I’ve always been a big believer in self-improvement and if you’re involved in fitness then you probably feel the same way. Fitness is an opportunity to recreate ourselves and pursue our best. Often we find that we can exceed our initial beliefs of what we thought was possible. Along the way we find many great things including confidence, success, opportunities, allies and even hidden parts of ourselves.
For all the things that self-improvement gives us, there can still be missing pieces of the puzzle for some people. As much as we strive to become better and to increase our value to others, many people still struggle with self-esteem and self-worth. For whatever reason, many of us tend to hold ourselves to standards that minimize who we are and what we do. We are never lean enough or strong enough or pretty enough or rich enough or smart enough or young enough. We are never “perfect” enough, and because of this can’t possibly be worthy enough to be happy or to live and enjoy a better life. We’ve basically told ourselves that we don’t deserve those things.
If this sounds like you then it’s time to have a different conversation with yourself. The “self” that goes in front of esteem and worth is controlled by you. It’s your voice and your belief. If your “self-view” is negative it will never be possible for you to have all the things that are there for you.
Beyond health and happiness what is there? Being healthy (physically and mentally) is a gift that we should never take for granted as it can disappear at any time. As cliche as it may sound, if you have your health then you have everything, or at least a chance at having everything, that truly matters. Happiness is the tougher, more elusive one for some because it’s a bit harder to define. But more than anything else happiness involves decision. Deciding what makes you happy and deciding to actually be happy are its biggest effectors. Being happy is largely under your control. Being happy doesn’t require being perfect. It also doesn’t require the approval or acceptance of others. It’s not about being in a particular group or fitting into a box of someone else’s ideals.
Being happy only requires whatever you decide it requires! Give yourself whatever gifts you need in order to be happy whether it’s forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, patience or respect. You have right now all the power you will ever need to be truly happy.
Fitness is a tool that can help you. Anything that you do for yourself can be a positive tool. Give yourself permission to see your own value. Invest in your personal well being. Learn to feel good about who you are. Of course you can still strive to keep improving. But do it because you love yourself, not because you hate yourself. The most powerful and influential person in your life is not your boss or your parents or your spouse, it is you! Get in touch with who you are and what you want. Keeping moving towards where you want to go and who you choose to become. Take control of your journey and who is allowed to share it with you.
This is your life. Hopefully it is filled with health. You can choose for it to be filled with happiness. Make the decisions and take the steps needed to have the life that you want.
Photo: Terry Goodlad Model: Caithleen Heffernan