“If you constantly live in a state of ‘if only…then’, you completely miss out on the joy of just being.”
Yesterday I stumbled across this quote and it really got me thinking about my past. I used to be a very ‘grass is greener on the other side’ kind of gal. Never satisfied with where I was. Always looking to improve myself in some capacity, believing I should be more independent, have a better job, or be fitter than a fiddle. And while I couldn’t change some of my circumstances, there was one thing I could control: the way I looked.
If only I had straight hair…
If only I had a toned tummy…
I was young, naive and insecure. I truly believed that looking a certain way equated to happiness, and success. I mean that is what the media wants us to believe right?!?! Otherwise there would be no need for make-up, or gym memberships, or the newest diet to get your bikini bod in no time. Physical perfection becomes synonymous with happiness. And we buy into it.
For me it meant wearing the right clothes, exercising like a fiend, and making sure my hair was just so. From the outside it appeared that I had it going on, but on the inside I was far from happy. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror one day and realising something that made me truly sad: I defined myself by my looks, my physical fitness, and my diet. But I didn’t know who I was anymore! I think if my friends were to describe me back then it would probably be something along the lines of ‘Oh that’s Sarah, she works out a lot and eats boring food’. After realising this I took a long hard look at the way I wanted my life to be and decided to make a change because
I am more than the sum of my parts.
I am smart, and caring, and loving. I’d even like to think I’m funny at times too. And surely that must count for something! My pursuit of perfection had turned from healthy to obsession. Untangling myself is taking time. Letting go of bad habits and replacing them with more helpful ones won’t happen overnight. But I am being patient, and it is paying off.
Today I am right where I need to be. I do things for the right reasons. I exercise to enjoy the feel good endorphins, I eat to enjoy different tastes and nourish my body, and I dress according to my personal style and flair. But more importantly I smile! Because I am more than the sum of my physical parts. As I release myself from these internal struggles I start to see the world and life more clearly. I believe we are all a ‘work in progress’, and life will continue to throw challenges our way. However, I encourage you to embrace the struggles, as they are not a sign of weakness, but merely a way to test our will and prove our strength.
Being honest about where you are in life takes courage. I am far from what I once was, but not yet what I am going to be. And so I leave you with this quote to ponder…
Remember it’s never too late to change the road you’re on.