February 8 – I will never unconditionally love myself

“I truly believe that there are as many ways of loving as there are people in the world and as there are days in the life of those people.” – Mary S. Calderone

I am not sure which comes first – me starting to lose weight, or me starting to love myself. I do know that the two combined for a virtuous cycle in my life. The more that my health got under control, the more I liked who I was, and that fed my desire to lose more weight.

It’s funny to think about, because it makes me a rather superficial judge of myself. At some level, I do judge myself by my appearance, and I do that in a way that if anyone did it to me, I’d probably be hurt. And in a way that if I did it to someone else, I’d be ashamed of myself. When I look at myself in the mirror, especially when I am sitting on the bed putting on my socks, I don’t like what I see. I can count every bulge and roll of fat, and it upsets me. Not because I desire to have ripped abs, and no body fat, but because what I see today is more than what I saw last summer. As much as anything, that image is driving me right now.

When I was a kid, one of my mother’s quips was “self-praise stinks”. She said that to make sure that I stayed humble, that I didn’t brag on my own accomplishments and set myself up to be cocky or arrogant. The idea she had for me was to just perform and do my best, and let others recognize the accomplishment. That is solid advice, and a good way to keep oneself in proper perspective. The problem for me is that I also interpreted it to mean “self-love stinks”, and that isn’t nearly as healthy of an attitude. There are probably 1,000 ways that my mind has been screwed by how I have let the opinions of others into my garden, but this one was a hard one to shake.

I will not ever be perfect, or even perfectly healthy – mentally or physically. I will always be a gloriously imperfect work in progress. Every day that I am diligent and intentional about my health is a day that my health gets better. Every day that I lose that focus is one where my health slips.

Today’s quote made me think about how much I really do love myself. At 55 years old, the words from my mother that I misunderstood still haunt me. I will probably never be one to be completely in love with myself just as I am. That ongoing discomfort will  either drive me to do better, or allow me to spiral downward. The choice is mine.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…I am not, and never will be perfect, nor will I ever be completely satisfied with who I am. Knowing those two things helps me to focus myself in the right direction.

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