As I reflect on our 1st Anniversary (eek!) I've been reminiscing on a lot of beautiful memories, but among them is a piece of advice I hope never to forget.
Your marriage doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you.
As someone who tends to care a little too much about what others think, anxiously worrying about how I might appear to those around me (regardless of whether or not those perceptions may be true), I found these words to be extremely refreshing. Not just in the sense of marriage, but life as a whole. Why should I be consumed by whether or not my marriage - my life - whether I make sense to anyone else?
Why do I care? Why should someone else's opinion of me dictate what I do or don't do? Why should I live up to someone else's standards if they aren't also my own? What about what's best for me? Best for my body? Best for my life?
^^^ Clearly, this is something I'm still working on.
But the point is, what if you (and I) applied this piece of advice to all other areas of our lives? Like our diet, for example. What if we ate, moved and made lifestyle decisions in a way that made sense to us, yielding everyone else's thoughts and opinions as inconsequential...like a suggestion box that never really gets looked at?
Some of you reading this are thinking, "Oh, I could never do that", "But what if people think..." and others are shouting, "Hell, yes!!" Do you know why? Self-worth.
We like to talk about it, but I'd argue that very few of us actually know what self-worth is or spend much time (if any) contributing to it. Sure, you know that without it your mental and emotional well-being will suffer, but do you know that YOU are the only one who defines your self worth? NO ONE else. Self-worth comes from within. It is, by definition, the value you place on yourself. YOU (and me), we are in control of how outside factors influence our inner sense of value. Outside factors like the actions, judgments, reactions, demands and expectations of others.
Up until not too long ago I allowed these external sources to completely dictate my self worth. You're happy with me? Okay, I'm happy with me too. You're disappointed? Oh gosh, why am I failing? I need to try harder, do more, be better. I spent waaaaaayyy too many years trying to build my self-worth by meeting and exceeding every anticipated expectation and let me tell you, it sure is a shitty way to live. Because you never win. When your primary source of self-worth is everything around you there's a lot of room for disappointment, confusion and shame.
Why, when you know yourself better than anyone else, do you give everyone else the power and control to dictate how much you're worth, who you should be and what you should do? What about your own strengths? Your individual potential? Are you blinded to those? Can you see your worthiness despite how you may be failing to live up to the external expectations around you? Many of us can't. Because we're not on the list. This list that somehow dictates what our priorities are and where our energy needs to be spent. This list that determines who is important and who gets loved, treasured and taken care of first. This list that teaches everyone around you that you come second, or dare I say, last.
When was the last time you made a decision for YOU with YOUR best interest at heart? Sister, let me tell you, if you're not on the list we've got a major problem.
A large majority of my clients (they're amazing people, let me tell you) struggle with making themselves a priority. They take care of so many other people, making decisions for everyone but themselves and guess what - they struggle with weight loss, disordered eating and body image, among other every day stressors. Why? Because they've forgotten that they too are amazing creatures who are worthy of love, care and belongingness. Sound familiar?
You are allowed to be a priority. You deserve to make decisions that make sense for you. There will always be someone who can't see your worth, don't let it be you.
Make the list.
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.