Next month I will celebrate my 7th SparkVersary. It's hard to believe I have been a part of this community for so long--3 years as a member and 4 years as an employee. And in this time I have had the opportunity to read and respond to literally thousands of message board posts covering topics ranging from weight loss to running and everything in between.
One of the best parts of my job is inspiring others to take the steps necessary to lead them down the path to healthy living. Not necessarily following in my exact path, but forging their own path so that they can embrace their own success. As my former running coach once told me years ago when my own motivation was waning, "Nancy, motivation is a gift we give ourselves. Inspiration is a gift we give others."
I hope I can inspire you to look beyond the outside and see the true beauty that lies within ALL of us.
In my time here at SparkPeople I have read so many posts from members bringing themselves down with such comments--
"I am so fat."
"I hate my body."
"I'll never lose the weight to fit back in my jeans."
"I'm destined to be fat."
"I have been on my diet for three weeks and I still haven't lost weight, so I might as well throw in the towel."
"My family/friends/co-workers think I have no self-control."
"If only I weighed 10, 20, 50, 100 pounds less, my life would be perfect."
"I feel fat."
"I just can't do this!"
Sadly, the list could go on forever. For me as a mentor these are the toughest issues to approach. While I have tricks to help one run more efficiently or help with an exercise issue, when it comes to helping one change the way they view themselves requires a much more delicate approach.
Why is it that we can say these things to ourselves when we would NEVER say them to a family member or friend?
The Art of Self-Compassion is when we learn to treat ourselves with the same love and compassion we would have for others regardless of their faults and short-comings. So many of us have been taught to give to others even if that means sacrificing our own goals and dreams. If we don't, then the world views us as selfish. But the reality is, when we take time to care for our own needs then we have so much more to offer others in our life.
We must learn to forgive ourselves. Just like we forgive others who have wronged us.
We must learn to talk nicely about ourselves, just like we do to our children, family and our friends.
We must learn to embrace the challenges life throws our way and not consider any short-comings a failure on our part.
We must learn to take time out for ourselves, whether that is going for a nice walk, taking a nap or having a good cry. This allows us to recharge our batteries.
We must learn to be kind to ourselves regardless of what the scale reads. If someone judges me on my looks that speaks more of them, than it does of me.
We must learn to accept our own imperfections. None of us are infallible. We will make mistakes, but we must treat ourselves with kindness.
So my challenge to you is to begin the process of embracing the person you are TODAY--not the person you were. Not the person you long to be, BUT the person you are at this very moment. When we love who we are, in all our faults and imperfections than we are able to move forward and give ourselves the best gift of all--SELF-COMPASSION!
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