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Looking in the mirror who do you see?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to write; it's been a very busy summer. I continue to find that the tools and discipline I learned in my weight loss and health journey apply to so many other areas of my life-- I'm slowly but steadily learning how to view my goals and dreams as a marathon, not a series of sprints. That I spent my life racing like a wild-woman at all sorts of things in the short-term, basically running myself to exhaustion with little to show for it, was one of those major self-revelations I discovered on my healthy journey and just as it stirred a life-changing revolution in how I looked at food and exercise, it is also changing how I view life and live it across the spectrum.

For all of us who have a substantial amount of weight to lose (or had), or who've struggled all their lives with food and body image issues, the underlying theme of what we learn is balance. We all need to find our own balance point, that place where we recognize who we are, what our strengths and weaknesses are, who we want to be and how we can get to the place where we live life true to ourselves.

That balance is expressed differently for every person which is why no single tool or skill or diet will work for everyone. For some it means learning to do more of something such as eating more vegetables or getting up from the television more frequently. For others, it's learning to refocus our attention-- from solely being caretakers of others to taking care of yourself, or learning how to find self love and comfort in things other than food.

For me, the balance was, and is, learning to do less, learning to relax and give my body, my mind and my spirit a chance to recover from all the intensity I enjoy and to allow what I learn a chance to absorb. I've had to learn to say no, not just to others, but to myself. I've had to learn how to recognize that every activity, every choice has a price tag and each day I only get so many 'energy coins' to spend-- I need to be responsible to spend them wisely, toward things that further my goals, my dreams and feed my self-esteem by contributing positively to my life. I also need to learn that constantly borrowing against tomorrow's energy, or spending it recklessly in the moment because somebody else says I should throws me out of balance and weakens me. It puts me, my dreams and my goals into debt.

If you'd asked me 3 years ago what I expected to be one of the important lessons I needed to learn to be successful was, it never would have occurred to me that this simple idea would be so profound; "Rest and recovery IS PART OF DOING. Rest after a push IS NOT optional, it is not passive, it is MANDATORY. During the resting phase your body recuperates and your mind takes what it's learned and moves it deeper into your understanding where it ages, like wine, to become a part of you."

Yet rest is when we balance the energy budget, it's when we refresh so that we have more to give not only to others but to our own goals, our own dreams and paying into our own self worth. Because when you take care of yourself, when you consistently act in ways that support and further what you believe in, you become stronger and you fall more in love with yourself and with all of life. Which creates this amazing loop of positivity; you have more and thus you can give more. Taking care of yourself becomes a joy and then when you take care of others, you can truly do it as a gift. When you take care of your own dreams and goals, you can't help but give to others to do the same. You fall in love with life. Love is a funny thing, unlike energy or time or even money, the more you spend of it, the more there is.

I'm often reminded of the rule the oxygen masks on a plane, in the event of an emergency put your own mask on first; THEN and only then, attend to anyone else. Some people would easily put on their own mask first, even without thinking. Some of us have to learn that reflex, especially if you're a mother. But the wisdom of this lesson has been profound in how I view life-- if I don't take care of myself first, there will come a time when I will not have anything left to give. Not to others and not to myself. And then it's over. Sure, maybe I'll get lucky and someone else who was wise enough to take care of themselves will come along and save me, but really, do I want to pin my survival on luck? More importantly, do I want to make others responsible for caring for me or should I instead learn to take care of myself first so that I have more to give in the long haul? It sounds like such a trite cliché and yet perhaps it became cliché because it is such a universal truth-- first you must love yourself.

That is what I would wish most to give you on your journey here on Spark, if I had the power to give you anything. I would give you the gift of self-acceptance, of seeing yourself as you truly are, in all your flaws and grandeur, and I would show you that amazing person reflected in a mirror of self-love. I would give you the tools and the skills to feed that delicate flower of self-love so that it would flourish into a verdant jungle of beauty and joy. The rest of this would all then grow naturally as an extension, for it's very easy to care for, nurture and protect what you love. Honestly, all the rest of it, the weight loss, the ability to do and live as you choose, the cute clothes or the attention from others-- it's just the gravy. It's good, but it's not the goal. All of that will come if you can just get to this one simple truth—see yourself exactly as you are and love that person, you will get better and you will find your balance if you can see that right now, exactly as your are, you are good enough to love.

As always thanks for reading me. I love to hear your thoughts and comments-- particularly if you've found some way in your life that you nurture your own dreams and goals, or the things about yourself you chafe at but need to (or have learned) to embrace and love.

Copyright© 2010 Cassandra Kelly. All Rights Reserved.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Yes, and yes, and yes.
    I've learned to be loving and giving and caring- to a point- with other people. I now acknowledge that some people I can love for up to 1 minute... some people 1 hour... some people for days, years, a lifetime. I have people in my life that I enjoy very much if all I do is smile and wave and keep walking. That's been a wonderful revelation. I don't have to 'help' or give time to every one who asks for it.
    My housemate is always gripping about different neighbors. I kept saying , 'wow, I like them just fine- for a minute'. He is starting to 'get' that. Learning boundaries with others, that is one of the key things for me.
    I get 24/7 with me- all the time. So I take very good care of me now. Love my walks and dancing and hot tubs. Life is hella good.
    3922 days ago
    Ah yes, the toughie: quelling, stifling the relentless inner critic!

    Important point...can take such persistent effort to accomplish this!

    I know I still have much growth yet to accomplish in this area...

    3926 days ago
    What a great piece of writing. You're exactly right, you have to decide that YOU are worth putting the time and effort into, and much of the rest falls into place. I don't really have anything to offer in terms of ways I've learned to do that or things I've learned to love about myself since I'm really pretty early in learning how to do this myself. However, I can definitely tell you that quite a while before I joined Sparkle, when this journey began for me, I had to make that decision. And just doing it, being passionate about it, seems to inspire others around me to do so as well - which makes me extremely happy.

    Forward and onward.
    3926 days ago
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    3927 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.