It’s a beautiful day, I’m out for a walk through a commercial area of downtown. I pass by a window and notice the reflection looking back at me…and for just a moment, I don’t recognize that woman. She’s too thin – I know that couldn’t be ME!
How many times have you looked into the mirror and truly SEEN the person looking back at you? Really, truly SEEN her? For me, it’s a daily process – when I look in the mirror as I’m getting ready for the day, all I can see sometimes is how far I still have to GO – not how far I’ve COME.
Changing the way you see yourself is one of the most important changes you’ll make in your journey toward loving your reflection – until and unless you can change who and what you see in the mirror each day, you’ll have challenges with your progress, your self-esteem, and with loving who you are. I know – I’m there with you! I am still sometimes surprised by the woman I see looking back at me – she is “normal sized” – whatever THAT means. Having spent most of my teenage years overweight, having struggled with my weight and my physical image for most of my adult life, and suffering the negative side effects of the criticism I leveled at myself, I can completely understand why I may not see myself realistically…and I know it needs to change.
If I cannot see / accept / enjoy / celebrate the new physical me, I am robbing myself of the pleasure I could be feeling at my accomplishment – robbing myself of the justifiable sense of pride I could feel in the fact that I’ve taken back my health, built new competencies and new strength, and even felt good enough about my journey to try and help others along their path. Don’t deny yourself the enjoyment of celebrating how far you’ve come – don’t pooh-pooh all the steps you’ve taken to get you to where you are NOW. Stop, just for a minute, and enjoy the progress you’ve made. Stop telling yourself how far you still have to go…
Your journey to ultimate health and fitness – however YOU define it – may last the rest of your natural life. You may continually strive to get stronger / faster / more limber / more flexible for quite some time – and you’ll find that the pursuit is a good thing! It keeps you moving forward and helps avoid stagnation and boredom – but please don’t forget to enjoy the places where you stop along the way. When my family took a cross-country road trip, we planned “rest stops” – places where we intentionally stopped, became more aware of our surroundings, and enjoyed where we were at the moment. Without those opportunities to take stock and look back, we might have whizzed through our journey and not even SEEN parts of the country we were moving through. It is the pause and the intentional reflection that makes the journey special – and helps to imprint it on your memory.
Don’t forget to look around – notice where you are now – enjoy the distance you’ve traveled, what you’ve learned about yourself and the world around you, and the new skills and strengths you’ve developed. You’ve heard me say that “baby steps forward are still steps forward” and every single journey begins with the first step. Take stock of your steps and enjoy what you’ve accomplished.