This post is inspired by the episode of Glee that aired in Australia last night. Episode 18 of Series 2 - the Lady Gaga "Born this Way" episode. If you're in Australia, you can watch it here.
If you're not a Gleek, let me fill you in. The episode was about self-acceptance. It was about celebrating the things that make you unique, and realising that the things about yourself that you struggle with might turn out to be your greatest strengths.
When I decided to join Weight Watchers and set a goal to lose weight, it was not because I did not love and accept myself. It took me a long time to commit to weight loss because I got a little bit confused about the relationship between self-acceptance and wanting to lose weight. I thought for a long time that making a consistent effort to change my body was a rejection of myself. It took me a while to sort it out in my own mind and to realise that I wanted to change not because I hated myself but because I loved myself.
In the Glee episode, Emma struggles with owning the fact that her Anxiety and OCD, rather than being a quirk of personality, is a mental illness that is holding her back from being the person that she was born to be. Loving herself means accepting that she has this illness, but not accepting that she has to stay sick. The best way that she can love herself is by seeking help to get better.
In a similar way, my weight was not just a case of being born "big boned"! I had a high percentage of body fat, making me much less healthy and more susceptible to life-threatening diseases. By getting help to make a change, I am doing the best possible thing to love myself.
I know that there can be a fine line sometimes between self-acceptance and loving yourself by making a change. I understand that sometimes it's hard to the difference. Society often gives us mixed messages about what parts of ourselves are acceptable and which parts need to change. But I'd like to leave you with a special message...
All of you is acceptable exactly the way you are. More than acceptable. Wonderful! If you decide to make a change, do it because you love yourself right now, and know that the change will help you to be the best you that you can be.
I won't love myself any more than I do now when I reach my goal weight. Because I already love myself completely. I am awesome! I'm losing weight because I love myself so much that I want to be as healthy as I can be. I want to be around for a long long time so that the world gets to experience my awesomeness for as long as possible.
If you find this post inspiring, please share it. And maybe you can let someone know that you love and accept them just as they are today. Even if that person is you.