Wisdom of the Ages – Self-Acceptance

The overriding message of ‘Love Your Reflection’ is to love the person you see in the mirror – the complete person. All the faults that make us wonderfully human, the strength we may not know we possess, the intelligence and wisdom accumulated throughout our lives, and the love we carry for ourselves and for others.

I found a quote posted by a Facebook friend that I think resonates with the Love Your Reflection philosophy, though it was written over 100 years before I was even born.

“We must accept ourselves such as we are with our own measure of beauty, talent, and seek to go humbly about the duties that lie in our way instead of sighing for the impossible and bemoaning the inevitable.”

~Letter from Harriet Beecher Stowe to daughter, Hattie, January 1862.

I am continually impressed and surprised by the depth and power of the words of this country’s storytellers. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who authored “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is one of this country’s favorite authors and will be remembered throughout the annals of time. Her assertion that we must “accept ourselves such as we are…” is a critical component to increased self-esteem.

Continuing with the sentence “…with our own measure of beauty, talent…” – we have to appreciate what we have within us, what we were born with, and what we have developed. We can live the life of our dreams, we can become the people we WANT to be, and we can make ourselves proud.

So many mixed messages still abound in popular media – that as women, as people who are trying to lose a significant amount of weight or who have already lost the weight and who are trying to maintain their weight loss – we’re still being told we are not “good enough”. The antithesis of Stowe’s message that we each have our own measure of beauty and talent.

See yourself as an achiever, a conqueror…perhaps you have not yet reached your ultimate goal, but baby steps forward are STILL steps forward. Celebrate your achievements and use them to propel you forward to even more success.

Stowe also encourages us to “go humbly about the duties that lie in our way instead of sighing for the impossible and bemoaning the inevitable.” Those words to me lay out a plan for achievement – that we go about the duties we have set for ourselves regarding weight loss: eating in a healthy and controlled manner, consistency in our workouts and exercise, and continual positive reinforcement with our thoughts and behaviors. You can find inspiration all around you – GREAT inspiration. Not images that damage your self-esteem and challenge your self-confidence in a bad way, but those which let you know that you CAN achieve your goals and dreams, because others before you have done it.

There is a danger in comparing yourself to others and wanting to match their achievements without having their entire story – “sighing for the impossible”. Some people are dissatisfied with their athletic performance because they are comparing themselves to Olympic athletes, those who train multiple hours a day, or who have access to specialists, unique training methods or dedicated training facilities. The comparison simply doesn’t work because you are not comparing “apples to apples” as our Moms might say.

The popularity of the tv show “The Biggest Loser” can make you feel like a 2 – 3 pound weight loss each week is simply below the standard, when in fact it’s ABOVE average. Sustainable weight loss is likely to happen at a slower pace – for most people, that means 1 – 2 lbs a week, consistently. My weight loss was 85 lbs in 14 months. That is an average of 7 lbs per month, or just under 2 lbs per week. I have kept that weight off for another 11 months – and see no reason why I cannot sustain it for the rest of my life.

Keep holding yourself accountable and keep loving yourself – your own measure of beauty and the talents you have. Keep making positive steps forward on a realistic and sustainable path of self-improvement that will increase your self-confidence, your strength and your health without setting the bar of achievement so high that you cannot possibly reach it, and in so doing, subject yourself to unnecessary stress and pain. In the long run, sustainable improvement in small steps – in every area of your life – will be the best thing you can do for yourself.

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    KCLAnderson (Karen)

    Wow..this is so very powerful! I just read something, some where else, that basically said that there are no original great thoughts…they just keep getting recycled over and over again. And when I read something like what Harriet Beecher Stowe said to her daughter, I wonder why we haven’t “gotten” it yet!?

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