This morning I realized something. It wasn’t something that had just appeared in my head out of nowhere. Instead, it was a manifestation of bits and pieces that have been floating in and out of my head for the past eight years. Even before that, my body has been telling me that something about the way I was living was not right. These feelings are a medley of physical, emotional, mental, and circumstantial negativity and disarray that I’ve packaged up and carried with me for more than two decades… not only are the packages outweighing my strength, but I am becoming weaker from the on-going wear and tear.
What is it that I realized in particular? First, let me explain the idea behind this blog.
The Balance Dream is about taking a step back to really think about the changes I need to make in my life through restructuring and balance. Positive changes are good, but with no balance, there is no sustainability. In the past, I have attempted grand overhauls that were challenging and unsustainable… and the overhauls that actually were sustainable would quickly crush a not-so strong foundation under the pressure of life’s happenings, both internally and externally. The changes were difficult. The harder life got, the less it mattered that I was, deep-down, truly capable of sustaining good changes in my lifestyle. At the end of the day, it wasn’t the grand concepts I struggled with putting into action, but the mundane intricacies of day-to-day life and its routines and structures. Many routines and structures that exist in our society are counter-productive in terms of maintaining balance. Working within a relatively restrictive framework (e.g., long work days, limited accessibility to nutritious foods, over-accessibility of unhealthy foods, over-acceptance of drugs as cures, etc.), especially one that almost counters your goals and needs, is much more challenging than complete freedom of structure.
Today, I realized I have been going about these positive lifestyle changes the wrong way. I started many life changes so that I could love myself more (i.e., to have clearer skin, to lose weight, to have a better body, to get bigger breasts, to feel energetic enough for life, etc.) In truth, I need to already love myself to make these types of changes work. Think about it–the best relationships are ones that stand strong despite the daily challenges. Two people should not enter relationships conditionally (“If you make my life _____, I will love you) but unconditionally (“I love you no matter what”). The former, when faced with challenges, will sink under pressure… the later will stand strong. This applies to the challenges I face with lifestyle changes. I should not think “If I can have a better body, I will love myself more”, but instead, “I love myself no matter what and want what is best for myself.” In the former, I will likely falter when faced with challenges because I will not love myself enough to justify enduring obstacles for my long-term benefit. In the later, I will love myself enough to push myself through challenges because I am worth it.
The sad reality is that I don’t love myself as much as I should. I am still grappling with my insecurities that have over-packaged themselves and latched onto me for most of my life. This borderline disenchantment with myself makes it hard to justify challenges that are difficult to get through; after-all, why go through all of that effort for someone you don’t really love? I need to love myself enough to make it through the challenges I will face when living my new lifestyle. When I can’t enjoy foods everyone else around me can, I will love myself enough to enjoy and be grateful for what I can have that will nourish my body. When I am faced with decisions that will be good for my status, career, and financial growth but bad for my health, I will love myself enough to walk away… meaning I will love myself more than I love other people’s perceptions of me. To love myself enough to put my well-being first is the core aspect I must build in order to make my dream of balance a reality.