I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want to be happy with themselves. Being at odds with your own mind can be quite destructive. Not liking, or appreciating, yourself seems to me to be one of the most common hurdles that people struggle with. However, aligning what you WANT and what you are actually willing to DO can often times be different points on the map.
A few months ago I read an article on Starting Strength (a website that deserves its own post). It was written by Gillian Mounsey (who also deserves her own post….I am a huge fan!). In the article she talked about her up-bringing in the fitness world and how she struggled over the years with what she wanted to look like, and what actually felt good. I think one of the myths that women (and even men) are fed is that looking a certain way will also lead to them feeling a certain way. Most of the time, that’s not true. I won’t steal all of what Gillian has to say, mostly because I want you to go and read the article, but this sums up her frustrations pretty clearly.
“Society rewarded me for this very unhealthy body – photographers wanted to shoot me, manufacturers wanted me to wear their clothes, and supplement companies wanted me to push their products. Once again the paradox: looking “great” while performing poorly.”
Now contrast that with this:
“I learned to respect myself as an athlete. I learned to appreciate the gifts that I have been given and the abilities I worked very hard for, rather than to dwell on the things I do not have. I learned to train with purpose rather than for atonement… I know the amazing things of which I am capable, and now I have to stop standing in my own way.”
Reading her thoughts on self esteem and self image is one of the reasons that I stopped doing what I hated (running), but had me looking a way I liked, and started doing something that I love to do (lifting), and still keeps me healthy and looking good. It’s a difficult balance, and one that is consistently shifting back and forth. But I think it’s better to be trying than miserable.