Last night after my workout at the gym, I had a moment of self reflection.
I recalled how many years ago, I used to flog myself and my body at relentlessly at the gym for hours (typically on the treadmill or cross-trainer), obsessively counting how many calories I was burning.
At the time I thought I was exercising to be healthy, but what I was doing was so unhealthy.
Why? Because I was doing it from a place of fear and self-hate.
I’d say things to myself like, “you need to burn “284532901 calories because you ate a bread roll, or piece of birthday cake.”
It was as though I made myself work twice as hard as a punishment.
Other times, I’d look at women at the gym and compare myself to their “perfect” bodies and get so down on myself and say such horrible things to and about myself.
It makes me cringe a bit reflecting and writing about such times. I feel sad for that girl who was so self-loathing and lacked self-confidence.
Fortunately, now when I exercise (which is often shorter, strength-based training, or boxing sessions), I do it from a place of love and joy. I want to exercise because I love the way it makes me feel: alive, strong, confident, proud of myself.
In fact, often after a workout, I mentally say to myself, ‘well done, I’m proud of you.‘
This is the difference between self-loathing and self-love.
Of course there’s still times when I don’t feel like working out – and sometimes I don’t. Or days where I’ll want to have a longer session because I indulged a bit the day before – BUT I do it from a place of love and compassion to look after myself – physically, mentally and emotionally, rather than punish or push myself.
When I see other women in the gym training hard, I look at them and smile, or say hello, or compliment them because I respect their dedication.
This is the difference between comparison and celebration.
Seeing other women prioritise self-care lights me up so much.
And although I’m sharing my experience with exercise, this love letter isn’t actually about that (although it applies there too).
This is about doing things from a place of love and compassion, rather than loathing and comparison.
Because this stuff affects all of us. Often. I see it and hear it all the time – heck, I used to experience it all the time.
Which is why I’m here to remind you that YOU are enough, exactly the way you are.
You don’t need to do anything to punish yourself.
You deserve to do things that make you feel good.
You don’t need to change who you are to please anybody else.
You deserve to let your real self be seen and loved for the beautiful person you are, beautiful you
You don’t need any self-loathing.
You deserve so much self-love.
YOU ARE ENOUGH. ALWAYS.
So what do you say, let’s flex our self-love muscles together?!
Now, I’d love to hear from you. What’s one of your favourite ways to practice self-love or self-care?
Remember, when you share, you never know who else you might be helping.