“I said to the sun: Tell me about the big bang. The sun said: It hurts to become.” -Andrea Gibson
Self love is hard. At times, even painful, exhausting, and will bring you to the point of tears.
This week I joined Crossfit.
The pain I have felt, not only in doing the workouts but in realizing just how out of shape I am, has been more than overshadowed by the pride I feel in myself and real, genuine self esteem from simply sticking it out and finishing my workouts.
The direct antecedent to my joining Crossfit was the weight I gained over the course of a year. Simply put, I had a lot of feelings and I ate them all, delicious or not. And sometimes I felt like my willpower could either do what was necessary to keep up with my school/professional work OR not eat the (bag of) cookies. In retrospect, I can tell what a false choice that was, no matter how real it felt at the time.
Did I really think I didn’t have it in me to do my work AND stay healthy and even happy too?
Did I really I think I could be happy OR successful?
Did I really think cookies would make me happy or that self love was slacking off?
What a waste of my precious time I could have used to be focused, diligent, and enjoying the task in front of me.
I am capable of a lot more than I gave myself credit for.
Today has been tough at times. I received negative feedback which is always hard for me, because I expect to do things at least 78% right the first time, even if I’ve never done it before, and not to make any stupid mistakes. Somehow, just like every other human being, I make mistakes and I don’t know it all before starting out. I do make honest mistakes out of ignorance, and that is what enables me to learn.
I have spent far too much time focused on achievement, and not doing a good work and making a contribution.
I have spent far too much time thinking that giving myself “leeway” where my goals and priorities were concerned was the same thing as accepting myself.
True self acceptance means living in accord with your values. And self love means going the extra mile not to let yourself down, and that when you do stumble, you pick yourself up rather than kicking when you’re down.
Self love tastes like sweat and not like sugar. It feels a lot more like a push than a languorous fall through space in no particular direction. It hurts like hell when you aren’t used to it, it makes you so stiff and brittle that your old self falls apart and leaves something better in its place.
Because it is only here, at the center of the effort, that you find the reason you are pushing, and the strength to belief you can keep on carrying on.
Self love is not self pity. It is not self doubt or indulgence or excess. It’s not neuroticism that doesn’t let you relax till its some definition of perfect, and it’s not “letting yourself go” and no setting goals at all.
Self-love, despite the pain of becoming a better self and accepting yourself as you are, is the best and most beautiful way of being truly alive.