and stew over everything. Let my thoughts take over and run wild and continue to beat myself up, somehow thinking that would make anything better.
I could go to the beach with my husband.
I wanted with all my might to go with option A. I wanted to keep it all inside. Shut out any of the positive work I had done and just wallow. It would be the easier option, the one I felt most comfortable with. After all, that’s what I always did. I knew how to let my thoughts overtake everything. But I decided to be brave and do the uncomfortable thing. I kept my bathing suit on, slathered on some sunscreen, packed our beach bag, and headed to the beach.
In that moment, I knew I was making progress.
Was my day at the beach suddenly better? Did I feel amazing from that point on? No. It was tough, and I had to spend time fighting each negative thought that popped into my head. And there were a lot. But I still did it. Rather than missing out on time with my husband and wallowing, I did the thing. I tackled a tough situation. I fought. And while it might not have felt like a total win, I’m still counting it as one point for me and one blow to the negative self-hatred monster I deal with.
So, for those of you who are struggling with anything right now, who thought that the path would be straighter than it currently is? I see you. I get you. Keep going. Get that point for you and keep knocking down whatever monster you have in your path, however curvy and jagged that path may be.
You can do it.