“I’ll be happy once I have abs, I’ll be happy when my arms are smaller, I’ll be happy once….”
A phrase that oh so many of us find ourselves saying over and over. We look at other girl’s bodies in life or on Instagram, so envious of what we don’t have. Our mind’s play tricks on us making us believe that a flat stomach is the key to happiness. I used to tell myself this day after day. “I’ll be happy once I have my ideal body”…WRONG.
Over the past few years I’ve realized that happiness doesn’t work that way. I found myself comparing my body to others. I would over analyze each aspect of it, wishing it was more toned or small or larger or whatever the heck I wanted it to be. But no matter how close I got to my ideal body it never felt good enough. In the world of social media it can be so easy to wish we looked like someone else. We see pictures of girls with “perfect” bodies on a beach looking happy as can be. And while these people may genuinely be happy, it is NOT because of the way that they look.
Happiness comes from WITHIN. Rather than seeking happiness in the way our bodies look, we must love ourselves exactly the way we are. I know it sounds corny but it is completely and utterly true. I view happiness as an act of self-love. When you love yourself first the way that you view your body completely changes. I used to work out just so that I could look a certain way, meanwhile disliking what I saw in the mirror. Now I work out because I love my body and I am so grateful to see what it is capable. It is no longer about being skinny, but rather about being strong and empowered.
The transition from constantly comparing myself to others to unconditionally loving my body did not happen overnight. I would wake up each morning, look in the mirror and tell myself that “I love and accept myself unconditionally”. For the longest time these words felt like a lie; I was saying one thing and thinking another. But over time the words finally began to sink in. Each time I caught myself thinking poorly of my body, I would recite these words out loud or in my head. When I started paying attention to the way I spoke to myself, I was utterly amazed. I realized just how often I would allow negative thoughts to cross my mind. I was unconsciously picking apart my physical appearance so it was no wonder that I felt the way I did.
Overtime it became easier to change my negative self-views into positive ones. I began believing that I truly did love and accept myself unconditionally. I stopped comparing myself to others and instead was inspired by others. I stopped placing so much value on how flat my stomach was and started focusing on how far I had come.
Positive self-talk is not always easy. In fact I still have to catch myself from comparing my body to others. I remind myself that I am so much more than just my physical body. Our bodies are simply a vessel for our spirit and soul to lie within. It can be so easy to think that we are just our bodies, when really that is only our exterior. The most beautiful people are the ones that clearly love who they are. These are the people that radiate confidence and understand that happiness comes from within. They have stopped comparing themselves to others and let their true spirit shine through.
When we compare ourselves to others we can get lost in finding who we truly are. For a long time I found myself placing so much value on the way that I looked. Now I value being the most authentic version of my true self. I understand that happiness comes from within and unconditionally loving myself exactly the way I am. I don’t apologize for who I am and I delight in being my hyper, quirky, and curious self. I know that the journey to self-love is not easy; there are easy days and there are hard days. If you are struggling I encourage you to focus on the way you speak to yourself. Each time you catch negative thoughts crossing your mind, replace them with positive, loving, and uplifting ones. You are worthy of love, you are worthy of happiness, you are worthy.