The following is a letter to myself. It’s what I would tell myself if I was talking to a friend or a loved one; someone I loved, respected and cherished a whole lot. It’s all the things I would say and wholeheartedly believe and desire for that friend. It’s all the things that I am trying to remember that I believe, deserve, and desire for myself. Although the circumstances might be unique to me, I think (and hope) you might find that the sentiments apply to you and your situation as well.
I don’t know about you, but I need to remind myself over and over that I need to treat myself with the same kindness and compassion that I would extend to a friend. With that in mind, here goes…
It’s funny how life has its ups and downs. Its funny how things can change gradually, over time or something can happen seemingly in a instant that can change a whole lot. Sometimes it feels like you’re on top of the world, with the wind at your back, laughing; and winning at life.
Sometimes that same wind topples you, leaves you breathless, and well, not winning. Sometimes you are leading the pack, and sometimes you are plodding along, putting one foot in front of the other, not even worrying about trying to keep up with the pack but just trying to keep some sort of momentum going.
Can I tell you something? Wherever you are in that continuum, you are NOT a failure. No matter where everyone else is. No matter how many people are ahead or behind you, whether you are winning or losing, you have not failed. Not even close.
You might feel like a fraud or a phony at times (even most of the time). B
ut you know what? If you are being the genuine, realest, you-est you (sorry didn’t mean to go all Dr. Seuss on you there) you are succeeding. You are doing what you are supposed to be doing, even if it feels lonely and doesn’t always feel amazing.
You might worry that people to look to you for inspiration and advice and you’re letting them down. You might feel like you can barely inspire yourself, let alone others.
What about all those people who consider you their “healthy, active, athletic” friend? What if they knew how much inner motivation you feel like you’re lacking right now? What if they knew that you are plagued with a lack of self confidence about how you look more often than not? What if they knew that you felt like not only is your fitness not increasing, but you’re fighting just to maintain where you once were?
What if you feel like you’re supposed to be some sort of healthy role model but you feel like you’re nowhere close to figuring this sh*t out for yourself? Like you’re not as skinny as you were a year ago so somehow you’re undeserving of this status and wish everyone knew not to listen to you?
You know what Hilary? I think if all those people knew all of those things, they’d still love you. In fact, they might even love you more. Are your closest, cherished friends the perfect ones? The ones who have it all figured out? The perfect, fitness magazine-ready health icons who never struggle?
Yeah, didn’t think so. It’s the refreshingly human ones who you love so much. The messy ones who don’t have it all together. The striving, trying, sometimes winning, sometimes losing human beings who don’t have it all figured out (and don’t pretend to). You know, the ones just like you…?
If you love them so much and think they’re pretty cool, well, don’t you think your friends maybe might feel the same way about you? Don’t you think they love you in spite of your imperfections (and maybe even partly because of them)?
If you think perfection is overrated, they just might too. Icons and models are nice to look at, but what kind of substance do they have behind them? Keep them on their pedestals or glossy magazine spreads, and find the gritty, real messy people instead. That’s where the real grit, substance, and relationships lie.
And so what if you don’t look like you did a year ago? Were you happy with what you had to do to get there? Was it really worth it to achieve an image or ideal that society said you had to to “look good”? You deserve to feel food, and celebrate YOU, rather than trying to change the body you were given just to conform to someone else’s ideal of beauty.
You might have thought you figured out what worked for you and that you were good…and then realized not so much. And just because you need to change or try something different (or even not try anything for awhile and just coast), that’s not failing. That’s just life. And if you want to go back and try something you thought you were done with, because you think it might serve you well again for awhile, that’s a-ok too. Very few things have a “one and done” solution (wouldn’t that be nice?). So adjusting, changing, trial and error-ing is part of the process that I like to call being alive.
You might know not to fall prey to the comparison trap, and even hear yourself reminding others of that. But then you find yourself so far into it that you can’t pull yourself out. That’s ok. You see it happening. And that is growth. You might not be able to instantly pull yourself out. But you’re making progress. You’re getting there.
You might want to be a role model and champion for those suffering with anxiety and their mental health, but feel like more often than not, you’re losing your own battle. But just by virtue of showing up, being real, and talking about your struggles, you are much more of a champion than you’ll ever know.
You might feel like a disappointment because you have this blog, this platform for sharing your thoughts, creating dialogue and a safe space for others to maybe start doing the same thing. You have this awesome voice, and yet you’ve been too bogged down by all of the things you’re failing at to share it much these days. But hey, you’re here, and, like they say – better late than never. And no matter how many people may read (or not) – by sharing struggles and being real, you are making a difference.
And so, to wrap this up, let me just remind you that I believe in you. I believe in you so very much. There is so much power and strength that lies inside you. And those imperfections and “failures” only make you stronger. Keep on living life. Keep on striving and moving forward. The wind might not be at your back, but that wind might change and a fresh breeze will come through when you least suspect it. No matter what, you got this girl.